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Our name

Like a Phoenix from the ashes people from every part of the world shall rise to fight racism.

The name Phoenix carries a symbolic meaning to us in two regards.

 

Phoenix: the sacred bird of Greek mythology. Every 500 years it appears in the flames and rises again from the ashes to soar into the sky –  more beautiful and more powerful than before. This is where the saying "like a phoenix from the ashes" originates.

 

500 years ago the colonisation of the peoples of the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Pacific began – an endless history of genocide, of unpunished crimes and exploitation of entire continents. During these 500 years people were systematically deprived of their basic human rights. This time has left its mark on both the obvious victims of this history as well as on the White people, including their descendants.

 

The Phoenix way not only means believing in a different future but taking concrete steps to create it. “Like a Phoenix from the ashes” people from all over the world shall stand up against racism and strive for universal human rights, anti-discrimination laws and the healing of all humankind.

 

At the same time Phoenix was named after the woman who was central to our the foundation of our group: Sybil Phoenix. She was born in British-Guyana (today: Guyana) and has been  living in England since 1956. Racist experiences have always been part of her daily life. This encouraged her to commit herself to the rights of people that are discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. Her work serves a model for us in many respects. Her unconditional devotion to people and her commitment against every kind of discrimination impressed us deeply.

From her we have learned that fighting unjust structures must not necessarily involve bitterness. We are inspired by her belief that everybody has the opportunity to change him- or herself and their environment for the better.

 

Sybil’s name was her mission: In 1977, when a youth-centre for black and white teenagers, which she had founded, was burned by the right-wing extremist National Front, she said: “My name is Phoenix and with the help of God I will build a new centre from the ashes.”


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