Under the umbrella slogan ‘Allemaal Antwerpenaar‘ – ‘All Antwerpians‘ – the City of Antwerp launched a campaign to thank citizens to stand up against discrimination and intimidation, to motivate people to speak up and to stand up and providing tools to do so.
On Monday, after shopping for groceries at ‘my’ Delhaize, morning I stumbled upon the press conference held at Shopping Stadsfeestzaal. There alderman for Equal Opportunities, Integration and Community Building Karim Bachar (Vooruit) introduced the campaign.
The #AllemaalAntwerpenaar is not new. There was the campaign with mirrors, there were stories shared by (un)common citizens and a campaign against sexual intimidation and harassment in the party scene and nightlife.
“In this campaign, the city calls on every Antwerp resident to respond if things go wrong and thus actively contribute to building a diverse city. A city where everyone can be themselves regardless of gender, age, religion, sexual preference, ethnic-cultural background or disability. Because discrimination, racism and (sexual) intimidation are still a reality. The City of Antwerp also thanks those who stand up for their fellow citizens”, the press release says.
21 March is International Day Against Racism and Discrimination. A good time for the city to call on its residents to do their part. By speaking out, intervening and reacting, you can help others in cases of transgressive and discriminatory behaviour.
In this campaign, Antwerp residents talk about their experiences and the help they received from others. In this way, the city wants to properly inform, inspire and, of course, thank fellow citizens. The campaign can be seen on the streets, on public transport and on social media. The city also made a podcast of 5 episodes.
Alderman for Marketing & Communication Erica Caluwaerts (Open Vld): “It is not okay that people do not respond to intimidation. Of course, we know it’s not always easy to resist harassment, so we as a city need to make sure people have the courage to stop it and stand up for those who are being harassed. In addition, we would like to thank the courageous people who did jump into the breach. For this we install the construction to collect thank you messages. And I go even further, we don’t want to stop there. Throughout the legislature, we will continue to work under the heading of ‘all from Antwerp’ in order to not only draw attention to discrimination and intimidation, but also to fight it.”
So now, through testimonies, #AllemaalAntwerpenaar shows real (but surely carefully selected) stories about Antwerpians coping with discrimination, racism, homophobia, transphobia, intimidation, harassment, bullying e tutti quanti and how bystanderrs actually helped the victims of this nastiness.
The testimonies are written and in podcast format. In Dutch, obviously.
What can you do?
There are two steps.
Step 1. Assess the situation
Do you see behavior that you think is not okay? Then name it. Some forms of discrimination are easier to spot, others are more subtle or packaged as ‘jokes’, but also have a serious negative impact. Assess the situation and let the person being harassed know that you heard the statement or witnessed the behavior.
Always consider your own safety and that of the person being harassed. Are you unsure whether the situation is safe to intervene yourself or is someone in need?
- Call the emergency number 101 for urgent police assistance.
- Non-urgent police help? Then call The Blue Line on 0800 123 12.
- Do you want to indicate/report something? Make an online declaration or report it via the Blauwe Loket (Blue Counter).
- You can make an appointment for non-urgent declarations and reports.
Step 2. Assess your own possibilities and use the 5 A’s (at least in Dutch these are 5 A’s).
Everyone has their own strengths. Trust the skills you use in other situations. Intervening doesn’t even have to be such a big step. You can intervene safely in these 5 ways:
- Stay present: keep an eye on the situation and show your support.
- Involve others: speak to people nearby.
- Distraction: take the attention away from the situation.
- Approach: talk to the people in question.
- Isolate: remove the person who is being discriminated against or intimidated from the situation.
Even if you don’t know how to respond best: always take action. Any way of helping is valuable. By standing up for each other, we ensure that discrimination, racism and intimidation have no place in our city.
Do you want to know more and practice how to apply the 5 A’s? Then register for the training.
“We want to show the Antwerp resident in a very accessible way how you as a bystander can safely respond to discrimination, racism or intimidation. Because people do want to intervene, they just don’t always know how. is free and open to organizations and to anyone interested in Antwerp”, says alderman Bachar.
“The City of Antwerp itself takes many initiatives to help residents to feel 100% Antwerp, for example making various buildings and public spaces more accessible and supporting people with disabilities. The city is also committed to tackling discrimination in the rental housing and labor market, supporting women’s associations through a network group, and supporting actions so that the LGBTQIA+ community feels at home in Antwerp. Finally, in collaboration with Sensoa and Pimento, the city also offers training for young people about sexually transgressive behaviour”, the press release concludes.
“All these initiatives can only work if all Antwerp residents themselves also contribute to a city in which everyone can be themselves. Antwerp wants to be a diverse city with residents who stand up for each other and thus show that discrimination and racism have no place in Antwerp.”
More on this campaign
- How to react?
- Thank you for standing up.
- Listen to the podcasts.
- Training for bystanders.
- Youth and sexual intimidation.
- Rainbow zebra crossings of Antwerp.
- City chronicle ‘De kleur van de stad maakt mijn ziel amoureus’ recounts Queer Antwerp history.
- ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ exhibition at FOMU, Antwerp’s photography museum.
- Antwerp’s LGBTQI bookshop Kartonnen Dozen looking for a new home.
- Antwerp’s LGBTQI+ bookshop Kartonnen Dozen wins Çavaria Media Award.
- PHOTOS | Rainbows lit Antwerp.
- Flemish LGBTQI+ press support rainbow community in Ukraine.