Interview: SCHULTER an SCHULTER- solidarity after racist and anti-Semitic incidents
The recently launched debate on racism shows that Germany has a structural racism problem. However, the last few weeks have also shown that the majority of society says no to racism! People showed solidarity and demonstrated together. Hashtags like #saynotoracism and #Togetheragainstracism flooded the social media for weeks. The commitment to fight racism is there!
I interviewed Claudia Falke. She has been working on the project SCHULTER an SCHULTER, what means shoulder to shoulder, since last year.
What is SCHULTER an SCHULTER?
SCHULTER an SCHULTER is a project that works for more solidarity after racist and anti-Semitic incidents and attacks on refugees. SaS is a network of over 90 people in Germany, that organise solidarity movements.
How did SCHULTER an SCHULTER come about?
After a Darmstadt mosque was attacked in April 2018, the Imam and his family were afraid. The Foundation against Racism then wrote a letter together with Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities and individuals and organized a visit to the mosque. The Muslim community was encouraged again. It was an important sign of solidarity. It was clear to those involved, that this must happen more often. Solidarity is important! Especially because of the increasing racist and right-wing extremist tendencies. As a result, SCHULTER an SCHULTER was founded.
When does SCHULTER an SCHULTER call for solidarity movements?
We research on a daily basis. As soon as we hear about discrimination or violence, we contact the people. We express our compassion and solidarity. Then we ask, if they are interested in a public solidarity movement. If so, we become active.
How do the solidarity movements look like?
We organise events. Here, private persons, religious communities, civil society organisations as well as mayors or integration commissioners are welcome to participate. We express solidarity with those affected!
Only at the end of June, a solidarity event took place in Darmstadt after a Jewish symbol was destroyed in Darmstadt.
Solidarity visits are also being made to those affected. With this we show: You are not alone. You are part of the society. You are welcome. Those affected are strengthened. We also prepare and hand over signature lists. By also informing the press and appearing in social media, we are putting the focus on the solidarity movement.
We make it clear in public: the majority of society stands shoulder to shoulder with those affected. The population does not accept racist attacks! The commitment is made visible. We are setting a motivating signal for societal cohesion and strengthen integration.
Which solidarity movement was formatively for you?
I have to think of the terrible attack in Hanau. It was very moving and encouraging to see how over 50 solidarity movements took place throughout Germany that same evening. A clear signal was given. It is important to go out into the streets, to come together and to show: We don't want that! We stand shoulder to shoulder with those affected. It was very motivating that it did not need us for that, in this case.
What has Corona changed?
Unfortunately, there is now more racist discrimination against asian people. We also had to cancel events recently. At the moment we often express our solidarity in letters or e-mails. We use social media more intensively, to unleash waves of solidarity.
What can I do if I have witnessed a case of racist violence etc.?
If you witness an incident, you are welcome to report it to us. Then we can become active. In general it is important to talk about it. Unfortunately there are many incidents, but it is not often reported.
If, for example, a mosque has been attacked, it is nice to write a letter. In which one says that one stands behind the victims and condemns the incidents.
How can I take part in the solidarity movements from shoulder to shoulder?
On our homepage you will find a form in German and Arabic to participate. If there is an incident in your area, I will contact you. I will inform you about planned actions. So you can take part for example in a solidarity visit or an event. If you have time, you can also help with the organisation.
Do you habe any wish for the future?
I wish that the current commitment against racism as well as the personal confrontation will last for a long time and become more and more. I also wish that the topic will be made more visible through the press and that violence prevention will be expanded.
If you yourself are affected by discrimination and racism, then take a look at this article. Here we explain where and how you can get help.