W.H.I.A President John Pandazopoulos’ Statement on the International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination



W.H.I.A President John Pandazopoulos’ Statement on the International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination

“It is important in these economically difficult times that we value basic human rights-respect and tolerance for all irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin. These are values that have ensured the survival and progress of the Hellenic diaspora. As a diaspora we have had to fight racism, intolerance and prejudice. As a result many of our Hellenic community leaders have been pioneers in racial equality, anti-discrimination, racial and religion tolerance and promotion of multiculturalism. These endeavours have strengthened our community under an understanding that our culture and religion are not barriers to our progress with an understanding that we are also citizens of the countries in which we live in accepting our responsibilities to be good hard working citizens that support the laws and institutions of the lands in which we live.
As a result we have been able to flourish with our churches, community centers, schools and Greek language publications. These have not weakened the nations in which we live but instead have made them stronger through everyone working in the interests of our nations, through linking us with other parts of the world and broadening our minds. These have all been good for our countries and also been good for Greece and Cyprus.

The diaspora now has a more significant role to play in support of Greece and Cyprus as they undertake their difficult economic tasks. This environment of multiculturalism, tolerance and mutual respect allows us to talk openly about how we can support the economic growth of Greece and Cyprus through trade, investment and tourism. It is important that this and Greece’s economic recovery is not undermined by the emergence of extremism in Greece which turns away tourists, investment and trade.

As Hellenic heritage legislators we TOTALLY oppose such extremism and do not welcome any of this BAD POLITICS in Greece or it coming to any of the countries in which we live. We have members from a diverse range of political beliefs but we are all united against extremism, racism, intolerance and violence. These are the same reasons that we became involved in politics in the first place – to support our communities and to build the institutions that allow and sustain diversity, tolerance and mutual respect. It is no surprise that many of our members have been Ministers responsible for Multiculturalism and Citizenship, spokespersons for their Party’s or Chairs of Parliamentary Committee’s on multiculturalism.

Today we remember the struggles for equality from pioneers of diverse backgrounds many being Greek. Those that changed the rules to make it better for us and future generations. It is also a day to remember our role in maintaining this which can be fragile particularly in difficult economic times.”

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