In the wake of President Trump’s recent immigration policy the refugee crisis is experiencing increased media coverage.
Yet, organizations such as StFX for SAFE (Syria Antigonish Families Embrace) are still raising more awareness about the issue as well as capital to support sponsorships to get refugee families to Canada.
This month StFX for SAFE launched the “Pause for the Cause Campaign.” On February 3rd the Students’ Union launched a video explaining the campaign which featured President Taylor Chase.
The campaign is a social media challenge where participants take a video of themselves “pausing” and challenge others to do the same.
Pausing would be making a sacrifice such as abstaining from purchasing coffee or cutting down on going out. The money saved would then be donated to SAFE to help sponsor another family to come to Antigonish.
Kristian Rasenberg, president of StFX for SAFE stated that this is the societies’ first social media campaign. He hopes that it will generate excitement and mentioned that high schoolers are encouraged to get involved as well. He says there is already a high level of excitement at the local high school.
Rasenberg states that this campaign kick started on campus but is targeting alumni as they have more resources available to them. Rassenberg continued to say that donating is extremely important as it makes a huge impact:
“People chipped in for the fires out west, people experience the same (here) and people should make an impact.”
Rasenberg hopes that Pause for the Cause grows into an extremely large effort at StFX, suggesting that if Movember can have success then February could have the same potential.
In addition to the ‘Pause for the Cause’ campaign, StFX for SAFE plans to put more donation boxes around campus to raise funds, hold bake sales and sell coffee outside the library.
Although StFX for SAFE as well as SAFE itself do no formal lobbying, they believe the government can make changes in policy to allow more refugees to settle in Canada. Rasenberg states “Our government can increase the number of privately sponsored refugees accepted into the country this year by speeding up the backlog process.”
The Syrian families that are settled in Antigonish have become success stories even receiving praise from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Hadhad family runs the successful Peace by Chocolate Company and Tareq Hadhad often publicly speaks about his family’s journey.
The Al Zhouri family have also seen much success in Canada. Rabiaa runs a sewing shop in town and was featured in a United Nations video and son Majd who is heavily involved with Theatre Antigonish received his acceptance into the Engineering program at StFX.
Although there has been success, members of the refugee community often face hardship in their new country and the recent events in Quebec City and elsewhere has raised further concern.
To address said events, StFX for SAFE issued the following statement to the Xaverian Weekly:
“StFX for SAFE would like to express our deepest sympathies to those families and all communities across Canada affected by the Quebec City shooting. There is no room for hate and intolerance, but there is room for more Canadians in this great country and in our great community of Antigonish.”
Currently, StFX for SAFE has no other campaigns in the works as ‘Pause for the Cause’ is the main point of focus.