Sowing Seeds of Change: ACCT Visits Casa Imagina 

In May, the ACCT project team came together in the town of Alora, Spain, for our most recent Transnational Partner Meeting. This gathering, hosted by Imagina, served as a platform to celebrate our achievements to date and plan a course for the rest of the project.  During our trip, we visited Casa Imagina – a community space for folks with mental and physical disabilities, where we had the pleasure of meeting the amazing volunteers, staff, and house members. We were led on a tour by the community members to hear about their day-to-day experiences. They took us through their house to hear about team building activities, their farming and gardening projects, and what it is like to be responsible for the care of the chickens and rabbits. Their garden was especially impressive, and we got to hear not just about the experience of growing vegetables in this community, but about our hosts’ interests and hobbies. We were even put to the test when one of the members shared his love for, and deep knowledge of, flags. This small moment was one of deep bonding for our consortium and the folks at Casa Imagina.  Additionally, we explored the history of their work, gaining a deeper appreciation of their dedication and impact. IMAGINA was officially established on May 9, 2017, by young people aiming to address inclusion, gender equality, and combating racism and discrimination through innovative educational tools. Originally an informal group from 2015, IMAGINA promotes open collaboration and participation. The organization focuses on enhancing rural resources and using non-formal education to develop cultural expression, creativity, entrepreneurship, and language skills, helping young people, especially in rural areas, to foster values and regional development.  Casa Imagina is an inspirational space where all can feel welcome and appreciated. The garden, full of life, and Casa Imagina as a whole, is an important example of what inclusion looks like for folks with experiences of discrimination – it’s truly a space where they are growing seeds of change.  Looking Ahead:   We are excited to announce two upcoming conferences that will play a crucial role in the next phase of the ACCT project in Berlin and Copenhagen this fall:  A European Outreach Event for policy makers in Berlin in Berlin, focusing on the extensive and impactful work being done in anti-racism. A key highlight of the conference will be the unveiling of the outcomes from the Anti-Racism and Civic Courage Training (ACCT), presenting and discussing the Research Report & Policy Recommendations, ACCT Curriculum, and our Online Platform.  Shortly after, we will convene the European Civil Society Conference in Copenhagen. Crossing Borders and Union KBH are proud to host this dynamic conference dedicated to showcasing the diverse and impactful work being done locally in the field of anti-racism. This event will highlight local initiatives, exchange best practices, and reinforce civil society’s collective commitment to combating racism. This will be achieved through a keynote speech on the legal context of discrimination and racism in Denmark, a panel of local organizations involved in anti-racism work in different contexts, and varied performances to highlight artistic works that address these themes.  Stay tuned for more developments as we continue developing new tools and educational opportunities for anti-racism and anti-discrimination. 

