CASSA E-Updates Issue 01



 Issue: 01      January 23, 2012

In this Issue: 



1.    Message from the Executive Director
2.   Project Updates
3.   Volunteer Opportunities
4.   Membership


Message from the Executive Director

 Dear Friends:


On behalf of CASSA team, I wish you a very happy and productive 2012. With the start of the new year, our projects have started in full swing and we have a number of activities lined up   in the next few months e.g. workshops for youth, forum for seniors, building capacity report launch, etc. There is immense scope for the volunteers to gain valuable skills by getting involved in our projects and we encourage all individuals to contact us if they wish to be part of our projects. Our Racism -free Ontario Campaign has already completed 40 days and we hope that many more organizations and individuals will be able to join us in our fight against racism. We will continue to inform you of our significant events and developments through regular e-updates and thank you for your continued support and participation in working with us on social justice issues.


 In Solidarity,


Neethan Shan


Executive Director – CASSA










Brown Canada Project: Documenting and Creating South Asian history in Canada: The project was launched officially on November 18, 2011 and the first volunteer meeting was held in December with much interest from a wide range of community members. From January to June 2012, this project will set up a comprehensive website exploring varied South Asian histories and memorializing the Komagata Maru historical incident; host creative writing and digital storytelling workshops for youth leading to a travelling youth-led play, community-led educational campaigns and production of a dvd and resource booklets. Brown Canada is looking for more groups and individuals excited about the possibilities of exploring meaningful South Asian histories to sign up as volunteers or community animators. We will be filling community animator positions until the end of January (see call-out below) and will be hosting the next volunteer meeting at the beginning of February. Contact if you’d like to be involved or find out more! 




Racism Free Ontario Campaign: The Racism Free Ontario Initiative is a 100 day anti-racism campaign, across Ontario. The campaign aims to involve community organizations, groups, individuals and media from across the province to work together and create awareness about the impact of racism and about potential solutions to addressing various aspects of systemic racism.&



CASSA is encouraging you to hold an event as a way to mark March 21st, the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Ontario.


Please email us or call us if you or your organization wishes to join the campaign. You can be part of the campaign with offering to host an activity (i.e. teach-in, movie night, seminar, workshop, town hall, booth, poster, forum or anything else you consider appropriate for your organization). Last year we held 8 activities through partners, and this year, we hope to have at least twenty activities across the province through partners. We hope you can join and help us advance anti-racism work in Ontario. Volunteers are encouraged to apply and help out with the Racism Free Ontario work. Please email  Deena Hai at if you are interested in working with CASSA on this project. For regular updates on this campaign, visit



Youth in Action Project: The Youth in Action Project brought South Asian Youth participants together every week from October 4th to December  2011 to develop skills for media related work or post secondary education. Twitter, Blogging, and Media Literacy were a few of the introductory topics covered during the weekly workshops.  On November 19th, we visited our partnering media sources Canadian Multicultural Radio (CMR) and Tamil Vision International (TVi) studios and produced three short clips and a radio broadcast. Stage two of the project will consist of workshops to be held in February and March and also provide mentoring to the participants from professionals in their field of interest e.g. camera work, onscreen, editing, voice recording etc. In the end, groups will have a 1 – 3 minute film or radio broadcast. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop media skills so register soon! We are looking for participants as well as youth to get involved in the organizing as volunteers.  


Contact if you’d like to be involved or find out more!




Building capacity – Documenting Anit-Poverty advocacy in Scarborough: The Building Capacity report aims to document recent and current anti-poverty advocacy initiatives in Scarborough. Data collection wrapped up in November and the report is going through a series of edits and reviews. The report highlights important influencers of anti-poverty advocacy in Scarborough including how we think and talk about Scarborough, resident realities and the challenges in accessing and participating in advocacy work. The report will have a media launch in February for community members, services, agencies, key player and other stakeholders. If you would like a copy of the report or have questions about the launch contact:





Health Equity:



The Health services and policy research report “ Health Equity for South Asian communities” is nearing completion and will be available on CASSA website soon. The findings of the report are based on the outcomes of the survey completed by the participants at the conference “A Diagnosis for Health Equity” organized by CASSA on Oct. 24, 2011.  The report looks at the challenges, barriers and gaps in Canada’s health care system in the field of chronic disease, mental and sexual health and explores different ways to provide culturally appropriate Health care services to South Asian communities. The report has been complied by Farah Islam, currently doing her internship at CASSA.



CASSA is also working on creating a brand new website for its Health Equity Portfolio. It will be a great online resource that will connect the South Asian community to health care providers and resources that are culturally appropriate and linguistically accessible. In addition, it will highlight current research trends focusing on South Asian Health as well as profiles of leaders in the field who are contributing to creating a more equitable health care solutions for the South Asian community and ethnic communities in general! We hope that it will be a enriching source of dialogue and debate for academics, policy makers and the community at large. Our goal is to stimulate discussion on the health equity issues facing all of us. For more details, contact Anjum Sultana, Health Equity Coordinator Intern at









Call for community Animators

POSITION: Community Animator, Volunteer


PROJECT: Brown Canada: Documenting and Creating South Asian Histories in Canada








**Bangladeshi **Indo-Caribbean **Indian  **Muslim **Pakistani **Punjabi **Sikh **Tamil


**LGBT **Women **Person’s with Disabilities **Labour **Arts/Culture **Health




Brown Canada is a 2-year comprehensive South Asian history project that seeks to document and create history from a diverse range of perspectives that fall under the ‘South Asian’ umbrella. During this project, we will be creating a comprehensive website with photos, videos and articles, creative and digital storytelling workshops, resource booklets, a dvd, as well as a memorial website and youth-led play dedicated to exploring histories of the Komagata Maru.




We are looking to fill several Community Animator positions to be responsible for gathering content and mobilizing interest within a specific South Asian community or theme. These positions will work closely and report to the Project Coordinator.






-act as a liaison between specific community and overall ‘Brown Canada’ project


-research and compile information with regard to specific community/theme


-address particular needs, goals, struggles of specific community/theme


-community outreach and volunteer recruitment/coordination


-coordinate interviews with members of community


-use creative art/media such as video, digital storytelling, and creative writing to educate and raise awareness


-launch an educational campaign through direct community engagement and media


-other administrative duties as assigned






-interest and/or experience in areas of South Asian history, politics or activism


-enthusiastic about learning and sharing knowledge


-interest in arts, media, research and writing


-ability to work effectively independently and in a group


-good verbal and written communication skills


-knowledge of anti-oppression analysis 




Please send your resume and one-page cover letter indicating area of interest. Please use the cover letter to discuss if you would like to be involved in a subject/community area not already indicated, or if you have interests in the intersections of multiple categories.




Send applications to:




Accepting applications until Friday, January 27th, 2012. Please apply early as we will start filling up positions from January 10th, 2012 onward.





South Asian Heritage Month 2012 Volunteer call-out: 

CASSA will be holding various events and activities throughout May  to commemorate the South Asian Heritage Month.  We are looking for eager and dedicated volunteers to help us out with the activities. People of all age groups and skill sets are welcome to join. The areas of opportunity include marketing, outreach, event coordination, and creative arts.






This year’s events include:





  • The 5th Annual “Fires of Resistance” Conference: A South Asian Youth Leadership Conference



  • SAHM Reception at City Hall – Another great event that has been happening for several years now.  We will be working with the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter to set up displays from various organizations about our communities in celebration of our heritage.  This will include a reception event at City Hall.



  • SAHM Poster Competition – There will be 3 age groups participating: 13-15, 16-18, and 19 and up.  Cash prizes will be awarded to the top winners and plaques for 2nd and 3rd winners.



  • The 4th Annual South Asian Youth Leadership Retreat – This full day retreat will offer youth delegates a series of skill building sessions and leadership activities.



  • South Asian Heritage Month Gala Dinner – CASSA will be hosting a gala dinner to celebrate the 11th anniversary of SAHM in Ontario.  Location, date/time and entertainment are yet to be determined.  Proceeds will go toward funding the Brown Canada project.



  • May Day and SAHM Reception – In partnership with Canadian Labour Congress, Ontario Federation of Labour and Toronto and York Region Labour Council, CASSA organizes a joint May Day and SAHM event every year to celebrate the outstanding work South Asians have been doing for social and economic justice in Ontario.





If you are interested in any of these events and would like to get involved as a volunteer, please contact Papia Dutta, South Asian Heritage Month Coordinator, at and help us form an energetic and enthusiastic team for SAHM 2012.  



Our first SAHM Team 2012 meeting will be held on February 7th at  6

:30pm at the CASSA office (2401 Eglinton Avenue East, Unit 212, Scarborough) for interested volunteers.  Please email me if you wish to join.











Be a South Asian Heart Health Ambassedor with HSFO 

Heart & Stroke Foundation is looking to train volunteers who are strongly connected to the South Asian community, and speak at least one South Asian language to help raise awareness of about the risk factors for heart disease and stroke and promote healthy living strategies.