Fighting discrimination for 25 years!

BDB e.V. (BDB) is a self-organisation of people with different national and cultural backgrounds who are active in the field of human rights, anti-discrimination, anti-racism, asylum and gender. Since 1996, BDB has set itself the goal of helping to overcome exclusion and discrimination in society. The focus here is on work against racism / ethnic discrimination (disadvantage due to origin, culture, “skin colour” and nationality).

We see our work to encourage just and respectful treatment as a contribution to a peaceful coexistence and the development of a lively and enriched society and a stable democracy.

We work in response to concrete cases of discrimination, but also concentrate on prevention in order to prevent racism and other forms of discrimination, e.g. through workshops and training as well as with demands for more justice in legislation and institutional structures. Our aim is to coordinate the different areas of anti-discrimination work (counselling, trainings and political networking/lobbying) in order to create learning effects and synergies between them. We focus is not only on the individual-interpersonal level of discrimination and racism, but also on the political and institutional level.

Values of the association

  • We should address people’s fears, concerns and understandings – not at some preconceived ideal of what these should be, but as they are.

  • An anti-racist discussion should lead to more dignity for all – not to subjugation and powerlessness of the participants.

  • An effective anti-racist discussion opens the possibility to speak in an uncensored, but respectful way about the issues that move the participants.

  • In order to deal with questions related to societal difference and discrimination in a constructive way, you need to first take a look at yourself: in the confrontation with one’s own position in one’s own society, with one’s own socialised images of oneself and others and one’s own values and interests.

  • The aim of counselling is to accompany and empower victims of discrimination by informing, encouraging and supporting them and giving them the tools to fight discrimination on their own.

  • We want to support those affected by discrimination and racism in their demands for more opportunities to actively participate in the democratic structures of society.

  • We promote awareness and sensitivity for the issues of discrimination and racism and advocate for equal coexistence in all areas of society.

Laying the foundation

In 1996, the association was called the „Büro gegen ethnische Diskriminierung in Berlin und Brandenburg“ (Office against Ethnic Discrimination in Berlin and Brandenburg). The founding members included the organisations Europa-Afrika-Kulturzentrum, Polnischer Sozialrat, Südost-Europa-Kultur e.V., Tüfoyat und Tübiks e.V. and the VIA Regional Association Berlin-Brandenburg. With the expansion of its radius of action from the state to the national level, the member associations – mainly interest organisations of migrants and refugees – officially founded “Bund gegen ethnische Diskriminierung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland” e.V. (Association against Ethnic Discrimination in the Federal Republic of Germany), BDB in the year 2000.

Due to the developments in the work and structure of BDB, the name was changed from Office against Ethnic Discrimination in Berlin and Brandenburg to Bund für Antidiskriminierungs- und Bildungsarbeit e.V., (BDB), (Association for Anti-Discrimination and Educational Work e.V.) in 2007. Since 2007 the aim of our association has been the realisation of equal opportunities and structural societal changes regarding all forms of discrimination, in accordance with Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty and the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG). Our work focuses are on the one hand educational work and consultation (workshops, further training, multiplier training as well as practical advice and process support) and on the other hand concrete support and empowerment of individuals and groups who experience discrimination. BDB was a pioneer in all of these areas of anti-discrimination work.

Counselling in specific discrimination cases

In 1996, the association founded one of the first offices for anti-discrimination counselling nationwide. In 2007, BDB, together with other anti-discrimination offices in Germany, wrote “Recognise and Act on Discrimination!”, a manual for anti-discrimination counselling based on the AGG. To this day, we offer counselling for all people who are affected by discrimination. Our focus is on racism or racist discrimination; however, we observe that most people are affected by different types of discrimination at the same time, so we are there for all people who experience discrimination.

Raising awareness among governmental authorities

BDB was one of the pioneers in developing awareness-raising work with government administrations and security authorities throughout Germany, both on an individual level with trainings and on a structural level through discussion and exchange with these authorities. The most intensive cooperation took place with the Berlin police: for almost 20 years (until the end of 2015) we were in exchange with them about their organisational structures and carried out anti-discrimination trainings with their staff, especially the new trainees.


In the field of networking and lobbying, BDB has been active throughout its history not only at the local level, but also at the regional, national, European and international level. In 2001, BDB joined the Network against Racism, Forum against Racism and also the European Network against Racism. In the same year, BDB participated in the “World Conference against Racism” organised by the United Nations in Durban, South Africa. As a result, BDB was also involved in the exchange between civil society and the German government to further develop the German National Action Plan against Racism, which laid the foundation for today’s German General Equal Treatment Act.

In 2007, BDB co-founded the Anti-Discrimination Association Germany (advd) and is currently an active member of the board. At the local level, we are also part of MoveGlobal e. V. and Demokratie in der Mitte in Berlin-Wedding, as well as a member of various committees on a wide range of issues related to discrimination.

Empowerment work

After 2016, the main focus of BDB shifted once again from awareness-raising back to empowerment work. Over the past decades, we have noticed that people of African and Asian origin in particular very rarely seek counselling when they experience discrimination. With the project “Diaspora Mittendrin”, we have developed an outreach counselling and education project in which we talk to people of African origin and other Black communities about discrimination and empower them with information about their rights. The idea was taken up again with the Banyan project for people from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. In the latter case, due to the poor data on experiences of discrimination, we first conducted a survey for this group (results can be viewed on the project page). Unfortunately, however, we have not yet found a funding to support the counselling and outreach work for the Banyan project.

The trainers, counsellors and supervisors are professionally trained in the fields of anti-discrimination, anti-racism, democracy education, intercultural communication, human rights education, especially using the approaches Bezavta, Social Justice, Anti-Bias, A World of Diversity, Prejudice Awareness Education, Art and Theatre Education, Critical Whiteness, Non-Violent Communication and Global Learning. Our anti-discrimination counsellors are trained according to the standards of the German Anti-Discrimination Association.

Our members are in regular contact with political actors and administrative institutions as well as other non-governmental organisations and migrant organisations.