27 January marks Holocaust Memorial Day – a day to acknowledge and remember those who suffered in World War II and the lives of those that have been affected by the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur and many more through recent times. The date marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – the largest Nazi concentration and death camp.
It is important that we pay our respects to the survivors of these harrowing regimes, that we use their experiences to shape how we think and live presently and into the future. From lessons of the past, it is crucial that we identify that genocides do not happen as a stand alone event. It is a process, which begins when we leave racism, and any form of discrimination, to be unchallenged and do not establish measures to prevent it.
We are fortunate that we currently live at little risk of a genocide happening tomorrow in the United Kingdom. However, it is critical to understand that discrimination still exists that hatred and exclusion are still prominent. It is paramount that we continue to create a safer environment for everyone to live without fear of discrimination.
Inclusivity is one of our core values as The Students’ Union. We celebrate and value the diversity of our students and aspire for everyone to be able to challenge hatred and discrimination. We are proud of what a tolerant and multicultural city Bristol is, and how our student population contributes to this. With the current political climate, it is more important than ever that we champion acceptance and become outward looking in what we do. We must not forget the past, and ensure that we work together to create a safer, brighter future.