“Breaking Down the Barriers Between Communities”
Two Sundays ago, several of my fellow JCUA members and I embarked on a reflective journey into the true meaning of Allyship & Privilege. Upon entering the room, I was filled with mixed emotions and thoughts. When groups and organizations conduct trainings on “privilege” here in the United States, the target audience is generally geared towards the white population; as this is the majority represented in current “Allyship” discussions.
While I am a person of color, I thought it was important to attend this training. The concepts of privilege and allyship are becoming increasingly popular in social justice circles. Several of my friends have attended privilege trainings with different results, so I had no idea what to expect from JCUA. However, I decided to go because I thought it was important to have the perspectives of a person of color in the room.
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JCUA has a successful history of working with diverse communities and community groups to help dispel racism, battle discrimination, poverty, and other forms of oppression. Historically, here in Chicago, the diverse communities JCUA has partnered with are generally not connected with the broader Jewish Chicagoland community. As a Jew of color, the mixed emotions I felt going into the training had to do with my affiliation to both the Jewish and other diverse communities JCUA works with on a daily basis. Each community has its own way of thinking when it comes to community needs, desires, struggles, and successes. These thought patterns are born from current and historical experiences. So, for me, coming from a variety of cultural, religious, and racial experiences, I was curious as to how others in the group viewed their role in partnership with diverse communities that are not necessarily their own. Read the rest of this entry »