In the fall of 2019, I went to a Shabbat dinner and a friend pulled me aside to tell me about an opening at Detroit Jews for Justice and encouraged me to apply.
Who knew what a blessing the simple act of showing up for a community gathering had to offer me? DJJniks know.Read more
The MOUNTAINTOP Multi-Year Campaign
Because of the commitment of supporters like you, DJJ has become a force.
Over the last 7 years, DJJ has grown rapidly:
- Developing the leadership of hundreds of folks of all ages
- Building powerful relationships in the local social justice field
- Mobilizing needed capacity in coalition-driven campaigns
- Offering thought leadership and educational services to the Jewish community
- Creating a sense of belonging for progressive Jews
- Deepening identity through the integration of Jewish practice, culture and organizing
- Firmly positioning ourselves as a respected player in the national Jewish justice movement
Check out this clip from the 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards
as founding Executive Director Rabbi Alana Alpert speaks
about the Mountaintop Multi-Year Commitment Campaign:
We’ve grown so much that we are embarking on our first search for a full-time Executive Director. Transitioning from a founding leader is the perfect time for each of us to reaffirm our commitment to the long-term health and sustainability of this precious collective. Please join us in supporting the Mountaintop Multi-year Campaign.
The Mountaintop Multi-year Campaign recognizes the heights that we have gotten to thus far, how important it is to ensure that DJJ is around for the long-haul, and the value of setting up the new Executive Director to hit the ground running.
We invite you to join the campaign with an ambitious multi-year pledge of $1000 or more. Your steadfast commitment and generosity is what will provide the anchor to DJJ in the coming years. Of course, any amount is welcome - and, we invite you to dig deep.
Looking for more inspiration to give?
These folks have already joined the Mountaintop Campaign -- you should, too!
- Rabbi Alana Alpert & Dr. Justin Sledge
- Susannah Goodman & Aaron Mondry
- AJ Aaron
- Syma & Lou Echeandia
- Lori Lutz & Greg Gamalski
- Rabbi Brent Gutmann
- Rabbi Jeffrey Falick & Arthur Liebhaber
- Rabbi Ariana Silverman and Justin Long
- Rabbi Alicia Harris
- Rabbi Ari Witkin & Liz Traison
- Rabbi Matt Zerwekh
- Rabbi Megan Brudney
- Beth Goldstein & Dr. Barry Rosen
- Randie Levin
- Roslyn Schindler
- Barry and Rochelle Rubin
- Rabbi Sheila Weinberg
- Jeff and Len-Len Jenks
- James Schaffer & Ilana Lerman
- Kathleen Straus & Walter Shapero
- Rabbi Blair & Phreddy Nosanwisch
- Andy Levin & Mary Freeman
- Samuel Bagenstos & Margo Schlanger
- Patti Aaron
- Nancy Bernstein and Robert Schoen
- Carolyn Tisdale
- David Hecker & Alice Audie-Figueroa
- Adam Milgrom & Valerie Efros
Susie, Claudia & Douglas Sills
- In Memory of Renee Bradley
Click here to sign up for a call with Rabbi Alana to learn more about joining the Mountaintop Campaign
Announcing the campaign just before Shavuot, we take inspiration from the image of the mountaintop symbolizing this time of looking into the future. Shavuot also represents brit/covenant: commitment to being part of a collective, to moving forward not just as individuals but as part of a people. You can hear more from R. Alana about this pivotal moment in DJJ’s life here.
Thank you for joining us! Your visionary support will ensure DJJ thrives into this exciting next chapter.
Thank YOU! - 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards
Thank you for joining Detroit Jews for Justice for the 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards - virtual gala.
"Sometimes reorganization is a proactive choice, and sometimes it chooses us. The pandemic has brought with it so much learning, and also enormous suffering. And while I know that this work of creating, and overthrowing, and building, and healing happens in the streets, and at the ballot box, and on lobby day, and in our inboxes, and board rooms, and kitchen tables, I know it also happens in our hearts."
