One of our main tenets at the JICC is to encourage and foster effective activism, empowering residents to improve their everyday lives. From MiniActive to the Emergency Readiness Networks, to the Railway Park, residents are affecting their immediate public sphere, one issue at a time.
Since last summer, one of our main avenues of activity has been fighting racism and xenophobia in the public sphere, and fostering cadres of activists to lend their passion and intensity to the effort. We hold deep respect for these activists, who are constantly thinking of new and creative ways to promote tolerance in Jerusalem. And in the most activist of ways, they are working toward turning these ideas into reality, and creating hope for all of us for the future of Jerusalem.
In order to give these activists a helping hand, three months ago, we held the first of a series of Open Space Technology meetings. At that meeting, nine initiatives were presented, several of which continue to be developed today, from engaging leaders to public campaigns to speaking with the ‘other’ in Zion Square.
As we mentor these initiatives, we know that it is also critically important to keep opening up pathways for new initiatives as well. For this reason we held a second meeting for activists, using the Open Space Technology, on Monday, March 2, 2015, also at the Jerusalem International YMCA.
This meeting was considerably smaller than the last (50 instead of 100 participants), but it was much more mature and effective and we were equally excited by the outcomes. A total of 6 initiatives were presented. They included a Facebook page aimed at summarizing news from East Jerusalem in the eyes of Palestinian residents, a new ‘debate’ format for “Speaking in the Square,” initiatives to expand the cadres of activists and different ways to instill messages of tolerance in the public sphere.
This time, in addition to offering assistance in developing the strategic steps of the initiatives, we are also helping the different initiatives to “get the word out.” Together with the Jerusalem Foundation, we’re partnering with the Gug design agency, who were on hand at the meeting, who have begun to lend their expertise in public relations, public campaigning, and more. We’ll also be consulting the initiatives in other ways, as well, as needed. Definitely, this activist energy is going to grow and impact the city, and we will do everyhting to help it happen!