On 10 October 2023, Multi Kulti took part in the first pan-European festival dedicated to anti-racism called #MakeRacismHistory. It was held in 12 European cities in the period 10-17 October and Sofia was one of them. The event was part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the European Network Against Racism ENAR – the largest and oldest European organization with over 150 member NGOs from all over Europe. Multi Kulti Collective has been a member of ENAR since 2023 and is the only Bulgarian organization.
The event in Sofia was focused on racism against migrants and children from mixed marriages, as in our country this group often remains out of public attention. The meeting aimed to examine racism towards these groups in Bulgaria through the prism of psychology, the legal framework, policies and their implementation, as well as through the eyes of the victims, ultimately encouraging dialogue between the various stakeholders and inspiring them to positive activities in support of human rights.
The facilitator of the meeting was Deniza Georgieva, psychologist and PhD student at Sofia University, Department of African Studies. The event welcomed 25 guests from various sectors – Commission for Protection against Discrimination, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia University, international organizations, NGOs, journalists, researchers, migrants, children from mixed marriages, activists. They came from a number of countries such as Bulgaria, Portugal, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Nigeria, USA, Hungary, Slovenia, etc.
The event started with a welcome address by Bistra Ivanova from Multi Kulti Collective and Pia Šlogar from ENAR, in which they gave a national and European context to the event.
The programme began with a short lecture on stereotypes, prejudices, racism and discrimination by Deniza Georgieva from Sofia University, in which she emphasized key points of human psychology and suggested ways to be self-aware when forming our attitudes. We then watched a video of Jane Elliott’s classic social experiment about blue and brown eyes and its link to discrimination - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLAi78hluFc
Then Bistra Ivanova from Multi Kulti Collective presented the main findings of the report of the European PRESERVE project on the implementation of the European legal framework against racism in Bulgaria, pointing out the main achievements and issues of the country, as well as making recommendations to the relevant stakeholders. She also announced the upcoming national trainings on the project.
A personal story-telling session followed with two guests who were victims of racism – artist Bistra-Ijeoma Okereke and journalist Viktor Kadiri who joined us from London. They are both Bulgarian citizens and children of parents from Bulgaria and Nigeria. They shared their experiences with racism, growing up in Sofia and Plovdiv respectively, as well as their gender perspectives.
The event ended with a discussion with the participants focusing on what each of us could do in a personal or professional capacity to fight racism.
Finally, we all enjoyed a cocktail with multi kulti bites from France, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
The event was held with the support of the European Network Against Racism ENAR.
Photo: Panayot and Bistra