Detroit Jewish News: Talia on Water Justice

The Detroit Jews News published an op ed from DJJ leader Talia Schechet this week, a reflection on Rosh Hashanah and Michigan's water crisis. In urging the Jewish community to take action, Talia suggests attending DJJ's October 23rd panel and forum on the issue. In an excerpt, Talia writes:

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Essie on "Practicing Resistance: Jewish Solidarity in Action & Community"

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In the second weekend of September, we hosted a series of events with Dove Kent, former director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York, and Koach Baruch Frazier, a spiritual leader and activist based in St. Louis and Ferguson. Here, Essie shares about her experience in a workshop Dove and Koach facilitated for DJJ leaders.

On September 10, Detroit Jews for Justice hosted a racial justice training called “Practicing Resistance: Jewish Solidarity in Action and Community.” I attended the training hoping to gain some concrete skills related to racial justice and Jewish solidarity. Our incredibly dynamic facilitators, Dove Kent and Koach Baruch Frazier, made sure DJJ leaders left the session not only with such skills but also with a deep-seated sense of understanding, responsibility, and connection to the work.

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Raising Our Voices Against Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures

DJJ'niks turned out for actions this week to raise our voices against mass foreclosures in Detroit and unconstitutional tax assessments. On Thursday, we joined The Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures and Moratorium NOW in protest outside Wayne County Treasurer's Eric Sabree's home, and on Tuesday, at his office downtown.

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The Poor People's Campaign Mass Meeting: R. Alana's Remarks

Watch the whole thing! But if you want to make sure to hear R. Alana speak, skip to 1:07.

 

"When the poor people’s campaign came to Washington DC in 1968, 49 years ago, they approached a Jewish Community Center in downtown asking that the building’s showers be made available. The community center rejected the request -- and the story could have ended there. But a group of young rabble-rousers known as Jews for Urban Justice threatened a “pray in”, and the building was opened to the public. This victory meant the campaign gained some structural support -- a tiny step. But it means more to me. To me it means that ancient tradition can be harnessed by activist youth to push their community to participate most important movement work their time.

 

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Hayley on Why You Should Fight for 15 on Labor Day!

A D15 organizer said it best when he said "Labor Day isn't actually about BBQs; it's about workers...although they go well together."

The workers that we honor on Labor Day are struggling. They're struggling to pay their family's bills on a minimum wage paycheck, while corporate executives make billions. They're struggling to build marketable skills at a low wage job that only prepares you for other low wage jobs. And they're struggling to fight for worker rights when they don't have a union to represent their needs. 

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JFREJ Spotlights the Alpert Family

Last week, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York City lifted up the Alpert Family in their weekly Member Spotlight as a part of their current membership campaign. Alana and Sarra write about their finding a political home in JFREJ, building a Jewish justice movement in New York, Detroit, and elsewhere. 

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Summer Update

Last night, an intergenerational crowd gathered for our monthly meeting. Though the agenda had been planned well in advance, we made space to address this weekend’s events in Charlottesville. Leaders had the option to dig into our evolving engagement in the local struggle for water justice or participate in a sharing circle, both of which, we believe, are in service of dismantling white supremacy. Folks listened to each other share grief, fear, numbness, and rage and wrote hopes and prayers for our troubled country. One read:

 

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JFREJ Statement on Charlottesville

We were moved by a statement sent out by our friends and mentors at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) in response to the events in Charlottesville this week. We include it in full below and echo their sentiments. Thank you to the folks at JFREJ for all the work you do and for lighting the way for DJJ. We are so proud to host M. Dove Kent, former director of JFREJ, in Detroit September 10th. View details here.

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Eli on how lessons from Detroit showed up on his trip to India

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This summer, I had the opportunity to lead a study abroad trip to India for undergraduate students in the Global Scholars Program at the University of Michigan. Together, we spent five weeks in India doing field research in the slums of Ahmedabad, working with native communities in Dediapada, and learning with students who have physical disabilities at the SKSN school in Rajasthan.

Personally and professionally, my experiences in India constantly asked me to confront social injustices in a new context, for which I often felt unsure or unequipped to tackle, let alone guide students through. However, I quickly realized that while the space may be different, the injustices occurring in India operate through the same dimensions of power that lie at the center of the injustices we work against in Detroit and metro-Detroit.

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Prioritizing Obligations

In 2009, Rabbi Alana wrote an article for My Jewish Learning about this week's parashat, expanding on how the words of Deuteronomy provide a Biblical case study for holistic, non-hierarchical global justice work. Check it out here!  

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