Diversity Day: Today and Every Day in Mannheim
Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH
City leadership takes a corporate-led diversity charter to the streets
On June 11, 2013, Mannheim joined cities across Germany to promote diversity and inclusion. More than 360 events were organized in cities such as Munich, Hamburg, Berlin and Dortmund to celebrate the positive factors and benefits of embracing diversity. Businesses, organizations, municipalities, community groups and the public were all encouraged to be creative in celebrating diversity and to actively participate in this nation-wide event. In Mannheim, the mob flashed the question we all need to ask: “What does diversity in the city of Mannheim mean to you?”
Cause for Celebration
Germany’s Diversity Day was inspired by the success of the corporate-led Diversity Charter (Charta der Vielfalt) which was imported to Germany from France in 2006 and has now been signed by some of the country’s largest companies. The German charter takes a broader approach than the original French charter by covering 10 fields of discrimination: gender, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, philosophy, physical ability, age, sexual orientation and identity. Established by corporate giants Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom and BP Europa SE, with the support of Maria Böhmer, Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, the German Charter seeks to make the recognition, appreciation and integration of diversity (from cultural background to sexual identity), particularly in the workplace, its primary goal. In 2010, the Charter became a public-private partnership when the German government joined the group. Over 870 organizations in Germany have now signed the Diversity Charter including both the public and private sectors – 20% are large corporations and more than 50% belong to the private sector.
Taking a Diversity to the Streets
The City of Mannheim had no trouble embracing the ideas behind a national celebration of diversity. Located in southwestern Germany, Mannheim’s population of almost 320,000 includes 40% who have a migration background (from 170 countries). The city views its diversity as a significant asset and has integrated diversity as a core value in its marketing strategies, branding and tourism. The city’s marketing division, Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH (City Marketing Mannheim LLC), demonstrated its commitment to embracing and fostering diversity by becoming a signatory of the Diversity Charter in March 2012.
Mannheim’s contribution to the national celebration was organized to reach a variety of audiences. A video featuring local celebrities speaking about diversity was widely shared through Facebook and the city’s diversity blog. Local Diversity Day events included the performance of “Wir!” (We!), an intercultural music and dance project, and a series of walking tours that profiled immigrant entrepreneurs, the city’s LGBTQ history, and even included a tour in German Sign Language. While the flash mob led by city administration trainees released multi-coloured helium balloons into the sky, people on the street were invited to pause and record their opinions on diversity at a specially-set up video booth. A compilation of clips from the video booth will soon be available on Facebook and YouTube –with English subtitles, to reach an even greater audience.
Mannheim’s event was a cooperative venture between the city administration, community groups and local businesses. Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH considers the city’s diverse socio-cultural capital as an untapped resource that also attracts international professionals to the city and the entire Rhine-Neckar region. The day’s events were officially opened by the Chairs of CSD Rhine-Neckar, a LGBTQ organization, and SCA Hygiene Products, another recent signatory of the Diversity Charter.
The Charta der Vielfalt (Diversity Charter Association) has organized a competition for the most creative Diversity Day event in Germany — cities like Mannheim promise to make it a stiff competition.
Making it Work for You:
- Partnering with community groups provides new ideas, improved messaging and better outreach to audiences.
- Engage the voice and support of prominent citizens to promote your cause. Their contribution can also help garner media attention.
- Look for ways to make your campaign interactive. Giving the public a way to participate will make your messages and impact stronger.
For this Good Idea contact:
Dr. Cassandra Ellerbe-Dück, Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH