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Feb 5, 2020

Live & Let Live: Identifying the Face of Discrimination

A campaign is ongoing to build consciousness on what discrimination is and to encourage action when it surfaces in the homes, workplace and other areas. The Live and Let Live Campaign is focusing on marginalized groups seeking to encourage neighbours to look out for one another whenever any type of prejudice is exposed.  Here is News Five’s Duane Moody with a report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today at the Biltmore Plaza, a Live and Let Live Campaign, spearheaded by the Managing Director of Right Insights, Doctor Minerva Pinelo, was officially launched. Throughout the next three months, several public service announcements centred around discrimination—be it in the workplace, inside the homes and even as a society—will be shared across social media and during local programming. Pinelo says it is an opportunity to give a voice to marginalized groups.


Minerva Pinelo

Dr. Minerva Pinelo, Coordinator, Live & Let Live Campaign

“The campaign is rooted in our values as a Belizean society and it looks at how to bring through a grassroots approach an opportunity to sensitize the wider public and to talk about stories that persons have lived; these are personal journeys of discrimination. The campaign really will walk through the public service announcements that we will have through national air time that will help everyone to reflect and maybe either relate or question or explore some of the difficult conversations that we need to have. It will also look at a website that was launched today and will continue to engage us and connect us as a community and to be able to share stories.”


It is based on the Belizean premise of “neighbours need to look out for one another.” So the hope is for the PSAs to spark much needed dialogue on how employers and businesses can provide access to person with disabilities or breastfeeding mothers and even members of the LGBTI community.


Dr. Minerva Pinelo

“I think one of the questions that we want everyone to walk away with today is what is discrimination and also another question is what face does discrimination have? As you can see from our stories today, there can be a lot of talk about populations that are considered vulnerable or marginalized, but we still have systemic changes to address that will help women, that will help persons who have diverse abilities to be able to live that life and to fulfil the dreams that they have.”


In attendance today were representatives from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as National AIDS Commission and the Belize Assembly of Persons with Diverse Abilities.  The launch featured testimonials from persons who shared their stories about being discriminated for varied reasons.


Roxanne Marin

Roxanne Marin, President, BAPDA

“Persons with disabilities face discrimination at every level. It is always important for us to include our population in whatever it is that we are doing and so today at this launch, we had two of our members that were here in wheelchairs. And so even today was a learning experience to accessibility. Discrimination is happening, not only as it relates to accessibility for our population, but discrimination when it comes to health services, education, when it comes to housing across the board; transportation—you name it. And so it is important for campaigns such as these to bring awareness to our issues and what can be the solutions.”


While the campaign is championing a change in the way people are treated given their sexual preferences, religious belief, adverse ability and the like; there are similar tones to that of the controversial Equal Opportunities Bill for which consultations have been held. Although parallel, Doctor Pinelo says that this project is separate.


Dr. Minerva Pinelo

“It’s a very good time to have a discussion like this. It is a difficult conversation especially in the wake of the controversy that surrounds the Bill. We’ve heard person say that I like eighty percent of it; I don’t like twenty percent of it. This opportunity is for us to explore as an employer, as a stakeholder, as a church leader, as a community member what do we really need to do now to sit down and decide what is next. So this is not in any way a technical review; this is not a lobby for legislative reform but rather saying let us sit down and talk and then we can make up our minds.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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