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Reaching Millions with Our Message: The Impact of the ACCT Poster Campaign Since November 2023, our Anti-Racism Poster Campaign has been showcasing the winning designs throughout our local communities and in our respective efforts. This initiative took a significant leap forward on March 24th, 2024, coinciding with the International Day to End Racism. Our public transportation campaign launched in Copenhagen, marking a pivotal moment in our journey to spread a message of inclusivity and awareness. A Dynamic Display in Copenhagen Throughout Copenhagen and the surrounding areas, our campaign came alive on the blue DOT bus lines, traversing the urban, suburban, and rural areas of the Zealand region. Over seven days, our three posters captured the attention of about 2.2 million viewers. This strategic placement ensured that everyday commuters, occasional travelers, and tourists alike were reached by our message, spreading the ideals of anti-racism through every corner of the region. Berlin’s Underground Echo Our reach extended beyond Danish borders into the heart of Germany, on the Berliner Fenster—the in-train television network of Berlin’s underground. Over the weekend of April 13th and 14th, 2024, from early morning until late evening, our campaign adorned every line and compartment of the Berlin underground. This initiative touched approximately 4.2 million viewers, resonating deeply with a diverse audience. The underground campaign did more than just showcase our message; it amplified the reach of our project and its digital platform. It propelled word-of-mouth marketing and enhanced visibility for the ACCT project. Our partners in Berlin (CRN), and Copenhagen (Crossing Borders), gained recognition within their local communities. Moreover, the campaign provided a platform for the winners of the ACCT poster contest—talented female artists—to share their work on an international stage.  A Canvas for Change These campaigns, both in Copenhagen and Berlin, demonstrate the transformative power of combining art with ACCtion. By integrating our message into the daily lives of millions, we not only spark conversation and contemplation but also encourage a ripple effect of awareness and action against racism. Each poster, with screen time in the underground and buses respectively, serves as a canvas for change, painting a future where diversity is not just accepted but celebrated. Transit: Offline Efforts in Community Spaces To complement our transit campaigns, our six partner organizations have actively engaged communities by showcasing and distributing anti-racism posters at events, workshops, and community spaces. See the gallery below to see some of their effort: The posters were distributed at the European Youth Parliament event in Berlin on April 19, 2024, with overwhelming success as nearly all were taken home by participants, and remaining flyers quickly depleted. The posters are prominently displayed in the window of the CRN office, continually catching the eye of passersby and inviting local engagement. The ACCT Posters were prominently shown throughout the 4-day training with Det Frie Gymnasium in Copenhagen. Imagina has strategically placed the posters in highly frequented locations such as the tourist office, “Casa de la Cultura”, the City Council, and during local workshops. Crossing Borders has incorporated these posters into their monthly ‘Food for Thought’ events. Crossing Borders has been giving out the posters and displaying educational workshops on diverse topics including democracy and sustainable development. At one workshop with Japanese youth, Crossing Borders worked directly with the messages of the posters.

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Train the Trainers: A Transformative Experience in Berlin 

