A total of 57 social entities in the capital of Aragon, including associations of migrants, Roma, youth, consumers and neighbours, political parties, trade unions, professional associations and organisations working in areas such as social intervention, health, education and sustainable development cooperation have joined the anti-rumor Alliance today, an initiative promoted by the House of Culture of the City of Zaragoza with the aim of working towards an intercultural city where coexistence prevails in the face of racist and xenophobic rumors.
On 6 November, the mayor of Zaragoza, Pedro Santisteve, received representatives of all the groups who have committed to the creation of 'Spaces free of rumors'; these are places of daily or exceptional use within the city, whether public or private, such as work spaces, social headquarters or resources used by the neighbours of Zaragoza. In these places, a positive communication about social, ethnic and / or cultural diversity will be proactively promoted and a banner will be displayed both in a visible physical space and digitally and / or in the social networks of each organisation.
The signatory entities have also committed to accept the values and objectives of the anti-rumor ZGZ Strategy, putting into practice its principles. In addition, they will train Anti-Rumor Agents among their professionals, volunteers or partners, who will become part of the Anti-Rumor Agents Network, acquiring the responsibility to act as such within their organization.
For the mayor, this is an additional step to combat hate speech and racism that are advancing all over the world. 'Cities have to be in the frontline of the defence of human rights, we must be places where networks of solidarity are built and diversity is considered as an advantage”.
This measure is part of the ZGZ Anti-Rage City Strategy. The strategy is based on the principle that rumors are associated with prejudices and stereotypes, many of them originated by ignorance and lack of mutual understanding that have an impact on people’s behaviour. Rumors can lead to lack of interaction, distrust, isolation, rejection and discrimination. For this reason, the strategy works to revert these ideas, make diversity visibile in a positive way and facilitate interaction between citizens of different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities.
Over the past few months, the House of Cultures has carried out various actions and produced work materials (such as the mapping of rumours and a Manual with the objective data that belies and contrasts them), training courses for Anti-rumor Agents, Toolkits and Awareness Campaigns aimed at informing all citizens about the strategy.
One of the cornerstones of this action is the training of anti-rumor agents, attended by more than 70 people who have now at their disposal toolkit to work on empathy and the promotion of critical thinking. Currently, the Anti-rumor Manual is being revised and updated to incorporate new stereotypes about the Roma population and refugees.
Also within the Strategy, on December 15 Zaragoza Activa will host a day open to all citizens to address the spreading of Fake News and rumors on social networks; it will feature the presence of Maldito Bulo, Stop Rumors (Andalusia) and the Reci (Spanish Network of Intercultural Cities), among other speakers.