Rabbi Alana, Founding Executive Director speaking at the 2021 Myra Wolfgang AwardsRead more
Arts and Culture at the 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards
While we continue to honor the legacy of Myra Wolfgang by celebrating this year's honorees: Julie Hurwitz, Detroit Disability Power and Rudy Simons, we are very excited to feature and amplify the work of our local artists at the virtual gala on Tuesday, May 4th at 7:30pm! Check out our arts and culture program contributors for the 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards . . .Read more
Myra Wolfgang Awards 2021 - Host Committee
Our Host Committee consists of folks near and far who wish to support the 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards. We are deeply grateful to this growing list for their generosity and belief in the long-term value of our work.Read more
2021 Myra Wolfgang Fundraising Auction Preview!
The fundraising auction for the Myra Wolfgang Awards will open online next Monday, April 26th at 8:00am! Make that Google Calendar appointment and secure your bid for some sweet deals! The 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards will be held virtually on Tuesday, May 4th from 7:30pm, and the online auction will close at the evening's end at 8:30pm.Read more
Thank You! See you at the Myra Wolfgang Awards on Tuesday, May 4th!
Thank you for RSVPing to attend the 2021 Myra Wolfgang Awards! Join your DJJ community on Tuesday, May 4th (a.k.a. Star Wars Day!), a virtual gala to celebrate the community we’ve built together!'
A link to attend the virtual event will be emailed one hour before the event's start. The event will have a live ASL interpreter. If you or your guests require other accessibility accommodations, please email Blythe at [email protected] or call (248) 961-2549.
[Image: DJJ Leader Ne'ilah Alpert in a one of a kind Baby Yoda Purim costume by Raya Samet]
Organizing is slow and steady work. Events like the Myra Wolfgang Awards are bright moments within our hard working DJJ community for joy, connection and pride. The Myra Wolfgang Planning Committee is excited to invite you to this virtual gala where together we can celebrate and honor our amazing partners in organizing towards racial and economic justice in Detroit.
We are proud to announce the 2021 Myra Wolfgang Honorees:
- Julie Hurwitz, Civil Rights Attorney
- Rudy (Ruthven) Simons, Peace and Human Rights Activist
- Detroit Disability Power, Disability Rights Organization
The evening will include a cultural program with contributions from Detroit artists, including:
- visual art by Olivia Guterson
- a musical performance by pianist Ian Fink
- a poetry reading by the TETRA Art Collective
The event will be hosted by Zak Rosen, creator of famed podcast the Best Advice Show.
Our fundraising online auction is NOW OPEN and will close at the end of our virtual event on Tuesday, May 4th. Get your bid in for some truly amazing deals and steals from our generous community!
With warm regards and . . . onward!
Your 2021 MWA Planning Committee
Roslyn Abt Schindler, Host Committee Co-Chair
Lora Frankel, Host Committee Co-Chair
Jane Miller, Host Committee Co-Chair
Syma Echeandia, Auction Committee Co-Chair
Emiko Hayashi, Auction Committee Co-Chair
Miriam Chesterman, DJJ Intern and Auction Committee Co-Chair
Blythe Kim, DJJ Organizer for Culture and Resources
Support the Burney Family After Illegal Eviction
As a member of DJJ I was able to attend a rally and march on Saturday Jan. 16th sponsored by Detroit Will Breathe and Detroit Eviction Defense. The protest was in support of Whitney Burney, a northwest Detroit woman and her children who were wrongfully evicted from their home on December 19, 2020 with the assistance of four officers from the Detroit Police Department. The landlord contacted the police who claimed Ms. Burney was squatting in his property. These accusations were false and police did not look at evidence Ms. Burney tried to present and put many of the families belongings on the street and would not allow entrance into the house to retreat Christmas presents, personal belongings including the children’s laptops for school. She and her children had to go to a homeless shelter.Read more
Leader's Email - Community Page
From Kendra: Reading the Torah Towards Liberation
Fall 2021 Issue, Geez Magazine
Alexa Eisenberg, DJJ Housing Justice Liason is quoted in Is housing an environmental justice issue? In Detroit, yes.
