Decidedly not the most popular celebration in an election year, International Migrants Day is a day of global solidarity with migrants. In fact, if you stumbled across somebody celebrating International Migrants Day, it may have been in connection to the 4,000 species of regular migrant birds, because frankly, the day’s title is confusing. It should be International Migrant Workers’ Day, because let’s face it, animals migrate just as much as we do and you don’t see many storks, bats, crabs and salmon demanding respect. All joking aside, Migrants Day is a celebration of the 232 million people who’ve said to themselves ‘I’ve had it with this place’ and hopped on an airplane clenching a one-way ticket. It’s also an occasion to celebrate the millions of babies they generated in the process, the future tax payers who will be funding the locals’ retirements within a few years.
The History of International Migrants Day
International Migrants Day appointed by the General Assembly of United Nations on December 4th, 2000. It is the UN’s way of acknowledging all of the migrants around the world who have had and continue to have to the courage to leave their country and language behind, along with their friends, family members, and everything they have every truly known just to get a shot at a better life somewhere else in the world. The idea was originally born in 1997, when Filipino and other Asian migrant associations began celebrating what was first called, “the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants”. December 18th was chosen out of all the days of the year was chosen because it was on on that day in 1990 that the UN adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The day is centered around appreciating the contributions the millions of migrants worldwide have made to their host countries and efforts to help protect their rights.
How to Celebrate International Migrants Day
The best way to celebrate International Migrants Day is with some migrants to your country—you must know people who have decided to leave their own countries behind to take advantage of the opportunities your offers. In fact, it is likely that you know quite a few such people, so why not host a little get together? As with any celebration, good food is key, and inviting people hailing from different parts of the world will guarantee a varied, interesting menu. But International Migrants Day is about so much more than enjoying fresh spring rolls or some homemade perogies—it is also the perfect occasion to have a frank, open discussion about how your foreign friends feel in your country, and how many of their dreams they’ve been able to achieve since their arrival. These dreams could range from being something as basic as having more job opportunities to being able to enjoy freedom of speech or religion, and each of them will likely make for a fascinating and educational discussion. Asking about instances when they experienced any sort of discrimination would make for a less pleasant topic, but one that needs to be talked about in order for these kinds of situations to be paid attention to and prevented in the future. And if you are the migrant, this day would be a great day to reflect on your decision and contemplate its consequences. All in all, International Migrants Day should be a day of awareness, recognition and appreciation for all.