Shattering stereotypes, with video


November 10th, 2010

Listen Now

Omaha, NE – All Jewish people… many Christians think… and Atheists are… well, you can fill in the blank with the stereotypes that can surface when people talk about different faiths.  An Omaha-based organization has a project underway designed to help shatter those stereotypes.

Project Interfaith, a non-profit organization, is producing a Mosaic video project with interviews from people all over the community, sharing the stories of their different faiths. Beth Katz, founder and executive director of the group, said Omaha has a diverse faith community, but she finds it challenging to provide opportunities for people from different religious backgrounds to interact. That, Katz said, often leads to the development of stereotypes.

“We have a video from a Hindu community member,” she said, “who talked about how people think that she’s polytheistic, that she believes in many Gods.”  “She wanted to have the opportunity to correct that,” she said, “and say that she indeed is monotheistic and believes in one God and that’s a common misperception about Hinduism in our community.”

Since September, Katz said, a team of 40 volunteer interviewers has been traveling around the community capturing stories about various faith groups.  Katz said the project is a powerful way to break down stereotypes and introduce different faith community members to each other.

“The whole point of this is not to try to promote a particular religion or particular belief,” she said. “This is really an opportunity for people to come together online and watch people… and learn a little about the diversity within our community, religiously and spiritually.”

Katz said everyone who identifies with a faith, and those who don’t, are welcome to share their story.  Organizers say they’ll conclude the interview gathering process by February of next year, and they plan to launch the Mosaic video project online in April.

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