Welcome Stevie Kollin as DJJ's New Community Organizer!

Hey DJJ-niks! My name is Stevie Kollin and I use they/them pronouns. You may have seen me before as DJJ’s brief but beloved intern or as the nihilistic punk teenager, Zohar in our most recent Purim spiel. However, I am honored to re-introduce myself as the new Community Organizer for Detroit Jews for Justice!

A bit about myself - 

I grew up in the burbs of Metro Detroit heavily involved with the Jewish Community, a source of comfort and hope in a world that kept trying to teach me injustice was inevitable. Growing up in a world of rampant gun violence, a Trump presidency, pandemics, occupations, genocides, and national uprisings, I have fought to hold onto the efficacy of the collective and our power to create systemic change in a world built upon structures of domination. Being a Gen Z organizer meant being vigilant to any loud noises in my high school and leaving college for a year to fight in the streets when COVID-19 closed our classrooms. My background as an organizer comes from a sense of critical skepticism embedded in the hope and the calls of my community: B’tzelem Elohim, Tikkun Olam, Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof, a reminder of the obligation and power we hold to build collective liberation out of systems of oppression. 

For me this looked like organizing around gun violence prevention as part of the 2017 student uprising, March For Our Lives, bringing together the student body in multiple school walkouts to demand a safer future. In the middle of my freshman year at Haverford College, Covid-19 shut the world down. I moved home, lost a lot of faith in the world, and regained it step by step as part of Detroit Will Breathe, the Detroit Black Lives Matter movement. After months of drumming through the streets of Detroit, canvassing to end Project Greenlight, and rambunctiously caravanning around representatives' homes, I returned to a still mostly shut-down university I barely recognized anymore. This led me to move to Bryn Mawr College and become a part of the collective for sexual assault prevention; producing a collection of artwork from survivors, creating educational programs, and organizing campus-wide campaigns dedicated to awareness and prevention.

Additionally, for the past 5 years as a songleader, I have worked to bring Jewish ritual into organizing spaces, letting our voices carry us into deeper healing and resilience. To me, music and organizing go hand in hand; one providing the spiritual determination for the other. I really cherish these moments of intentionally crafted energy and believe singing together holds immense power to invigorate our fight for justice. If anyone is down for a DJJ singing collective - count me in! 

I am so grateful to be a part of the Detroit Jews for Justice community. Back in 2020, I remember reaching out to DJJ to get involved with a Black Lives Matter march on Sukkot. At a time when I felt the Jewish community wasn’t doing enough to stand in solidarity with the black community and the multiracial coalition for Black Lives, Detroit Jews for Justice marched alongside us with an etrog and a lulav and an unwavering dedication to justice for all. I am honored to step into this role and continue building a place where our Jewishness can intertwine with the sacred practice of organizing. Despite what the world tried to teach me, this Jewish community shows up otherwise, standing in unshakable solidarity in the fight for collective liberation, never letting injustice become an inevitability. 

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