The city of Roeselare is located in the middle of the province West-Flanders in Belgium. Roeselare measures 5979 hectares and has 63.600 inhabitants. 11.500 of them report to having other than Belgian roots.
The city itself has a strong connection with the neighboring towns and villages. The main employment consists of industry and shops. Migration to Roeselare has grown strongly for the past 15 years. Two main categories of migration can be identified: European citizens looking for job opportunities and refugees from outside of Europe looking for shelter and a new home.
In 2020, Roeselare decided to join the ECCAR program as part of a national cooperation of 11 Flemish cities. Besides wanting to set an example for surrounding towns and cities, Roeselare is convinced that racism and discrimination are unacceptable and wants to act upon this belief.
And acting on this belief, Roeselare created a broad plan to encourage tolerance. This plan was made with the help of different advocacy groups and people from the actual target group. The target groups are:
While the city strives to meet the different goals for each target group, it uses six basic principles that apply to each target group:
These principles come to life during different projects and events the city of Roeselare sets up in light of its continuing battle against racism and discrimination. Projects include, but are not limited to; ‘Coloring against Racism’ in light of the International Day Against Racism on the twenty-first of March, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on the seventeenth of May and the broader action of ‘Everyone#OfRSL’.
With these concrete actions, Roeselare wants to show the opportunities a diverse community holds, inform the citizens of Roeselare about racism and discrimination. Roeselare wants to stimulate children to think about racism, counteract polarization, promote cultural diversity, and make the different cultures accessible for other groups.