From 19 to 21 October, SGI and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots co-hosted Part One of the 2020-2021 Humanitarian Disarmament Forum virtually, with a record attendance of 115 participants. This is an annual forum held parallel to the UN General Assembly First Committee session in the fall. Since 2012, the Forum has brought together campaigners from various humanitarian disarmament campaigns and sought to substantively explore a cross-cutting challenge and collectively identify solutions including practical measures.
The theme of the 2020-2021 Forum is “Race and Intersectionality.” Aside from the opening and closing sessions on the first and last days of the Forum which brought everyone together, participants broke out into three “affinity groups” (Asian/Brown/Indigenous/Mixed, Black, and White) over the course of the three days for discussion sessions. Each group engaged in deep facilitated conversations about how racism impacts and manifests including in the communities we work in, and how an intersectional approach can be applied to disarmament.
Dominique Day, Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, gave the Forum’s keynote during the opening session. The organizing team worked with Seattle-based Anti-Racism at Work (ARAW), who provided remarks during the opening and closing sessions, as well as serving as facilitators for the affinity groups.
For a summary of Part One of the Forum, visit the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’ website.
Participants provided positive feedback. For some, it served as an opportunity to reflect on their own privileges and lack of awareness, while for others it provided a sense of relief that there is a safe space to talk about racism collectively.
In 2021, participants will undertake a guided self-study process of learning and dialogue through community hubs, a book club, and a series of webinars. Finally, if feasible, a face-to-face Forum will be held in New York in October 2021 to conclude the two-year process of the learning journey.