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Get the Trolls Out! #Break(s)TheBias

How do you deal with trolls and hate speech online? Which strategies are helpful to build solidarity networks? Why is it crucial that especially young women with diverse backgrounds continue to speak up? These and other issues related to women’s empowerment and activism on- and offline were discussed in an Instagram live session organised by CMFE and GTTO in collaboration with We Belong on March 8, International Women’s Day.

Embracing the IWD 2022 slogan of #BreaktheBias, Sarra Riahi from ENORB (GTTO partner in Belgium) joined We Belong co-founders Yasmine Ouirhrane and Jana Degrott to celebrate two years of advocating for the New Daughters of Europe.

Sarra, Yasmine and Jana discussed the lived experiences of women of colour across Europe, who continue to disrupt the status quo and lead the way for young women and girls to find the confidence, courage and voice to belong. The discussion provided an opportunity to share learnings from Get the Trolls Out! in countering discrimination and hate speech.

Key take-aways were:

· When you encounter hate online, report it. These comments are illegal.

· Don’t feed the trolls.

· Hate speech is designed to silence women, don’t fall into its trap.

· Reach out to friends, supporters and mentors and build your solidarity network.

· Continue to speak up and “get the keys” to deal with hate, without letting it stop your work.

If you missed the live Instagram session, you can find the recording here and hear more about:

● Navigating hate: the media and the normalisation of prejudice

● The racialisation of religion: securitisation and criminalisation in the EU

● Belonging and othering: women in the European public spheres

● Navigating and belonging: Tools, strategies, and ways forward

We Belong is a platform and safe space for people of colour to share their experiences. Launched in 2020, We Belong has grown to include members across Europe, includes virtual and in-person events, and now features We Belong: The Podcast. Subscribing to the theory that change starts when personal stories are shared, the women behind We Belong are helping legitimize immigrant daughters’ stories and spark new conversations about womanhood, the intersectionality of feminism, and challenging the conventional wisdom of what it means to belong.

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