My name is Bikalpa and I originally come from Nepal but am currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark. This month, from January 10th to 13th, I had the opportunity to participate in Train the Trainers workshop in Berlin, Germany, to learn how to facilitate the Anti-Racism and Civic Courage Training (ACCT). This event brought together a diverse group of individuals from the ACCT project partners organizations from five EU countries. I was participating on behalf of Crossing Borders (Denmark) along with my colleagues Andrew (USA/Italy), Maryam (Lebanon/Denmark) and Margaret (Egypt).   In the ‘Train the Trainers’ event, we dove headfirst into the ACCT Curriculum, a dynamic guide designed to fight discrimination and bolster civic courage. The aim? To turn us into skilled facilitators, ready to adapt these powerful anti-racism tools to our local communities.  Our days flew by while participating in engaging non-formal learning methods – think interactive games, group activities, and lively discussions that knit us into a tight-knit community, all committed to dismantling racism. It was more than just learning; it was experiencing the complex layers of racism, from ingrained prejudices to breaking down the works of systemic oppression.  But it wasn’t all about recognizing the problem. A big part of our journey was understanding civic courage – the guts to stand up against injustice. We delved into the importance of raising our voices, having tough conversations, and championing equality and inclusivity. This training wasn’t just about acquiring skills; it was about sparking a change in us and, hopefully, in our communities  Here I will be sharing some highlight of each day and some activities that we conducted during the workshop:    Day 1   Suna, from Perspekt Initiative, welcomed all the participants and kicked off the workshop with introductions as soon as everyone arrived. Later, participants collaborated to establish workshop guidelines, among the workshop guidelines was to use ‘I’ in a personal perspective, so I am using ‘I’ while giving my opinion in this blog post.  After setting up the guidelines, we dove into the workshop activities, starting with the “Crossing the Lines” method. This was followed by other engaging methods like “Exploring Intention and Effect,” “Reality Show,” and the “Dice Game.” These activities allowed us to explore and discuss different situations related to discrimination, shedding light on individual, structural, and institutional forms of bias. The games were eye-opening, emphasizing that discrimination can occur unintentionally, making it crucial to be mindful of the impact of our words and actions on others. I truly enjoyed participating in each game. Additionally, we worked in groups to deepen our understanding of anti-racism concepts and definitions.  Day 2  The weather in Berlin was colder than the previous day as we arrived at the training venue. With over 20 participants from different countries, we kicked off the day with introductions once again, given the challenge of remembering everyone’s names. Following some energizing exercises, we delved into the workshop with an introduction to a concept called “Theatre of the Oppressed.” Methods like “Columbian Hypnosis,” “Forum Theatre,” and other energizer activities encouraged us to discuss situations where we had experienced acts of discrimination. While presenting each group also chose one situation to turn into a play, reflecting and re-enacting our experiences to overcome negativity and explore alternative actions. The presentation occurred twice: once without intervention and a second time with viewers having the chance to and replace characters, giving a new twist to the situation. This allowed disempowering situations to transform into empowerment and healing, making it a day of valuable learning about power, control, discrimination, racism on different sector and ways to overcome it.  Day 3  Our Airbnb in Berlin was a 20-minute walk from the workshop venue. The streets were slippery due to the cold and light rain. We started Day 3 with a short energizer and began the workshop with the “Railway Reflections” method. This was followed by other methods such as “Stop Rumours,” “Civic Courage Styles,” and “Digital Civic Courage Styles.” The activities on Day 3 focused on encouraging reflection on underlying prejudices and implicit bias while promoting anti-racist interventions. We also discussed in group about rumours, fake news, and stereotypes, learning strategies to dismantle them. The third day of workshop introduced us to various civic courage styles. The trainers also encouraged us to take the first step against racism and discrimination within our networks, as a sample awareness post all the participant organization created a post and published in their respective organization’s social media page.     The Site Visit  Our ACCT training continued with a site visit to the office of the Association for Anti-Discrimination and Educational Work (Bund für Antidiskriminierungs- und Bildungsarbeit), This non-profit organization has been dedicated to providing counseling and training in anti-discrimination and anti-racism since 1996, offering support to those affected by discrimination on various grounds.  Led by the Director and Counsellor, we engaged in a profound and informative session that shed light on the complex realities of discrimination in Germany and beyond.  They emphasized the importance of recognizing racism as a complex issue intertwined with social power structures and its intersection with other forms of discrimination. Their presentation highlighted the organization’s efforts to overcome exclusion, discrimination, and counteract all forms of racism. They shared their strategies for empowering individuals to challenge discriminatory practices and advocate for equal opportunities.  It was a fruitful experience, filled with insights from experienced activists who have been providing counselling to individuals facing discrimination based on racist attributions, religion, language, gender, identity, sexual orientation, class, age, disability, and more in Berlin for more than 20 years.  The Train the Trainers Anti-Racism and Civic Courage Training in Berlin was an invaluable opportunity that provided me with a deeper understanding of racism and its pervasive impact on individuals, communities, and societies. It equipped me with the knowledge, skills, and tools to become a more effective anti-racist advocate, committed to fostering a more just and inclusive world.  I am confident that the skills and knowledge I have acquired from this training will enable me to

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Piloting ACCtion: Finalizing our Training for Civic Courage