From Susannah: Sign up for the Detroit Documenter's newsletter!
Want to stay informed on the inner workings of our local government? The Detroit Documenters program trains and pays citizens to attend under-reported public meetings and publish the results. Sign up for the Documenter's newsletter here!
From Suz: Exiled to Motown is showing at the Detroit Historical Museum
From Em: Get involved with Wobbly Kitchen
From Barry, a training video from the KJL a "Guide to Citizen Lobbying"
Tune in for a brief overview on how to prepare for a lobby day.
From Hayley: Join Urban Adamah's Chloe Zelkha every Friday in March & April for virtual Avodat Lev! & the Covid Grief Network
Avodat Lev (Service of the Heart) is a contemplative, creative service designed to help us connect to ourselves, each other, and to that which connects us all. Register here. The Covid Grief Network offers one-on-one grief support sessions for young adults, and support groups.
From Barry: Fight against Nestlé taking our Water for private profit!
Yesterday, news broke that Nestlé had finalized a sale of its enormous bottled water portfolio to two American private equity firms in a deal worth $4 billion. If you thought Nestlé was a bad actor, wait until these private equity profiteers get hold of all that water! Join our friends from the Story of Stuff Project in demanding that Nestlé cannot be allowed to walk away from the consequences it has imposed on communities and the environment around the world! Therefore, we're asking you to send a letter to the House Oversight committee using this link!
From the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable: Join Keshet's LGBTQ & Ally Jewish Youth of Color Collective
Keshet's LGBTQ & Ally Jewish Youth of Color Collective has officially launched and we're excited to share this opportunity for (and by!) queer and trans (and ally) Jewish Youth of Color to get support, connect, and build community. If you know LGBTQ or Ally JYOC (age 13-18) who might like to join, please share the sign up link: bit.ly/LGBTQ_JYOC
From Congregation T'chiyah: Learn about Jewish racial justice!
Our friends at the Center for Jewish Ethics are hosting a lecture series called "Jews, Race, and Religion" that started on January 28th. Leading scholars in Jewish studies, critical race studies and religious studies use the prism of Jewish experience to examine intersections of race and religion, drawing lessons from the history of antisemitism, examining the role of Jews in the racialized culture of the United States and exploring the impact of race on Jewish identity. Register for upcoming sessions here!
From Kendra: Partake in the Jews of Color Initiative!
If you are a #JewofColor, be sure to participate in the #CountMeIn study below! The Jews of Color Initiative commissioned a multi-racial research team at Stanford University for this major project to understand the lived experiences and perspectives of #JoCs across the country. Its goal is for 1,000 of us to fill out the survey and share how we think about #JewishIdentity, how we’ve experienced systemic racism, how we want the #JewishCommunity to better reflect all kinds of people, and more! Go to JoCsurvey.org to participate!
From Anne: Check out the VOICES Podcast from the Ruth Ellis Center
The staff of Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit work tirelessly every day to ensure its organization's vision: a world where LGBTQ+ young people are safe and supported no matter where they go. These are their stories and the stories of those whom we support. New episodes are released every other week.
From Planet Detroit, can an income based water affordability plan solve Detroit's water shutoff problem?
Click here to read more about an income-based water affordability plan's viability in Detroit!
From Rabbi Polsky and the Freedom Team, Tell ICE to stop serving pork to detained Muslims
ICE is violating the religious freedom of detained Muslims. And they don't care. Since COVID-19, the ICE-run Krome Service Processing Center in Miami, FL has been serving pork to Muslim detainees in violation of their religious beliefs. Because the facility’s halal meals have been spoiled and expired, Krome’s Muslim detainees must choose between their faith and their food. When a detainee asked for help, the facility’s chaplain callously said, “It is what it is.” Muslim Advocates, Americans for Immigrant Justice, and the law firm King & Spalding LLP have sent a letter to ICE and DHS demanding that the agencies immediately stop forcing Muslim detainees to choose between eating pork or rotten halal meat. Tell ICE: Hold all ICE officials accountable and ensure that Muslims at all ICE facilities have access to unexpired halal meals. Sponsoring Organizations Muslim Advocates Americans for Immigrant Justice
Leader's Email - Take Action with DJJ
Take Action with DJJ
Help People's Water Board Coalition conduct research on Metro Detroit Water bills
If you or someone you know lives in Oakland or Macomb County and has experienced difficulty paying water bills, you can help People’s Water Board Coalition conduct some much needed research! Bonus: the task force doing this project is brimming with beloved DJJniks! Please sign up if you’re eligible, and share with your friends and communities that might be able to help. Sign up here!
