The European Union is hosting its first ever People of African Descent (PAD) Week at the European Parliament between May 14 and 17.  The aim is to increase awareness of the 15 million people of African descent living in Europe and discuss solutions to address the racial discrimination and violence they face.

“In addition to honouring the history and contribution of Europe’s Black population, the People of African Descent Week reaffirms European values by developing strategic and coherent responses to make our society more inclusive in the face of rising racial prejudice and violence across Europe,” said MEP Cecile Kyenge, a founder of PAD Week and member of the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup.  “I am greatly concerned by recent events where we see European citizens turning against one another and people from other places simply because they look different or were born elsewhere.”

According to a European Parliament press release, Black people in Europe experience hate crime, violence and deaths in police custody, use of racial profiling, discrimination in education and employment, it is urgent to ensure justice and equal rights for Black people.

“We hope this week will result in concrete measures at both European Union and government levels, in particular to address disparities in access to education, increasing levels of hate crime, and violence and discrimination in the criminal justice system,” said Michaël Privot, Director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR). “It’s time Black people in Europe can be fully part of our society.”

PAD Week is a joint initiative of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup, ENAR, the Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference (TMPLC) and Each One Teach One (EOTO).