If you are interested in finding out more about how you can participate please get in contact with Graie Hagans (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In love and solidarity,
Yavilah McCoyTonda CaseRachel FaulknerOraneet Shikmah OreviCourtney Parker WestKai Gardner MishloveShahanna McKinney BaldonDr. Tarece JohnsonBeckee BirgerShoshana BrownRabbi Mira RiveraGraie HagansKoach Baruch Frazier
Read below for the full letter:
As Jewish women of color, we support the unity principles of the Women’s March and believe that this is the time for our communities to affirm together that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.
As Jewish women of color, we value our multi-racial, multi-ethnic, cross-classed, multi-gendered, differently observant, differently abled, and intergenerational community of women as powerful. Our liberation is tied to the liberation of all our sisters and siblings and to our capacity to listen, learn, grow and take action together.
Jews of Color, and Jewish Women of Color in particular, have been organizing and taking action in US social justice movements since the beginning, and are not seen. National conversations and debates that have been sparked between organizers of color and White Jewish institutions have mostly silenced and made invisible the work of Jews of Color who have been putting their bodies and hearts on the line in this work for many years.
Among Jewish women of color, commitment to Black Jewish Women means addressing Anti-Black Racism, in Jewish communities and beyond. Commitment to all Jewish women means not making the voices and leadership of Jewish women of color additive but an integrated and valued part of what Jewish social justice leadership means.
Jewish women of color exist in our own power. We have no need to be re-translated, talked over, fetishized or “signed up for service” by the communities to which we belong. We have and will continue to navigate as leaders within communities that are willing to do the work of embracing the entire breadth of our identities, experiences, commitments and values. It is these commitments and values that link us together across a spectrum of diverse entry points to varying needs for justice. We are impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues and fully embrace that our collective efforts for justice need not be monolithic or prescriptive to be effective.
Jewish Women of Color reject any assertion that there is more anti-Semitism in African-American communities than in others and any belief that African-American leaders, and women specifically, should be singled out for particular attention toward addressing the impacts of the growing presence of anti-Semitism in our world. Of the 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents identified by the Anti-Defamation League in 2017, less than a handful of these incidents were perpetrated by African Americans or other people of color. As White nationalists have historically and presently organized themselves against Jews, we have not experienced communities of color organizing themselves to target our Jewish community.
As Jewish women of color, we are committed to and united with our Jewish family and allies in fighting the growing threat of white supremacist and white nationalist violence in our country AND we are clear that this threat is not coming chiefly from our allies in the social justice movements we navigate. Anti-Semitism within our movement remains a family problem that must be addressed.
Anti-Semitism exists in all communities, as does racism, sexism, homophobia and a host of other oppressions that it must be our goal as a society to eradicate. One role of anti-Semitism has been to scapegoat Jews by centering us as the buffer between those with more privilege and those without. Consequently, in many communities, including in communities of color (that are our families and siblings) “Jews” are often seen as the face of power and a distorted sense of who the Jewish people are and who Jews of Color are has developed to our detriment. As Jewish women of color who live at the intersection of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism, and who are committed to standing against white supremacy, patriarchy and religious oppression in all its forms, we will play an integral role in the healing and unification of our communities and in the work of securing greater justice and freedom for us all.
Jewish women of Color embrace our wisdom, self-expression, loving intentionality, creativity, humor, and essential roles in organizing spaces and in movement leadership. We resist the role of “translators” and invite the depth and breadth of our families and allies to join us in “Beloved Community” where critical thinking, knowledge sharing and popular education live alongside commitments to regular check-ins, restorative justice principles and the practice of healing and accountability. We are committed to learning from our elders and our history of activism. We resist perfectionism as a leadership model and firmly reject disposability as an option. We are not here to throw any of our leaders away.
As members of pan-ethnic, multicultural, multiracial and multi-gendered communities and families across the US and beyond, we believe that all Jewish women, including the privileged segment of our Jewish family who are affluent, heterosexual, cisgendered and White, have an equal stake in ending the gender oppressions that the Women’s March protests. We call into solidarity with us all of our Jewish siblings to commit to ending the sexual harassment and assault, the pay inequities and glass ceilings that too many of us experience in Jewish camps, schools, synagogues and communal institutions. We call into solidarity with us all who are currently vested in ending the violence of women being routinely interrupted while they speak, of having their words and ideas appropriated, of having intrusive comments on their appearance and clothing or unwanted touching visited upon them in Jewish spaces. Although Jews of Color are currently not represented in large numbers across what is now a majority White, male institutional fabric and representation of Jewish leadership, as Jewish women of color, we too stand against these injustices and invite all Jews to get free alongside us.
As is currently stated, the world the Women’s March seeks to build is one “free from anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism and all forms of social violence. It is rooted in a vision of a world where all women- including Black women, Jewish women, lesbian, queer, bi and trans women, Muslim women, poor women, immigrant women, indigenous women and disabled women- are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.” We affirm this vision as iterative. We welcome Jewish women, and all groups who have experienced the pain of not being fully seen and held by our movement work, to actively participate in building liberatory structures and processes that include us and welcome us to ask for and get what we need to be free.
As the Women’s March continues to support policy changes that will mitigate suffering and positively shape our future, we stand with women who are involved in the criminal injustice system. We stand with women who are refugees and immigrants due to wars, who are subjugated by xenophobic laws and economic exploitation. We stand with Indigenous women who refuse to be ignored and lift up #MMIW. We stand for environmental justice, which disproportionately impacts poor women of color. We stand for reproductive justice as well as gender justice.
We stand and will be marching with the Women’s March on January 19, 2019. We hope you will join us!