Hate and Islamophobia has continued to grow in our community and negatively affect the lives of individuals and families in Waterloo Region. We have been working to counter hate and Islamophobia and although we have made progress through continuous efforts over a period of time, building on past successes as we evaluate the changing ground realities and engage in developing fresh strategies for new and emerging challenges.
Through its Together Against Islamophobia program, the CMW provides public education sessions in the community. The education sessions provide an opportunity for communities at large and Muslim groups to learn about the diversity in the Muslim world. The public education sessions also focus on giving information around the CMW Anti-Hate Services and how they’re used to provide support services to victims and communities.
In addition, we’ve created and successfully delivered bridge-building, education activities: Brave Spaces and Tea and Tales with Muslim Women. The former promotes dialogue and discussion on difficult and sensitive topics around race, religion, gender, and the intersectionality of all these aspects of identity. The latter delivers cultural sensitivity training through café-style conversations with attendees about their experiences growing up in their countries of origin. The hosts also talk about their resettlement experience in Canada.
Our public education increases knowledge and capacity in minorities to closely observe and reflect on policy issues affecting them. Racialized Canadians and racialized Muslims gain an understanding of their rights, particularly the right not to be discriminated against in employment, housing, social services, etc. Our standardized anti-Islamophobia trainings, given to public and private organizations, directly change systems and organizational policies. Tool sharing with minority communities increases understanding of protection & remedial mechanisms, and support systems that can counter racism, hate, and Islamophobia.
As we’ve worked with victims of hate, racism, and Islamophobia, we’ve developed a deeper understanding of what’s needed: education. Our Anti-Hate Service conducts community sessions to inform people of the existence of the service. These sessions are open to all community members, organizations, and other stakeholders. The purpose is to educate residents, stakeholder, schools boards, and systems leaders about what is racism, hate, discrimination, and Islamophobia. This education is delivered in multiple languages spoken by the communities we serve.