A City’s good practice towards the elimination of discrimination
In 2008 the City of Potsdam conducted an anti-discrimination campaign to gather information on the opinions and desires of its citizens in relation to discrimination and tolerance. The aim of this operation was the crafting of a new tolerance edict for the City.
Message boards were installed in 66 locations including schools, public areas, malls, universities, and at various companies. The use of message boards as a way to gather information from citizens was a creative and effective way to reach a broad cross-section of individuals. Since the boards were posted in different accessible locations, a wide range of individuals were able to contribute and communicate what they perceived as the most pressing issues of discrimination in the City. Thousands of people participated by sharing their thoughts and at the end of the campaign 4,000 messages were recorded.
After being collected, the messages were evaluated and summarised. A one-hundred-page book was produced on this basis, with 17,500 copies distributed. An exhibition showcasing the message boards was organised at a main train station, attended by about 2,500 individuals. In addition to the collection and dissemination of the public opinion, the campaign led to the creation of the New Potsdam Tolerance Edict Society. This Society functions as a network that links local authorities, companies and civil society in the fight against discrimination.
The population of the city (as of December 2010) is 156,906. There are three public colleges and more than 30 research institutes in the city. Potsdam was historically a centre of European immigration. Its religious tolerance attracted people from France, Russia, the Netherlands and Bohemia. This is still visible in the culture and architecture of the city. The Potsdam’s Filmstudio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world and a major centre of European movie production.
Potsdam has been a member of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism since September 2006.
For more information, please visit: www.potsdamer-toleranzedikt.de