The City of Montgomery, like most American communities, is growing and diversifying. Presently, Sycamore Community Schools has a student population representing 54 nationalities and 41 spoken languages, making it one of the most culturally diverse systems in the State. Approximately 10 percent of Montgomery residents are cultural minorities. City Council and administration believe the infusion of various cultures, faiths, and customs enriches social and civic life and is a positive development for the community.
Alexandra (Sasha) Naiman lives in Montgomery with her husband and daughter. Growing up nearby, she attended Sycamore Community Schools from first to twelfth grade. Sasha is currently an attorney and Deputy Director for the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, a nonprofit law firm whose mission is to create fair, intelligent, redemptive criminal justice systems. In this position, she helps people with criminal records, including survivors of sex trafficking, to remove barriers to employment and community integration.
1. Why is it important to you to participate in the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee?
I am on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee because I am proud that Montgomery strives to welcome diverse people — residents, visitors, and workers. I want to ensure fair, equitable treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement in our flourishing city.
For me, this work is personal. I was born under an anti-Semitic Soviet regime in Ukraine, which systematically prevented Jewish people, like my family, from fairly accessing good employment, education, housing, and more. My parents saw few chances for safety, prosperity, or advancement if we stayed. Despite challenges, we immigrated to Cincinnati when I was young. My parent’s dedication to building “the American dream” inspired me from my earliest memories. Their struggle and perseverance illustrated for me the importance of hard work, good education, suitable employment, good housing, and fair government — which was genuinely life-changing to experience in America. I grew in gratitude to my parents, as well as to the communities, organizations, and individuals who opened doors for us. I became dedicated to removing barriers for others through my career at OJPC and my other community involvement. I am excited to be part of diversity and inclusion work where I live, by participating in the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
2. Why are Diversity and Inclusion important to the community?
I believe that diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences can make Montgomery stronger. Goals for community improvement, prosperity, safety, and health are best achieved when we value different voices and think critically about being inclusive. At the same time, we must appreciate the many similarities that unite us. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee promotes and accomplishes these things so that our community can be intentional and thoughtful about empowering all people. By creating and supporting this Committee, the City signals its values and direction. Whether looking into local government’s policies or educating our neighbors, this Committee is another reason I love being a Montgomery resident.