What We've Been Up To

Fall 2017

  • DJJ staff attend Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Network Assembly
  • Poor People’s Campaign invited R. Alana to speak at their “National Call for Moral Revival” mass meeting

  • Koach Baruch Frazier and Former Jews for Racial and Economic Justice Executive Director, Dove Kent, train or brief dozens of leaders, supporters, and several DEAL allies with three workshops on practicing racial justice as Jews in solidarity with communities of color. See highlights of one workshop here.


Summer 2017

  • MOSES invited R. Alana to speak at their annual Public Meeting attended by community and elected officials
  • Welcomed summer intern Talia Schechet of Yale University

  • R. Alana was featured in NPR’s “On Point” discussing the challenges of millennial outreach
  • Signed on to Detroit Affordable Housing Trust Fund Coalition
  • DJJ co-sponsored ROAR! A Jewish Leadership Training for Resistance, Organizing, Action, and Resilience with National Council of Jewish Women and JOIN for Justice
  • Joined protest of mass deportations of Michigan Iraqi community
  • Attended Economic Justice Lobby Day in Lansing
  • Canvassed Detroit residents facing tax foreclosure
  • Leaders and staff collaborated with the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, Black Scroll Network History, Boggs Center, Repair the World, IADS, and the Well to organize events in a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 civil uprising  in Detroit

Spring 2017

  • Staff expanded with the hiring of Program Associate Valeriya Epshteyn
  • Leaders marched on May Day for immigrant rights, the Detroit Climate March, the D15 National Day of Action, the Rally for Regional Transit, Interfaith March for Justice, and more
  • “Let My People In,” a Passover program and concert centered on immigrant and refugee rights, raised over $2,000 for Syrian American Rescue Network
  • April orientations onboarded 23 leaders
  • 90 downloaded DJJ Passover Supplement to guide conversations at their seders, centered on the theme of rebellion and resistance
  • Brought 30 to World Water Day in Lansing and provided transportation and childcare to support other Detroiters to attend
  • March Purim spiel, centered on education justice, attracted 150 attendees
  • R. Alana invited to offer invocation at Wayne County Commission
  • DJJ staff presented at 3 Limmud MI sessions

Winter 2016-17

  • Met with city and state elected officials to strategize growing our water justice work
  • 263 Michigan Jews signed our pledge to stand in solidarity with immigrant, Arab & Muslim communities
  • January orientation onboarded 25 leaders
  • Hosted Kary Moss of the ACLU of Michigan at Temple Emanu-El to discuss the new Trump administration and their plan for major policy changes slated for the first 100 days of the term.

  • Held our first ever DJJ open house for folks to learn DJJ's history, how to get involved in the work we do, and to share stories and passions with us.

  • 150 supporters joined us for our 2nd annual Festival of Rights celebration.

  • As of December 2016 we have 905 page “Likes,” hundreds of “Shares” and thousands of views of page content through our social media presence

  • Raised $25,000 from 150 donors in our End of the Year Appeal.

Fall 2016

  • We welcomed DJJ intern Eli Zucker from the UM Master’s of Social Work Jewish Communal Leadership Program

  • Teamed up with the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue  for an evening of education around the regional transit ballot proposal. Ruth Johnson of Transit Riders United and Mason Herson-Hord of Motor City Freedom Riders facilitated a discussion about the history of transit inequity in our region, the issue’s ties to structural racism, and future opportunities for a better system.

  • Concluded our “Schlep for Transit” effort in support of the Vote Yes for Regional Transit ballot proposal - after collecting 250 voter pledges, hosting two phone banks with 40 participants, publishing 5 op eds in regional publications, and attracting over 70 attendees to educational events.

  • Stood in solidarity with Detroit 15 as they hosted a day of action on the fourth anniversary of the first-ever Fight for $15 protest. The event was part of a National Day of Action in solidarity with low-wage workers who rallied and demanded a living wage and union rights.

Summer 2016

  • We welcomed Eleanor to our staff as DJJ’s community organizer.

  • 10 leaders attended “Pursuing Justice,” Bend the Arc’s national conference in Washington D.C.

  • Gathered for a leaders picnic to talk big picture about our Jewish justice work, offer updates about many activism opportunities in Detroit, and announce our “Schlep for Transit,” DJJ’s effort in support of the Vote Yes for Regional Transit Ballot Proposal.

  • Joined We the People of Detroit for the launch party of their 1st community research collective publication – Mapping the Water Crisis. This historic launch was the celebration of a culmination of a body of work that has been in progress for over a year, as it provided factual and visual information concerning the water system, education, and land use in Detroit.

  • Gathered on Tisha B’Av to mourn ongoing police violence against communities of color.

  • Attended a screening of Detroit Minds Dying, a documentary by filmmaker Kate Levy, which showed the real story behind the Detroit water shutoff crisis.

  • Launched our “Schlep for Transit.”

Spring 2016

  • Gathered on the Capitol Steps to advocate for legislation on women's equal pay.

