At our first AFREJ meeting of the year, one thing was clear, we are putting our learning into action. And we are doing this with dedicated partners, prioritizing organizations led by people of color. In the year ahead, AFREJ plans to continue to deepen our partnerships and ensure our projects align with them.
Under the capable leadership of Lynne Layton and Naomi Scheman [and Co-chair emeritus Nakhie Faynshteyn], the group is involved in several collaborative projects which have specific opportunities for anyone to step into based on your interests and capacity. These include:
- Boston Ujima Project, a solidarity economy initiative that builds strength in the community through investment, economic empowerment, supporting cultural expression, skill- and information- sharing etc. BWC actively participates as an anchor institution and member of the Ujima Faith Network. We encourage BWC members to join, to support Ujima businesses, and to attend their educational programs.
- Reparations Interfaith Coalition, which currently is working towards a statewide event on December 3, Call to Repair: Justice, Healing, and Reparations in MA, as well as other reparations initiatives. Our reparations work focuses on the Boston neighborhoods where Jewish communities had formerly flourished.
- Building Up People Not Prisons, a coalition which opposes incarceration of girls and women. Currently we are advocating for a moratorium on building prisons and opposing a proposed new women’s prison in MA.
- Greater Boston Interfaith Organization’s (GBIO) BWC is a member of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) which is currently leading a housing justice campaign that is working towards expanding public housing and home ownership as well as access to housing for undocumented immigrants and formerly incarcerated people.
- As well, with the coming election, we will continue to support electoral justice and democracy efforts.
For the second part of our meeting, we invited Andrew Steinberg from Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA], which organizes, advocates and lobbies for progressive social and economic policy in MA and nationally. Andrew walked us through important state legislation that will increase criminal and economic justice, meet peoples’ needs for food, housing and healthcare, protect the environment, combat climate change, and build a stronger, more equitable Commonwealth. These proposals align with BWC’s priorities, and partnership with JALSA can help us provide strategic support.
In today’s poisonous political and social atmosphere, too often on the defensive holding the line on grave threats to our nation and world, it is energizing to work in concert with diverse partners and coalitions to achieve meaningful change that builds a better society, a besere velt.