Report back on racial justice training

(Originally posted Feb. 20, 2020. Formatting edited Nov. 18, 2020)
 
On two recent Sundays, 45 leaders from the BWC community (including board, staff, Shule & Yiddish teachers, and committee chairs) gathered for a 10-hour training on the intersections of racism, anti-semitism and white supremacy called, “Our Liberation is Bound Together.” Led by our peer-organization Kavod, this training was one piece of our work towards building an equitable community that is actively working against racism. 
 
We began by locating ourselves in these systems of oppression, tracing our family timelines to understand how we have been impacted and, for those of us who are white, how we have benefited (like it or not) from legal policies that have given white folks a leg up, time and time again.
 
 
As a community bound together by a commitment to social change, we took an honest look at our shortcomings. We located ourselves, alongside the broader Jewish community, historically and in the current moment as active members in movements for racial justice. At the same time we acknowledged the reality that here at BWC, just as in the larger Jewish community, white Ashkenazi Jewish narratives are often centered, serving to erase or marginalize perspectives of Jews of Color and Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews.
 
In small groups focusing on different realms of our organization from Shule to Arts & Culture to Social Justice to Infrastructure, we created collective visions for racial justice in our community and made commitments to concrete action steps to get us there. 
 
We envision a community where:
 
  • We acknowledge anti-semitism and show up for ourselves.
  • White folks are doing the work of owning their privilege and challenging racism.
  • Jews of Color feel whole, seen, at home; especially our young people.
  • All of our shule students understand Jewish community as multiracial, multicultural and full of traditions.
  • We commit to staying together as we work through conflict.
 
Each of us made specific commitments to bring this work forward, including by sharing it with you, our members. We are committed to working with you to build a community and a culture that is actively challenging racism and anti-semitism while working towards collective liberation and racial justice. Join us by supporting our racial justice work or getting involved!
 
In Solidarity,

Jen Kiok, Executive Director
Rachel Hess, Board Member, Chair Equity & Inclusion Committee
 
Want to plug into this work?

Equity & Inclusion committee: Contact Rachel Hess, rachellanhess@gmail.com
 
Acting for Racial & Economic Justice committee: Contact Nakhie Faynshteyn, nickfayn@yahoo.com
 
Jewish Muslim Solidarity Committee: Contact Laura Derman, laura.derman@gmail.com or Betsy Abrams, betsyabrams@hotmail.com