Send a letter to Michigan State officials urging them to protect our teachers, staff and students with disabilities
Send a letter to your state officials urging them to protect our teachers, staff and students with disabilities by: Mandating the use of masks, mandating social distancing, and requiring all teachers and staff to be vaccinated or regularly tested for Covid-19. Follow the link here to do so!
Join Rep. Tlaib, Senator Sanders and Rep. Levin in the push for infrastructure improvements and environmental justice in Metro Detroit
Rep. Tlaib, Senator Sanders and Rep. Levin are among those in support of the Build Back Better campaign, which is aimed at making transformative investments in the lives and futures of residents in Michigan's 13th Congressional District. Read more about it here!
Additionally, sign this petition from Detroit Disability Power and tell your US Congressperson/Senator why we need the Build Back Better Plan!
Sign up to volunteer with Voices for Earth Justice at the Hope House & Garden
Connect with the earth and make new friends while volunteering at the Hope House & Garden - which is a block east of Lahser and Puritan (5 Mile) in Detroit. Sign up here!
Senators Stabenow & Peters - Flooded Detroit Needs Climate Investments NOW
Detroit and its surrounding areas were devastated by the hours of rain and flooding this past week. We are calling on Senators Stabenow & Peters to bring home, to our front steps, the community investments we need to fix this problem long-term -- AND to tax the fossil fuel companies responsible for creating this crisis. Sign this petition to demand deep climate investments NOW.
Saginaw Residents Ask for Help to Keep Water ON.
The City of Saginaw is currently conducting a water shutoff program to deny hundreds of residents their right to clean water. In addition, they are planning on issuing municipal civil infractions to residents who can't afford to turn their water back on in 48 hours, piling on fees to our poorest residents.
This is NEGLIGENT during a pandemic when fewer than 50% of Saginaw residents are vaccinated. This is UNNECESSARY when there are billions in federal relief funds currently on the way. Please help Saginaw residents by emailing our officials to tell them:
NO SHUTOFFS, NO FEES, NO INFRACTIONS, NO LIENS.
Gathering at Saginaw City Hall on Thursday, July 8th at 1pm.
Demonstrating until all four demands are met in totality:
- Saginaw residents demand an immediate cease of all water shutoffs in the City of Saginaw, free reconnection for all disconnected residents, and the implementation of an indefinite water shutoff moratorium.
- Saginaw residents demand a cessation of all plans and intentions to issue municipal civil violations, or fees of any kind, to Saginaw residents in relation to their water utility status.
- Saginaw residents demand a cessation of all plans and intentions to use tax liens as a means to remove Saginaw residents in relation to their water utility status.
- Saginaw residents demand that the City Council investigate the repeated efforts of city staff to deny due process in regards to water shutoff, evictions, municipal civil infractions, etc.
Questions? Email Barry DJJ's water justice liaison.
Become an Official Legal Observer with the NLG!
The National Lawyers Guild needs you! Sign up for a training FRIDAY at NOON to become an official legal observer at actions and marches this season. Learn more here, and sign up for trainings here!
Help People's Water Board Make Calls
People's Water Board needs callers to assist with checking in with suburban cities to see who is going to shut off water before American Rescue Plan money arrives.
Call Cass Charrette at (248) 980-1191 to get an assignment!