Suna, from Perspekt Initiative, introduces an activity to illuminate how the intent of discriminatory comments can be discriminatory no matter the intent The ACCT project recently conducted our pilot training session for our anti-discrimination curriculum. This is a vital step to creating a resource to be used for ongoing commitment to combating intolerance, racism, xenophobia, and discrimination. This event was held in Lublin, Poland at the Stowarzyszenie “Dla Ziemi” premises, and showcased the collaborative efforts of all six partner organizations. Partners discuss the the methods to be used over the 4-day training Tania from Assosciation for Refugee & Migrants in Sofia, Bulgaria leads us through an adapted version of Forum Theatre Perspekt Initiative led us through the four days, starting on November 1st. Each organization presented methods and exercises they are using to combat discrimination and encourage civic courage in their local context. Through reflection, we analyzed, workshopped, and provided constructive feedback to develop them further using a critical anti-discrimination and anti-racism lens. These sessions, divided into three blocks, focused on practical application and theoretical understanding — including a session on local reporting mechanisms for hate-crimes and discriminatory events. The fourth day included a site visit to Baobab Center, guided by Anna Dąbrowska from Homo Faber Association. This part of the training is part of our innovative approach to provide participants with practical insights, in a localized context, on creating safe and inclusive spaces for dialogue and change. On our visit, we could see firsthand the center’s commitment to providing a welcoming neighborhood space where a variety of services are offered: from legal and psychological assistance to language classes and notarized translation services. The space includes a library with books in multiple languages, a playspace for children, and workspaces for adults. It’s a place where cultural and social inclusion is actively practiced. As part of the local implementation, each organization will find local efforts in their area to bring participants to.  Anna Dąbrowska leads us on a tour of Baobab Center Participants in wood shop at Baobab, one of the many activities offered to create opportunities for learning for newcomers The pilot training concluded on November 4th, marking a significant step towards our goal of engaging with the public on combating discrimination and promoting civic courage. The insights and methodologies developed during this event will be published as a PDF open-access curriculum available on the ACCT project website and partner sites for all to use. From here, we will train local leaders from our respective communities on how to use the at an event in Berlin in the new year. These trainers will then implement local trainings in our 6 partners organizations’ locales. This resource and the upcoming trainings will serve as active steps in our collaborative effort to ACCT. The partners say goodbye after the final day of the pilot training’s site visit in the Baobab Center

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Announcing the Winners of the ACCT Poster Campaign

Visions for a More Inclusive Society  We are thrilled to announce the winners of the ACCT (Anti-Racism & Civic Courage Training) poster competition. Launched earlier this year, the campaign sought to encourage public engagement in the fight against racism, xenophobia, and discrimination in communities across the European Union.  About the Campaign  The ACCT project is a collaboration between six partner organizations across Europe, committed to reducing hate speech, discrimination, and hate crimes in both urban and rural areas. The poster competition was an integral part of our awareness-raising campaign and was aimed at inviting people from all walks of life to share their vision of an equitable society. The campaign will reach 600,000 people both online and offline through various media channels, including social media, newsletters, print media, and a visual campaign on public transportation in Denmark & Germany.  We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming response we received: more than 50 entries from 7 different countries! Each poster was a testament to the talent and social commitment of our participants.  Introducing the Winners  Anna Michalik  Location: Originally from Łososina Górna, Poland; currently resides in Kraków.  Social Media: Facebook, Instagram: michalik__anna, Twitter: @AnnaMichalik18  About the Poster: “I wanted to show that skin color does not change anything.”  Dominika Czaja  Location: Torun, Poland.  Social Media: Instagram: dominikaczaja.portfolio, Facebook: Dominika Czaja Fotografia  About the Poster: “Every person deserves equal treatment. I hope that my posters will make you see that each of us is the same and deserves happiness.”    Lucía Escudero García  Location: Zalea, Pizarra, province of Malaga, Spain.  Social Media: Instagram: _luciaescudero12  About the Poster: “I want to emphasize the value of empathy for those who suffer any form of discrimination, focusing on racism. I dream of an inclusive society, and I know it’s possible if we all want to be a part of it.”  What’s Next?  The winning posters will be an essential part of the ACCT Awareness Campaign, reaching audiences through various platforms, including a visual campaign on public transportation in Denmark & Germany. They will also be available for download on the ACCT website.  We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to everyone who participated and helped make this competition a success. Stay tuned for more initiatives from ACCT as we continue to strive for a world free from discrimination and hate.   Congratulations to the winners, and thank you for being part of this important journey towards a more inclusive society! 

