Troubled by rising conflict and xenophobia, a network of Jewish women from Ukraine is saying “Not In Our Town” to intolerance.
Community activists from Project Kesher, a Jewish women’s organization, gathered in Kiev last month to share stories and talk about the impact of an ongoing Not In Our Town initiative in their communities and in the region.
Project Kesher’s year-old Not In Our Town program includes leadership training, workshops, exhibitions, posters, educational programs and special creative events to educate the younger generations about tolerance.
The program began in May of 2007 at a summit attended by Project Kesher community leaders from the United States and throughout the former Soviet Union. A film crew from The Working Group was in attendance to document the kickoff of Not In Our Town Ukraine.
Elena Kalnitzkaya, the Project Kesher director in Ukraine, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that so far the group has worked with the All-Ukrainian Interethnic Women’s Confederation, which includes women of varying ethnic and religious groups, on a project to unite the activities of nongovernmental organizations and state bodies to counteract xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Nazism and hate violence with women of different ethnic groups and faiths.
Eleven cities and towns from throughout Ukraine participated in the project, supported by the Democracy Grants Program of the United States Embassy in Ukraine. The women expressed their hope to continue to develop the project in 2009.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “Activists gather in Kiev for interethnic tolerance”