“'Youth standing up against racism' is the 2021 theme. It engages the public through #FightRacism, which aims to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination and calls on each and every one of us to stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.
Young people massively showed their support at the 2020 Black Lives Matter marches, which drew millions of demonstrators worldwide. On the streets, groundswells of youth - mostly teens and twenty-somethings - came together to protest against racial injustice. On social media, they mobilized participation, calling on their peers to speak out, and to stand up for the equal rights of all.
Their activism was all the more remarkable in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw restrictions on public gatherings in many countries. As the virus began to spread in early 2020, a parallel pandemic was unleashed - of hatred, violence and fear against certain ethnicities and nationalities. It quickly became clear that stark inequities, sometimes rooted in racism, had subjected minorities to a significantly higher risk of infection and death.
COVID-19 has heavily impacted young people, including those from minority backgrounds. Many are now grappling with an increase in racial discrimination, in addition to severe disruptions to their education; diminished employment prospects; and limited ability to participate in public life, which stymies their individual and social empowerment."