June 16 – International Day of the African Child

Posted on June 16, 2016

Today is the anniversary of something amazing, and something amazingly sad:

In Soweto, South Africa, on this date in 1976, about 10,000 black school children held a protest march!

That's right – ten THOUSAND kids, marching in a column more than half a mile long!

What were they protesting?
  1. Their crummy educations, and
  2. The fact that they were not allowed to learn about things in their own language.

The hugeness of this march was amazing! But what the South African police officers did about this protest was amazingly sad: they shot at the students, injuring many. One of the students, Hector Pieterson, was killed; he was just 13 years old.

There were uprisings and protests for the next two weeks, and more than a hundred people were killed, and more than a thousand people were injured. But the images of the violent repression by the South African police galvanized the world to weigh in, and eventually apartheid was ended.

Since 1991 this date has been dedicated to the children of Africa.

Kids in Morocco, above, and South Africa, below

Of course, the things that children need are the things that HUMANS need: clean water and air, plenty of safe food, modern medical care, including vaccines, protection against mosquitos, stable government, and peace. Environmental pollution, mosquito-borne diseases, poverty, war – all are children's issues, but they are all human issues as well.

Education doesn't just mean schools (above),
but also includes self-teaching tools like computers
and tablets with internet access (below)
I would say that “education” is a human issue, too, but most people think it is particularly a children's issue. Improving education in Africa seems to be the main thrust of today's events.

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the first Ladies' Day at a baseball game

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