CASSA’s 2019 Civic Engagement campaign is focused on encouraging more South Asians to discuss issues that they care about and make informed voting decisions in the upcoming federal election. We are particularly hoping to talk to populations who may be disengaged, less informed about the political process, or require culturally sensitive material, such as newcomers, youth, and seniors, through the campaign. The campaign involves conducting dialogue-based workshops at community organizations, institutions, and spaces across the GTA, and chatting with residents at local community events. We will also be using our social media channels to understand what issues you care about and will be developing content to educate you on the positions that the different parties are taking on key election issues. Lastly, we will be working with key figures in the GTA South Asian community to promote discussion on the upcoming election.
All Candidates Debate
On Wednesday, September 25th, The Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), Urban Alliance on Race Relations, and the Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change Steering Committee, co-hosted an All Candidates Debate in the Scarborough Rouge-Park area. 42 Voices and Scarborough Civic Action Network (SCAN) were supporting organizations assisting with outreach and promotion by spreading awareness of this event to their members and audiences. We also received help with promotion from some neighborhood associations in the Scarborough – Rouge Park area including Highland Creek and Morningside Heights Neighbourhood Associations.
This debate was centered around the goal of furthering our Civic Engagement Strategy at CASSA by providing community members with the opportunity to meet their local candidates running to be Members of Parliament, engage in direct conversations with them as well as listen to their party platforms on issues that are important to the local community. The debate was partly funded by the Laidlaw Foundation.
The debate occurred from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm at the Malvern Recreation Centre where approximately 100 people, predominantly racialized individuals, from the community gathered. All four major party candidates who were invited attended the debate. The questions were drafted based on CASSA’s civic engagement social media polls over the last 6 months, through CASSA’s local youth group, and through some of the Neighbourhood Associations in Scarborough – Rouge Park. Questions focused on addressing the diversity of the riding, the Anti-Racism Secretariat, online hate, affordable living for youth, and plans to improve lives for youth.
Video clips of the answers to the questions by each candidate will be available on CASSA’s social media in the next couple of days.
The second phase of the social media campaign was the Youth Civic Engagement Contest. This contest requested South Asian youth who voted to present a picture of themself at the polls and tag their friends to encourage them to vote too. We promoted this post on social media to reach a larger audience. The winner of the $50 gift card exemplified one of the major goals of our contest; to encourage South Asian youth to be excited about the election process and encourage others too. The winner sent in a photo of her federal election vote card via mail all the way from Mexico where she was residing at the time! Congratulations to Onsia!