2007-2008 Report of Activities of Belarusan Youth Movement of America
Friday, 23 May 2008
For the second year, Belarusan Youth Movement of America (BYMA) continued to unite young Belarusans around the world through a variety of projects. Together with youth organizations Bunt (Revolt), Initiative, Pavetra (Air), Poglyad (Opinion) and The Third Way, "Time to Win" manifesto was signed, which aimed to unite opposition forces in overturning Lukashenka's despotic regime. The struggle strategy includes establishing a dialogue with population of Belarus, forming a united vision of the country's future, with ultimate focus on Belarusan national interests.
Following the blueprints of Time To Win manifesto, members of Belarusan Youth Movements protested against censorship of the internet in Belarus(http://fromlu.net ). More than 40 Belarusan web-sites participated in the first stage of the campaign, protesting against attempts of Belarusan government to monopolize Belarusan internet and censor its content.
Members of BYMA attended a Congress of the new Belarusan EU and USA Diaspora in Tallinn, Estonia and met with representatives of Belarusan democratic forces. Delegates from more than 25 organizations, parties and movements participated in the Congress.
Kalinousky Freedom Medal - annual award for outstanding achievements in freedom fighting for Belarus - was established by "Time to Win" manifesto participants, based on the proposal from our organization. Zmitzer Dashkevich, the leader of the Young Front was the first recipient of the award.
2. Belarusan Museum, www.belmuseum.org , opened its doors in New York. It was created and registered by the members of BYMA movement under the auspices of Board of St. Cyril's of Turau Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Local congregation members and members of the movement actively participated in construction of the museum premises and organization of its exhibitions. By joint efforts, three artists from Belarus were able to come to the USA. In 2007, six exhibitions of famous Belarusian artists were organized, featuring artworks by Mikola Kupava, Uladzimir Novak, Genadz Drazdou, Alexander Grigoriev and others. Two special group exhibitions took place in the museum. Special presentation and exhibition dedicated to 450th anniversary of Lev Sapega introduced a new artwork of Ales Shaternik.
3 Free Internet Hosting Program has celebrated its second birthday this year. The project continued to develop; new domains were issued, web-site development and administration assistance continued to be offered for Belarusan NGOs. Number of participants increased and quality of software and hardware was improved after The Third Way joined program's founders. Many new sites were developed as part of the program, including: Project International Hockey - Belarusan Style, www.hockeyby.org ; site about Kurapaty, www.kurapaty.org ; and site of The Association of the Belarusian Language named after Frantsishak Skaryna, www.tbm.org.by . Currently, more than 100 web-sites enjoy our free services.
4 Number of memebers of Belarusan Youth Movement in America significantly increased during the second year of its activities, aimed to attract new young leaders to Belarus-related activities. DC chapter was founded on September 8, 2007; it began active participation in movement activities and kept up with the initial ardor during the whole year. Massachusetts chapter is planned to be established in the nearest future as well. New friends of the movement took active role in everyday life of the movement and were able to receive immigration assistance. Belarusan Foundation was registered in New York in order to grant the movement a legitimate status.
5 Many protest campaigns were organized in front of the UN Headquarters, aimed to draw attention of international community to acute problems of Belarus. Petition to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was signed, and signatures were collected in Belarus and abroad, in which American Belarusans appealed to Ban Ki-moon (1) to request Belarusan authorities to stop political prosecution of young people in Belarus; (2) to raise the issue of democracy development before the UN Security Council and to attract attention to terrible violations of human rights in Belarus. Members of the movement held a number of presentations, featuring movies Ploshcha (The Square) and Belaruski Supratsiu (Belarusian Resistance).
6 Members of the movement actively participated in renovation and construction of the building of St. Cyril's of Turau Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.
Belarusian Youth Movement of America