Join Cosecha Detroit for an Informational Meeting on Drivers Licenses for All
On Sunday, June 6th 2-4pm, join Cosecha Detroit and DJJ immigration justice members for an informational meeting on the fight for drivers licenses. Email Bobbi Spiegler at [email protected] or visit Cosecha Detroit's Facebook page for more information!
Support Environmental Justice and Health in Michigan's Energy Future
Everyone deserves to live in warm homes and breathe air free from pollution. DTE Energy consistently puts profits over people, fighting the transition from coal and fracked gas to healthy, affordable wind and solar energy. Submit a public comment to support environmental justice and health in Michigan's energy future!
Video: 5 Things You Need To Know About the Enbridge Line 5 Shutdown
Five months ago, Gov. Whitmer gave Enbridge a deadline to stop pumping gallons of oil into the Great Lakes. Watch this video from Oil and Water Don't Mix where you can learn more about the Enbridge Line 5 Shutdown.
Support Michigan Black Mama's Bailout
We know that far too many Black womxn, mothers and caregivers are in cages in Michigan simply because they can’t afford bail. Join our partners at Michigan Liberation in the effort to raise funds to bail them out so they can be reunited with their families. Will you support the movement? Click this link to make a donation to the 2021 MI BLACK MAMA’S BAIL OUT.
Take a stance and support voting rights in Michigan
Republicans in the state legislature are trying to roll back voting rights instead of expanding them. Take action NOW to tell the Elections Committee to protect our voting rights!
Sign the petition to demand that Governor Whitmer investigate the over assessments in Detroit
Demand an investigation and to devise solutions to ensure it ends, and provide compensation to affected homeowners.
SIGN YOUR NAME
Encourage the Biden-Harris administration to make gender-markers on IDs more inclusive and remove barriers to changing gender markers.
Trans and non-binary people belong, and everyone should have federal IDs that accurately reflect who they are. That is why we just joined the ACLU in urging the Biden-Harris administration to issue an executive order improving the access to accurate gender markers on federal IDs and records. Sign the petition here!
TAKE A STANCE
We stand with our partners at Detroit Action in calling for Mike Shirkey's resignation in the wake of the capitol attack, his open racism, sexism and spread of disinformation. Call his office at 517-373-5932!
What can we learn from the catastrophic system failure in Texas?
Watching millions of Texans lose power in frigid temperatures, while CEOs cheer at high prices, has brought energy justice to the forefront nationwide. What does the Texas grid failure mean for us, for our communities in Michigan? Join DJJ's beloved Jackson Koeppel on FB Live or Zoom TODAY From 12-12:30 PM to learn more.
SIGN YOUR NAME
Take action NOW in order to protect some of our most vulnerable community members - farmworkers and undocumented immigrants.
Tonight, our US senators are both proposing and voting on bills - and GOP Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is going to introduce Amendment #211 to freeze farmworkers pay. He want to freeze the wages of workers that are putting food on your table during a global pandemic. At We Make Michigan, we also know that what this means for our people: that low wage, predominantly BIPOC farmworkers are once again being scapegoated in order to divide us and line the pockets of those at the top. We refuse to play their game.
Shamefully, Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters already both voted tonight to pass an anti-immigrant bill blocking undocumented community members from receiving stimulus checks tonight. It's more important than ever that we contact them in mass numbers to protect ALL Michiganders. They cannot claim to support essential workers then cut out the most vulnerable residents - mostly low-wage and predominantly BIPOC essential workers - that have been told to keep working the fields and packing plants to feed us. Join us in fighting for a Michigan that leaves NO ONE behind!
1. Send a quick, automated email to our MI senators and their staff.
2. Call Senator Peters at 313-226-6020 (Detroit) | (202) 224-4822(DC), and Senator Stabenow at 517-203-1760 (Lansing) | 202-224-6221 (DC).
3. Tweet @SenPeters and @SenStabenow to urge them to vote NO on #211. Amplify @WethePeople_MI's tweet thread here.
This is something we need to act fast on - but we also act together, knowing that in our Michigan, we take care of all of us, regardless of immigration status, regardless of where we come from, regardless of where we live. We got us, we will fight for ourselves and each other, and we will win.
