2021-06-03 GERMANY

Young Marists put neo-colonialist structures under the microscope

Visible, audible and active against racism

Triggered by the Black Lives Matter movement in America in 2020, the issue of racism became more and more present in Germany as well. Therefore, the “Young Marists”, a group of young adults, mostly former Cmi volunteers but also other former and current students of the Marist College in Mindelheim/Germany, together with staff of the Cmi office, decided to organise theme days this year around the topic of anti-racism and neo-colonialism and its consequences. The aim was to reach out to the students of the Marist schools in Germany, as well as lay Marists, ex-Volunteers, future Volunteers and other interested people, to educate them about racist patterns, consequences of colonialism and racist ideas. This was meant to be the first step in the right direction to learn how to recognise and act against intolerant behaviour as an individual, but also how to “unlearn” one’s own racism. All this took place under the framework of the global action “Stand up, speak up, act“.

Here, it was not only important to find speakers with expertise in their field who could reflect on the topics and give a well-founded account of them, but also to explain terms that people have certainly heard in the course of the debate but do not necessarily understand, as well as to recommend good books or even good documentaries, and generally to encourage people to engage further with the topic, even outside the education days.

In order to reach as many people as possible, especially in times of Corona, the theme days were advertised by the “Young Marists” not only on the website but also on Instagram, where especially the students of the Marist schools spend more time.

On 2 May, a service designed by the “Young Marists” themselves and streamed on YouTube marked the beginning of the theme days against racism. In addition to lectures in German, it was also very important to the group to offer international lectures. Therefore, a panel discussion was held, where Marists from all over the world were invited as speakers on the topic of “Colonial Heritage”, which included speakers from Samoa, Colombia, Congo and Kiribati. Brothers and young adults from 16 countries were among the 52 participants in the discussion. (See photo)

A poetry slam was also held at an international level. Under the motto visible and AUDIBLE against racism, young people were able to give a voice to their feelings and experiences, with contributions from Germany, South Africa, and Lebanon.

Especially for pupils who want to get involved in future Marist projects, but also for Brothers and lay Marists, it is important to deal with the topics listed above as the first step towards a more tolerant world, where volunteer work has the right impact and background.


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