March 1 is a day to stand out.
March 1 is Zero Discrimination Day, a worldwide event to celebrate humanity and appreciate all the things that make us different.
The United States is in a pivotal moment in history — one that will be analyzed for generations to come. It will define how this society is remembered and what it stood for. And, frankly, right now is the perfect time to actually show what it is the majority of the country stands for: love and acceptance.
Here’s a good place to start.
March 1 is a day to unite around everyone’s right to live a life of dignity. No matter a person’s gender, nationality, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic orientation — you name it — everyone should be accepted for who they are.
There are a million ways to contribute to a world without discrimination. Here are 19 ideas to get you going:
1. Print out this sign and put it in your window or buy one to add some welcoming flair to your front yard!
These signs were first created and posted by the Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. They were such a hit that they’ve been spreading all across the internet and the country. Let’s keep it up!
2. Go to a Human Library and check out people instead of books!
At a Human Library, people volunteer to become “books” and make their experiences open and available, usually on issues that people tend to struggle discussing. “Readers” are encouraged to ask questions freely, and they’ll get honest answers in return. Find out if there are any in your area — or how to start one of your own!
3. Pledge to volunteer for a cause you care about in your community — even if it’s just one hour a month.
Volunteer Match makes it fast and easy.
4. Brighten up your social media accounts with this Zero Discrimination Day graphic from the YWCA.
5. Sign up for the American Neighbors Pen Pal Project!
This pen pal program is bridging the rural-urban divide one letter at a time. The initiative brings together school-age kids and pairs them with a different culture in a different part of the country. Great for classrooms, but anyone can join!
6. Maybe decorate your neighborhood with welcoming signs like this one?
7. Check out one of these 20 children’s books that are amazing at celebrating diversity and social justice.
8. Follow the #365DaysWithDisability photo project.
The Instagram-based project is just one part of the Disability Visibility Project’s work in building an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture.
9. Language matters. Some words are up to no good, even if they may seem harmless.
“You Don’t Say” is a campaign at Duke University to encourage people to think before they speak. It’s something we could all benefit from.
10. We can help break the stigma on certain issues if we know how to properly talk about them. Take HIV and AIDS, for example:
11. Paint for a more inclusive world!
A fresh coat of paint can make a big statement.
12. Brush up on your history with the new miniseries “When We Rise.”
Go back in time to see the struggles, setbacks, and triumphs of LGBT men and women, who helped to pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. civil rights movement. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.
13. Use this how-to guide to help people who are being bullied by people with anti-Muslim sentiments.
14. Know what’s happening in Congress and easily call on your elected officials to do what’s right with the simple the click of a button.
15. Declare your support for gender equality. Say it loud, post it proud.
16. Are you white and unsure what your role is in fighting for racial justice?
17. Gender can be confusing to talk about. Here are some great tips for how to talk about it with kids.
18. Take time to really hear the songs you can’t stop bopping your head to. What are they saying?
19. REGISTER TO VOTE! It takes literally two minutes.
You can help direct the future you want. Make sure your representatives represent YOU.
Zero Discrimination Day might only be one day on the calendar. But let’s be real: It should really be every day.
Right now, only 4 in 10 countries have equal numbers of boys and girls going to secondary school, according to the World Health Organization. It also reports that 75 countries still have laws that criminalize same-sex relations. And this year alone, 15 million girls will have married before turning 18. None of that moves our world forward — it only holds it back.
Whether it’s at home, in school, at work, in the doctor’s office, or in any public space, we all play a part in showing that this country and world are for everyone. It’s time to speak up.
Watch the full trailer for ABC’s “When We Rise,” which begins Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central.