  • Rallied alongside workers in the Fight for $15 in the U.S. and around the globe as they came together to hold McDonalds and other corporations accountable, demanding $15 an hour, union rights and an end to tax evasion and poverty wages.

  • Rallied at the capitol in Lansing alongside members of the American Federation of Teachers to demand dignity for Detroit students and teachers.

  • Met our MI Time to Care goals after collecting more than 1,200 signatures and hosting five educational events.

  • Toured Detroit with the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership. Activist Rich Feldman led us to shift our perceptions of Detroit through a number of stops that exemplified the history, resilience, creativity, and singularity of Detroit and its people.

  • Dr. Beryl Satter, author of Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America, led us through a discussion on struggles for housing justice in the past and how the problem exists today.

Winter 2015-16

  • Hosted our first “Festival of Rights” where over 100 people joined us as we lit 8 candles for 8 areas of social change.

  • Launched our effort in support of MI Time to Care, a ballot initative to win paid sick time for all Michigan workers

  • DJJ completed our first ever crowdfunding campaign, raising over $37,000!

  • Presented to Frankel Jewish Academy about DJJ and the history of social justice work at their annual MLK Jr. Day assembly.

  • Received training from Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan to canvass for MI Time to Care.

  • Hosted 100 people for our first annual Purim Extravaganza -a creative melding of contemporary politics and ancient stories.

  • Rabbi Alana testified in Lansing about the Syrian refugee crisis.

  • Rallied alongside Detroit Public School teachers, students, and parents for better conditions in Detroit's schools.

  • Launched the DJJ blog.

  • Joined the People's Water Board.

  • Community Organizing Intern Eleanor attended Training for Change's Organizing Leadership Training in Philadelphia.

  • Rallied with D15 and 18 other social justice organizations at the GOP presidential debate.

  • Presented to UM Hillel at their Alternative Spring Break in Detroit.

Fall 2015

  • 50 people attended “10 DAYS: Art, Collective Responsibility, & the Struggle for a Just Economy,” a repentance ceremony for Yom Kippur in response to artist Kate Levy’s exhibit, “The Fate of the Machinery”

  • Hosted 60 people for a Housing Justice Gathering in their Sukkah. Professor Beryl Satter, led a discussion about her book Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America (recipient of National Jewish Book Award)

  • Mobilized attendees for Detroit’s March for Justice

  • Hosted our first-ever Leadership Shabbaton with 29 attendees.

Summer 2015

  • DJJ prepared a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder opposing laws discriminating against LGBT prospective adoptive parents. Obtained support from Steven Rubinstein, President of Michigan Board of Rabbis, and with his help the letter was endorsed by 37 rabbis.

  • Rabbi Alpert offered a blessing at the kickoff of “Detroit to Flint Water Justice Journey”

  • Rabbi Alpert participated in “Campaign to Take on Hate” panel on Islamophobia

  • Rabbi Alpert spoke alongside DJJ members who attended the D15 speakout at Kentucky Fried Chicken

  • DJJ joined the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, a national network of 52 Jewish organizations pursuing social justice from a Jewish perspective.

  • DJJ was invited to join Detroit Equity Action Lab, an initiative at Wayne State’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights which brings together nonprofit organizations to address issues of structural racism in Detroit.

Spring 2015

  • With hand-drawn signs, eight DJJ members—almost 10 percent of those present—attended a rally for D15 (Detroit movement for $15 minimum wage in fast food industry)

  • DJJ co-sponsored “Behind the Kitchen Door: Problems in the Restaurant Industry,” a panel and lunch discussion about restaurant worker exploitation. Attended by 30

  • 70 people gathered at “Play That Funky Music, Rabbi” a party to build community and raise funds for DJJ

  • Rabbi Alpert delivered the convocation at an annual awards dinner for Michigan Coalition for Human Rights

Winter 2014-15

  • DJJ held a “Black Lives Matter” Chanukah observance in Downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius: 70 people gathered and conducted a ritual of mourning and solidarity

  • 45 people meet on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to view “Selma,” discussing the film as they broke bread over a community-building meal

  • Rabbi Alpert spoke on “Tshuvah and Police Accountability” at Michigan United Justice Assembly: Police Accountability & Civilian Oversight

  • DJJ co-sponsored a screening of “Food Chains,” a film about justice for farm workers, followed by a discussion, attended by 100 people.

  • Rabbi Alpert began a “residency” with Lansing’s Kehillat Israel (Reconstructionist and Conservative synagogue), providing ongoing consulting to the congregation about expanding their social justice work

  • Rabbi Alpert taught pre-Passover classes at Oak Park’s Temple Emanuel on Water Justice & Prison Justice

  • DJJ sent four local leaders to the First National Gathering of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice.

Fall 2014

  • Four DJJ leaders traveled to Ferguson, MO to stand in solidarity with local protesters. Rabbi Alpert spoke to an assembly of thousands, expressing support of Jews and Detroiters

  • Participated in protest at Wal-Mart store demanding higher wages and more hours for adequate livelihood for workers

  • Three leaders attended leadership training in Washington, DC sponsored by Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice


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