Honor International Day for Tolerance

America has always been a welcoming icon in the world for people hoping to find a better life. When people immigrate, they bring their unique cultures with them, although they're not always immediately understood by Americans. When you honor International Day for Tolerance, a nonpublic holiday, you help to embrace and accept the differences of all people.

When did International Day for Tolerance begin?

Members of the U.N. General Assembly devised the idea of a day celebrating tolerance between different nationalities and faiths in 1996. They chose November 16 as the date in the hopes that participating nations worldwide would begin to promote tolerance in meaningful ways in their own countries.

This is the day to shine the spotlight on human rights, show respect for fundamental freedoms and celebrate different cultures.

How is International Day for Tolerance celebrated?

The U.N.'s Web site, under the heading "The U.N. Chronicle Online Education," offers pertinent articles and promotional materials. Lesson materials and lectures include world issues about human rights and nonviolence.

Many educators use this day to enlighten their students about what it really means to be tolerant of others. Discussion is encouraged, and students brainstorm ways to better respect the rights and beliefs of people different than themselves. They are also asked to write essays and share personal stories of how acts of intolerance have influenced their lives.

Human rights activists use this holiday to speak out on important human rights legislation and laws, including the importance of banning and punishing hate crimes and all forms of discrimination. Many countries feature live discussions and debates that focus on all forms of injustice, racism and oppression, and how they affect every society.

Some corporations even offer special employee training to teach their workers the importance of tolerance as it affects the workplace.

One of the symbols used for the International Day for Tolerance is the image of a group of people from all ages, backgrounds and cultures. When you fully accept that everyone has the right to exist in a way of their own choosing without judgment or discrimination, then you will truly embrace the spirit of International Day for Tolerance.

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