Project Mosaic:Promoting Tolerance, Fighting Hate

September 11 changed all of us, but it’s those people who from tragedy emerged with more hope and desire for a better, more peaceful world that are proof that good will always prevail over evil.

Project Mosaic was created in memory of New York Firefighter Lieutenant David J. Fontana, who died while rescuing people from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The organization, based in New York and London, calls itself a “pro-tolerance, anti-hate charity.”

Project Mosaic wants to promote multicultural good citizenship that is inclusive and encourages participation and engagement of people from all religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Using education to help change people’s way of thinking, the project supports integration of immigrants into their new communities while also respecting and cherishing their ancestral lands.

I think this is a great initiative, because it is shown that immigrants who don’t feel fully immersed, welcomed and appreciated in society will turn depressed, angered and rejected, thus furthering the process of radicalization and extremism.

Some of their projects include lecture series, inter-school competitions, a “Global Citizen Programme” school speaking program and school teaching tools. In November 2010, Project Mosaic held a filmmaking competition for youth in the United Kingdom, challenging them to create a short film about the importance of tolerance, diversity & British values in helping to counter prejudice and extremism.

Project Mosaic can be found on YouTube and Facebook. I highly recommend watching their videos to find interviews with interesting individuals and their ideas about how to create more accepting and respectful citizens.

When so many people reduce the conversation to worn out phrases like “us versus them”, “East versus West”, Project Mosaic is taking the high road by acknowledging the differences found in a diverse, pluralistic society and discussing cooperation and interfaith tolerance.

I hope Project Mosaic will become more well-known stateside, because so far it seems to be doing most of its work in England. We could certainly benefit from this kind of multicultural approach to education here too when we are constantly fighting over who or what is American and deserves to be treated like one. If government officials are correct that homegrown terrorism is the newest threat to the United States, then we need homegrown tolerance to fight back against that hatred.

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