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From Solidarity to Success: Sofia’s Integrated Approach to Migrant Services 

Curious about a model for a one-stop locale for migrant services? In Sofia, Bulgaria we witnessed just that while meeting with the Sofia Development Association. They are doing fantastic work by uniting with other civil society organizations to enhance their respective work to assist newcomers to Bulgaria at the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals. Read on to find out more! Finalizing our anti racism poster campaign design Having an Afghani lunch at Khala Sara Foodz located in the historical Women’s Market Street art at the Sofia city center Our consortium meets with the Sofia Development Association Previous image Next image We were made aware of this work the end of May, when the consortium of ACCT partners traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria and for our Transnational Partner Meeting and were warmly welcomed by Tania Marincheshka from Association on Refugees and Migrants Bulgaria. During our 2nd in-person gathering, we had the opportunity to review the proposed activities from each partner to be used in both our in-person and online trainings, finalize the plan for our poster competition, and launch our website. We also had the chance to explore the vibrant local culinary scene in Sofia, enjoying delicious meals at an Afghan and Iraqi restaurants — if you get to visit Bulgaria, check out Khala Sara Foodz & Ashurbanipal!  One of the highlights of our meeting was the discussion with Sevdalina Voynova and her staff from the Sofia Development Association, where we learned about the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals. This center plays a crucial role in providing a wide array of help they were providing to migrants, including assistance with accessing the labor market, interpretation, document filling, referral to institutions, and more in 7 languages! We were impressed by the comprehensive range of services provided by the Bureau, which demonstrates this group of 15 NGO’s and the municipality’s commitment to supporting and including third country nationals into society. In 2021 alone, they were able to provide services to approximately 100 newcomers per month in one localized center – allowing folks in need of assistance to locate one spot to navigate the needs that come with moving to a new country; an exemplary model indeed. This is made possible by the project titled CONNECTION: CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration actiON which is funded by European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.  The insights gained from our meeting with the Sofia Development Association and our discussions on the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals, and the discussion and experiences being immersed in this local context, will undoubtedly contribute to the development of our anti-racism curriculums and training programs. As this project was recently recognized as an example of a ‘good practice’ by the EU, we are excited to incorporate these learnings and their examples into our work and continue fostering civic courage and combating racism throughout the EU.  

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Our Project – ACCT for Change!

Anti-racism and Civic Courage Training (ACCT) is a transnational project focusing on the decrease of discrimination, including multi-dimensional discrimination and racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. The partners also aim at combating discrimination, hate crime & hate speech across the EU. On January 25 and 26 2023, partners from Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Álora, Sofia and Bratnik cametogether in Berlin for the kick- off meeting of ACCT. During this meeting, the consortium had the opportunity to get to know each other better and set the priorities of action for the project life, next 24 months. ACCT envisions to prevent as well as fight intolerance, racism, xenophobia and discrimination expressed in the forms of antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, anti-roma discrimination and other forms of prejudice in rural communities across the EU. To achieve this, ACCT unites people from diverse backgrounds such as civil society organisations, activists and community leaders, for Civic Courage trainings. These trainings are designed to establish a safe space of contact among groups that are directly and negatively affected by different types of discrimination and people that are not affected directly. The latter are trained to reduce prejudice and bias against marginalised groups in the communities they live in, as well as practising everyday civic courage. At the same time, participants facing discriminatory practices and incidents in rural communities will be empowered spaces for inclusion created together. Over the coming months, the consortium will work towards the designing and testing of the trainings before starting to offer them to the communities. ACCT is an EU-funded project engaging with the priority of the CERV Call “Fighting against intolerance, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes”. The consortium for ACCT consists of: Comparative Research Network (Berlin, Germany) Perspekt Initiative (Hamburg, Germany) Crossing Borders (Copenhagen, Denmark) Imagina (Álora, Spain) Stowarzyszenie “Dla Ziemi” (Bratnik, Poland) Association on Refugees & Migrants- Bulgaria (Sofia, Bulgaria)

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