DMF Drive SAFE Petition:
Pledge to support the Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom and the Economy) legislation and ensure a pathway to licenses for undocumented Michiganders.
Act Today to Protect Water Access
- Who to contact -- click here to find a list of Republican senators, their contact info, AND the number of households in their individual respective districts who are at risk of water insecurity.
- What to say -- click here to find a sample email that you may use to email or call Republican senators (Democrats already support the legislation).
The Michigan EGLE ruled, allowing Nestle to pump 400gpm of water from central Michigan to bottle & sell for $200/yr. Read MCWC's response here.
Tell Gov. Whitmer, STOP Illegally Inflated Property Taxes in Detroit
It's not just COVID and police brutality exposing racism in America. Black homeowners in Detroit are being overtaxed on top of these other injustices.
Sign this petition to End Facial Recognition in Detroit
As Black and Brown communities all across this nation have mobilized to challenge police brutality and systemic racism, the issue of over-policing and hyper-surveillance of our communities has come to the surface. In Detroit, facial recognition is the latest incursion into our communities.
Community activists and researchers have been pointing out the dangers of this technology for years, particularly the inaccuracy of facial recognition when it comes to people of color. Their warning was confirmed this year by the experiences of Robert Williams and Michael Oliver, two Black men who were misidentified by the facial recognition software and wrongfully arrested by DPD.
Detroit, one of the poorest, Blackest major cities in the country, spends millions of dollars on COINTELPRO-like policing that doesn’t even solve crimes. Chief Craig himself admits that the facial recognition technology is wrong “96% of the time”!
We, the undersigned, demand an end to facial recognition surveillance in Detroit. Instead of investing in programs that make our young people unnecessary targets and do nothing to make our lives better or safer, the City needs to get rid of facial recognition and put that money towards housing, community centers, jobs, and other resources Detroiters desperately need!
Sign this petition to condemn DPD's use of excessive force on peaceful protesters:
Tell the Democratic Party: There is always time to do the right thing
The Movement for Black Lives is making a national call to hold the Democratic Party accountable to the demands of Black-led movements.
There is still time to do the right thing. Movement for Black Lives are inviting the DNC to stand on the right side of history with the largest social movement our nation has ever seen.
3 simple demands:
1. Include the BREATHE Act in the DNC Party Platform.
2. Endorse the BREATHE ACT today.
3. Show that Black Lives Matter not just in words, but in action.
ADD YOUR NAME »
Send some emails to support a nationwide moratorium on utility shutoffs
There is a final push to get a nationwide moratorium on utility shutoffs passed and with it, there is a real shot at protecting people’s basic services during this crisis. Sen. Schumer has a video endorsing a national moratorium here, and Rep. Tlaib has shared it here.
Senator Merkley’s bills to prohibit power and water shutoffs (S.4362, which is the Senate version Reps. Tlaib and Dingell’s Emergency Water Is a Human Right Act) and prohibit broadband shutoffs (S. 3695) have legs in Congress right now, but we need your help to get across the finish line.
Michigan Reps. Tlaib and Dingell led the charge to get a national shutoff moratorium passed through the House, but our Senators, Sens. Stabenow and Peters, have not yet cosponsored Sen. Merkley’s bill.
Please send an email to the Senators to ask them to cosponsor Sen. Merkley’s legislation to stop utility shutoffs? Here is a sample letter.
- Emails go to:
- Emily Carwell, Legislative Director for Sen. Stabenow - [email protected]
- Zephranie Buetow, Legislative Director for Sen. Peters - [email protected].
Sign on to the Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act
COVID-19 is ravaging jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers due to overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and a lack of adequate healthcare.
Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Barbara Lee have introduced the Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act, which would condition federal funding on whether states release eligible incarcerated people, including those who are:
- Awaiting trial and have not been convicted of a crime (likely just can’t afford bail)
- In ICE detention
- Pregnant or primary caregivers
- Terminally ill, medically vulnerable to COVID-19 (including ages 55+), or have a disability
- Nearing the end of their sentences
- Serving misdemeanor sentences or possession/sale of a controlled substance
- Incarcerated due to technical violation of parole/probation or a bench warrant for arrest (often due to a missed court appearance)
- Status offenders (young people charged with an offense that would not be a crime if committed by an adult)
The pandemic should not be a death sentence for incarcerated people. Add your name today to become a grassroots co-signer of the Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act to save lives by releasing people immediately for up to a year after the pandemic ends. Follow this link to learn more and sign in support.
DO YOU SEE SOMETHING MISSING? Email Miriam at [email protected]
Leader's Email - Organize with DJJ
Organize with DJJ
Leader's Email - Events
What's happening this week? (10/8/2021-10/15/2021)
Detroit Disability Power Community Conversation Series
Thriving Team Meeting
SURJ Combating Antisemitism Webinar
Freedom Team Meeting
Detroit Disability Power Community Conversation Series
Click here for more info on events
DO YOU SEE SOMETHING MISSING? Email Miriam at [email protected]
How We Organize
Detroit Jews for Justice has two, multi-issue organizing teams led by volunteers, known as DJJ Leaders.
The thriving teams focuses on issues relating to economic justice, such as LGBTQ+ rights, worker rights, education, water rights, environmental justice, disability justice and housing.
The freedom team focuses on issues that alter the power structure and challenge institutionalized systems of oppression, such as police accountability, immigration rights, prison abolition, and combatting white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, and antisemitism.
How did we get here?
Back in early 2019, Detroit Jews for Justice embarked on a journey to rethink how we organize and started with the goal of developing a dynamic, agile, multi-issue campaign structure and process with multiple clear entry points that seeks to better empower leaders who will show up as respectful and productive partners in coalition.
After interviewing more than 40 DJJ Leaders, creating a new staff position, consulting our sister organizations JCA, JUFJ and JFREJ, collecting feedback from listening parties, aggregation of data and going through waves of iterations, reviews and feedbacks, we finally revealed the new campaign structure in July 2020, including two teams: the Thriving Team and the Freedom Team.
How does the new organizing structure with the Thriving Team and the Freedom Team fit within the current DJJ structure?
- Board of Trustees - The Board of Trustees helps create and develop the financial and procedural structure of the organization, support mission-alignment, and
- C.A.T. (Campaign Advisory Team) - The Campaign Advisory Team researches the organizing political ecosystem of Detroit and vets campaigns and partnerships for values alignment.
- Thriving Team - The thriving team directs the strategy and campaign work for all issues relating to economic justice.
- Freedom Team - The freedom team directs the strategy and campaigns for issues relating to anti-oppression work.
Cultural Organizing - We build power through cultural experiences and resource cultivation for the longevity of the organization. We do this via:
Cultural events, such as our annual Purim Extravaganza, Hanukkah party, and the Myra Wolfgang Awards
Social gatherings, such as the annual DJJ leader's picnic
How does DJJ decide what issues to work with?
A DJJ leader or community member brings a campaign suggestion to the Campaign Advisory Team (CAT). CAT then discusses the relevant points and players, then votes on whether or not to join the campaign. The campaign is then given over to the Thriving Team or the Freedom Team to create a strategy and plan of engagement.
Tikkun Olam Means Black Lives Matter
Since our inception, DJJ has worked to be a committed partner to the Black Lives Matter movement. Our very first action as an organization was a Hanukkah vigil after the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO.
(December 2014 DJJ’s first action at Campus Martius)
Due to long-term organizing locally and nationally and the consecutive killings of Breonna Taylor (Kentucky), Ahmaud Arbery (Georgia) and George Floyd (Minnesota) we find ourselves in another such movement moment -- a moment ripe with possibility and rife with challenging questions.
As our sister organization in the Twin Cities, Jewish Community Action, recently wrote:
“What does it look like to "show up" in this moment? How do we respond to such violence? And how do we do it in the midst of a pandemic that’s disproportionately infecting and killing people of color? A virus that itself embodies the same racism and systemic injustice that killed George Floyd?”
