Reflecting on 10 Days of Change: Or Tzedek 2015 Summer Session 1
By Deborah Goldberg JCUA’s Coordinator of Teen Programs
It’s hard to believe that at this time two weeks ago, our first summer 2015 session was just getting under way! It was an incredible 10 days of activism, advocacy, organizing, and having fun together. If I could sum up 10 days in 10 numbers, here’s what I would say:
10 amazing teens
9 workshops on social justice concepts and campaigns
8 partner organizations visited
7 hours of prep for two prayer vigils and an advocacy visit with the President of the Illinois Senate
6 amazing staff members
5 states represented
4 jumbo bags of M&Ms consumed
3 views of Chicago (by boat, by car, and from the 37th floor of a downtown office!)
1 incredible Or Tzedek session
There’s no possible way to capture the enthusiasm and passion of our first session teens in words and numbers alone. From participating in meaningful workshops to advocating to the president of the Illinois State Senate on the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights, from leading a prayer vigil in support of the Trauma Center Campaign to celebrating two Shabbatot together, the teens’ energy, curiosity, and willingness to give 100% of themselves in every workshop and meeting was inspiring.
Check out the photo essay below for more information on our experiences! (Click on any photo below to see a slideshow with comments!)
Gabi, Roz, and Leora share some of their goals for Or Tzedek!
Brian, Jonah, Sam, Alex, and Leora reflect on identity and privilege in one of our workshops with Jessica Havens.
Getting ready to celebrate our first Shabbat as an Or Tzedek community!
AVODAH-Chicago hosted us for dinner and conversations about social justice work.
Roz, Sarah, and Gabi hang out while waiting their turn to bowl!
On Monday morning, we examined root causes of injustice and learned community organizing skills. Here, Sarah, Gabi, and Emily work on a “root causes tree” for the issue of gun violence.
Gabi, Emily, Parker, and Sarah take time to plan outreach calls for the prayer vigil for the Trauma Center Coalition on Thursday evening.
On Tuesday morning, we visited Gracie’s Cafe to learn about St. Leonard’s Ministries and JCUA’s zero-interest loan program.
Gerald Hankerson, Outreach Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago, hosted us on Tuesday afternoon for a conversation on CAIR-Chicago’s Muslim civil rights and advocacy work.
Alex, Sam, and Roz work together to share info about the Trauma Center Campaign prayer vigil on social media.
Many of our teens called JCUA members and their friends and family to attend the Trauma Center Campaign prayer vigil. Here, Roz and Emily are hard at work!
Brian, Sam, Parker, and Gabi practice one final time before meeting with Illinois Senate President, John Cullerton!
Senator Cullerton listens to our teens share their perspective on HB 1288, the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights.
Leora, Jonah, and Brian lead the group in song and prayer outside the University of Chicago Medical Center.
On Friday morning, we woke up early to attend the prayer vigil for immigration reform at the Broadview Detention Center.
Kalman Resnick, an immigration lawyer and former Vice-President of JCUA’s board, talked to the teens about his immigration justice work.
Our teens were all smiles at the beach on Friday afternoon!
Getting ready to celebrate our second and final Shabbat as an Or Tzedek Community!
Saturday evening, we walked to Buckingham Fountain to do Havdallah and then see the fireworks at Navy Pier.
Our teens were so sad to go home on Sunday monring! (We were equally as sad to see them go!)
As our first summer session came to a close on Sunday morning, I shared with the teens that I hope Or Tzedek and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs are always places where they feel at home. In just 10 short days, we were able to build a community, take action on several campaigns, celebrate Shabbat, and help prepare our teens to take their new skills and passion for social justice home. We can’t wait to see these teens again at future Or Tzedek and JCUA programs!