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Get In the ‘Zone’ and End Discriminatory Language

May 02, 2014
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Can you picture yourself having a great conversation with interesting people when all of a sudden someone uses discriminatory language? The whole tone of the conversation changes as people awkwardly try to gloss over the social error. Many Canadians are aware, but uncomfortable with how to quietly take a stand that discriminatory language is unacceptable to us. What should we do?

 

One man has gone from wondering this very question to being an active leader in silencing discriminatory language – one conversation at a time. Meet Tali Raphaely, Founder and CEO of the Discrimination Free Zone Foundation. Raphaely sought to change his passivity for action and became a social leader by creating a line of apparel and accessories that have the logo, “Discrimination Free Zone”.

 

On Disabled World’s website, Raphaely recounts what first drew him to the idea of a discrimination free zone. “It appalled me that discriminatory comments were being made so often in this day and age, that I accordingly resolved to help end such language,” he says. “This is a personal passion. I am working to create a global community that’s more socially conscious and free from discriminatory language; and I believe that our simple visual message can be the first step towards silencing discrimination. Additionally, I ask everyone to take our pledge and please share it on your Facebook and Twitter pages for your friends, family and social network to see: “I pledge not to use discriminatory language against others because they are different from me. Join the movement. #dfreezone.”

 

By wearing or displaying any of the Discrimination Free Zone items, consumers establish their own Discrimination Free Zone everywhere they go. Raphaely states that, “By doing so, consumers pledge not to use discriminatory language against any individual or group based on age, race, color, gender, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. Additionally, you are informing others in advance that you will be offended by discriminatory comments. With each new Discrimination Free Zone, we come closer to silencing hate, thereby eliminating the damaging judgments and harmful actions that can follow.”

 

Zones are easy to create and can be formed by individuals, corporations or groups demarking a safe and discrimination free space – whether on their person or their surroundings.

 

The Discrimination Free Zone Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is supported by the clothing and apparel that carries its name, as well as contributions from individuals and corporations. Beyond this, the “Foundation is committed to ending discriminatory language through awareness, education and training; focusing on schools, companies and community groups.” The Foundation has produced a guidebook for how to effectively end discriminatory language. The document offers strategies for reacting to offensive comments. While it was produced mostly for the educational sector and community groups, it is available as a free download for anyone who is interested in obtaining a copy.

 

The Foundation’s worldwide mission is to silence discriminatory language. Through the Discrimination Free Zone website, social media, educational and community outreach programs, the Foundation aims to shed light on the practice of prejudgment and end discriminatory language against individuals and groups based on race, color, gender, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

 

Discrimination Free Zones are identified with branded wristbands, shirts, hats, stickers, posters, and other items that are available to be purchased via donations at http://www.discriminationfreezone.com.

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