New Areas of Exploration
As BJ plans the next steps in our social justice work, we want to balance nimbleness with discipline, be responsive but not reactive. We remain committed to our existing organizing, advocacy, and direct service efforts, and are exploring new initiatives where there is appetite and leadership. Below are our intended areas of exploration:
A primary issue of concern in our community is bigotry in its many forms: anti-semitism, Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, homophobia. To a certain degree, these issues are being addressed in the context of existing hevras and committees. Our broader response includes new efforts to build relationships with local Muslim communities, as well as the following:
- Two bystander intervention trainings held in February and March; we are exploring the possibility of hosting more.
- Distributing multi-language “Hate Has No Home Here” signs to local shops, schools, and offices in response to increasing expressions of hate in our society today. Join the next planning meeting to learn more about this multi-congregation campaign of tolerance and solidarity on Tuesday, May 2 at 6:30PM at the 89th Street Community House. R.S.V.P. to Nora Gaines.
Healthcare and Women’s Issues
Based on the input from the community conversations, we will begin exploring the possibility of long-term action around two concerns: health care and women’s issues. These are both broad concerns, and part of the work of the exploratory groups will be to narrow the focus for action.
We chose these two areas because this concern was raised many times, because there are strong leaders who are ready to drive the work, and because we feel that we have the capacity to take on this exploration without overtaxing our staff and lay leaders.
A final area of common concern raised during the community conversations was the issue of truth in media. We will not be taking on long-term action on this issue, but will explore possible educational programs on the topic.
The healthcare working group will hold its first meeting on Monday, May 8 at 6:30PM at the 89th Street Community House. If you are interested in getting involved, please let us know here (and indicate whether you will be attending the May 8 meeting). For more information, please contact Sylvia Vogelman or Susan Margolis.
The women’s issues exploratory group will begin later this summer or in early fall. If you are interested in learning more, please let us know here.