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CASSA's Blog

Supporting our Children and Youth at a Time of Crisis

By November 1, 2023No Comments

At CASSA our mission is to facilitate economic, social, political, and cultural empowerment by serving as a resource for information, research, mobilization, service delivery coordination, and leadership on social justice issues affecting our communities. This includes issues of trauma, violence, Islamophobia, and Antisemitism which have risen in the past weeks. We aim to create social change by building alliances and working collaboratively with those who share a vision of empowering all communities to participate in defining Canada’s future.

We are currently witnessing a massive humanitarian crisis in the Middle East that is greatly affecting the entire world including Canada. The scale of violence including killings of civilians has left the world feeling lost, overwhelmed, and divided. While the crisis feels far away for most Canadians, it impacts Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, and other communities here in Canada. Particularly, online.

Our ongoing work addresses these issues. In Canada, it is our responsibility to create, support, and facilitate inclusive and supportive online spaces for communities across Canada. CASSA has spent years developing projects and resources to support anti-racism work, address gender-based violence, and reduce online violence. We understand the reality of racism and violence both in person and in our online spaces, particularly social media.

CASSA is concerned as we all have seen a rise in hate speech and hate crimes targeting Arab, Jewish, Muslim, and Palestinian communities in Canada during this crisis. We have seen a rise in random attacks towards members of both the Muslim and Jewish faith as well as witnessing Masajid and Synagogues being targeted and vandalized.

While tracking and reporting overt hate crimes and incidents is essential, there is much happening below the surface, out of sight of day-to-day media reports. We are concerned with how this impacts youth in Canada, particularly from Jewish and Muslim communities. Social media algorithms do not protect their users from exposure to hate and racism, whether they actively look for it or not. The impact on youth mental health can be devastating. Even more so with youth who are directly connected to the crisis.
This is a difficult time for many parents, teachers, youth, and children in our communities who are confronted with hate in online spaces. Tackling the rise of online violence is overwhelming. Many individuals are being directly targeted in online hate incidents, while many others are also being exposed to hate-related propaganda, misinformation, and violence. It can be difficult for children and youth to know what steps to take to combat and report online hate while protecting themselves.

It is difficult for parents, community leaders, and educators to know how to protect their children and
youth they care for.

We can help.

CASSA has created digital resources and support for communities across the country to educate Canadians on ways to recognize, combat, and report online hate.

CASSA’s Eradicate Hate App and resources educate parents, teachers, children, and youth on steps they can take to understand what online hate is, how to report it, and what resources are available in their communities. The Eradicate Hate App cannot stop online hate. But it can support children, youth, and caregivers to create safer spaces for themselves online. Together we can build the capacity of children and youth to recognize, combat, and take down online hate.

CASSA will be hosting support sessions in the coming days to help communities understand how to use the app as well as to best benefit from the app through educational videos, digital resources as well and support through an important list of different support services such as helplines, organizations, and more.

Download the app to create a safer online space in your home, school, and community.

In solidarity,