The morning after an incredible shabbaton of relationship and skills-building, over a dozen DJJ leaders schlepped to Lansing to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign. We were rolling deep because the day’s theme of Environmental Justice brings out the cause dearest to our collective heart: water.
Those of us risking arrest shared why we were there. I said, “I’m here because this is how I pray.” Spiritual practice challenges our need for certainty, our obsession with clarity, our hubris of imagined control. We don’t know if anything will come of using our bodies to communicate our outrage about water shutoffs and poisoned land to decision-makers in Lansing. But we do know that we must practice taking risks for justice. We must practice answering the call of our partners to stand with them: indeed, without the work of DJJ, there would have been almost no Jewish presence in the Michigan campaign. As DJJ practiced these things, I felt deeply grateful to be rooted in a spiritual tradition and Metro Detroit Jewish community committed to nurturing the critical intersection between faith and social change.
Photo by Tommy Airey
We are especially proud to have inducted an incredible number of DJJ leaders and friends of many ages into the tradition of direct action (including a bunch of rabbis!). One of our young leaders, Seth Archambault, describes his experience:
"The Poor People’s Campaign was an opportunity to stand for racial justice in a way that required more than just words, while staying true to the way of being I aspire to: Loving, Courageous, and Empowered. Now that I’ve experienced what non-violent direct action feels like, I know that even in the face of massive systemic issues, I have the ability to take action and stand for something greater than the status quo."
This summer has been brutal: family separation, the Supreme Court blow to unions, and on and on. It is the holy chutzpah of leaders like Seth and our partners in the Poor People’s Campaign that keep me from despair. Thank you for supporting our work to take our faith to the streets.
P.S. Our partners in the social justice community are calling for escalation around a number of injustices. I was recently encouraged to speak out at a forum with the Mayor in my district. Click here to check out my remarks and the community response.
Rosh Hashanah with T'chiyah & Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman
Monday, September 10th, 9:45AM, Greater New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Banquet Hall, Detroit
DJJ at the Michigan Jewish Food Festival
Save the Dates!
Tuesday, September 26th, 6pm, Marble Bar, Detroit
DJJ, Birmingham Temple and Wayne State’s Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies invite you to join us for a concert with the phenomenal Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird. Based in Berlin, their music has been described as "a mixture of Klezmer, radical Yiddish song, political cabaret and punk folk.” (Daniel proudly hails from Detroit.) Not to be missed! Proceeds will benefit DJJ’s work for racial and economic justice and Birmingham Temple’s efforts to support a local family of Syrian refugees. More details & ticket information coming soon.
Image by Eric Drooker
Writing Workshop & Havdallah with Marge Piercy
Friday, October 26th & Saturday, October 27th. Location TBD
T'chiyah and the Cohn-Haddow Center are hosting a writer's workshop and a Havdallah with beloved antiwar activist, feminist, environmentalist, and Detroit native Marge Piercy. More details & registration coming soon.
New Leader Orientation
Thursday, December 13th, 6-8PM. Location TBD
Have you been thinking about getting more involved in DJJ? Our in-depth orientation will help you learn how. RSVP here! (If you want to learn more about DJJ in the meantime, reach out to Director of Organizing, Eleanor, at [email protected] to meet with a current leader.)
On the Poor People's Campaign:
On the New Office:
On DJJniks Around Town:
On Environmental, Water & Immigration Justice:
What we’re reading:
Recommendations by our new food justice liaison:
“Detroit Shows How Cuts to SNAP Affect an Entire Community” by Brian Allnutt
Earl Blumeaneaur makes the above stories make more sense with “Why Every American Should Care About the Farm Bill”
On Healing Justice, Spirituality, & Community Organizing
On the power of taking action as intergenerational community
Lydia Wylie-Kellermann’s “Why is Grandpa in Jail?” (photo at right by Valerie Jean)
Y’shkoyach* to Our Comrades…
Detroit chapter of the National Lawyers Guild for their steadfast support of those arrested throughout the Michigan Poor People’s Campaign
ACLU of Michigan & Michele Oberholtzer of United Community Housing Coalition on the settlement they reached with Detroit to potentially save thousands of homes from #illegalforeclosure
SEIU Local 1 won $15/hour for Detroit janitors
DJJ co-founder Mary Ellen Gurewitz on her amazing civil rights victory
*y’shkoyach, short for yasher koach, means “more power to you!”
Making it Happen
Like what we're doing? You make it possible! By getting involved, spreading the word, and contributing.