We can start by following the lead of The Movement For Black Lives in fighting alongside those turning up in the streets and online.
We’ll do our best to offer our network opportunities and resources for meaningful and strategic action, education and solidarity.
Gathering Our People
This Saturday evening at 8pm, join the DJJ community for ritual, processing, learning and a call to action.
- Volunteer for Protest Support - (Jail Support, Legal Observing, and Remote Opportunities)
- Offer legal representation for protestors.
- Donate to sustain local work for racial justice: Detroit Justice Center, Michigan Liberation, Black Youth Project 100 Detroit
- Display a BLM sign on your lawn and distribute to friends & neighbors. You can purchase one here or here.
- Encourage your congregation to display a large “Black Lives Matter” banner on their property. We understand this can be a difficult conversation - if they are willing to consider it, DJJ is available to provide learning resources and practical support.
**DJJ is committed to supporting community members who are choosing to march. Be in touch with Allie if you are seeking legal, safety or spiritual resources. Please be safe. We encourage you to practice social distancing guidelines and wear a mask. It can be powerful to show multiracial solidarity, and it is essential to not spread sickness to communities that are already grieving.**
Follow this link for learning resources. We will highlight a few here:
- “Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge.”
- Believe us’: Black Jews Respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words”
- Ibram X. Kendi’s anti racist reading list
- JFREJ’s Shavuot for Black Lives study guide
Strategizing for the Long Haul
In the past year, we have spent countless hours developing a new campaign structure that will allow us to organize with more agility and effectiveness. On Tuesday, July 21st we will launch a new team dedicated to mobilizing the Jewish community for racial justice. Save the date and stay tuned for more details.
DJJ is doubling-down on our commitment to the work of racial justice. We are proud to announce an ambitious new program, working closely with synagogues to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. We are honored by an (almost official!) generous commitment from the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative for this work. The grant will also support us to amplify the voices of Jews of Color, who have been telling us unequivocally that we in the Jewish community must show up for Black Jews and for all Black people targeted by state violence. We will announce our new hire soon, and in the meantime you can email Allie to express interest in learning more and invest in our capacity to do this work.
Please join us in raising our collective Jewish voice in support of Black lives.
(R. Alana speaking in Ferguson, MO 2014)
Rabbi Alana Alpert
Purim Extravaganza 2020 Recap!!!
Purim Extravaganza 2020 was only two weeks ago! It seems like a distant dream in these times of community care and intense social distancing. We are very grateful we got the chance to celebrate in community with you at Purim Extravaganza 2020 and hope that you are taking the time to be safe and healthy.
It was my first DJJ Purim and boy, did it NOT disappoint!!! I mean, WOW!!! Did you make it to that Family Carnival?! There was a bounce house! I think the equation: bounce house + children = success, holds true. So many great activities planned by Dor Hadash, IADS and Repair the World Detroit were appreciated by families and loved ones that came to share in our silly Purim joy.
Oh and the costume contest! It's so wonderful to see community turn up in all their creative magic. I mean, there was a butterfly princess who emerged from her chrysalis LIVE on stage! The contest was hosted by the lovely Mr. Rogers or was it the impassioned Mr. Sanders? Any who, it was great and everyone got a prize! A DJJ water bottle. I had quite the adventure passing them out to the children who swarmed the stage to get one. Note for next year: pass out free stuff to children off stage and not near stairs.
And what is there to say about our wonderful Purim Spiel this year?! It was hilarious, it was on point, it was wonderful. It takes such ingenious work and creativity to write a satirical play and make it current to our campaign partner's work, but they did it! Shushan for all!!! We got to hear from our campaign partners Cosecha and their Drive without Fear campaign. We were able to raise money for a campaign action as well as distribute commitment cards amongst DJJ-niks. So wonderful to see celebration and community work come together.
But what am I talking for? You can re-live the whole experience with all the Purim joy and laughter! We got the photos ready to click through. Check out the Purim Extravaganza 2020 album here!
Thank you for turning up for your community! We hope to see your faces soon!