A RESOURCE GUIDE FOR WHITE PITTSBURGH JEWS WHO WANT TO ENGAGE IN RACIAL JUSTICE WORK
Welcome! Thank you for your interest in figuring out how you can support our Black neighbors and Jews of Color. This guide starts with some suggested reading and then offers 5 actions you can take.
Want to hear from within the Jewish community about why it is important to take action now and get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement? Here are some helpful reads:
- Why I organized the Jewish Solidarity march for Blacks
- Why Being a White American Jew Is Not the Same as Being a Black American
- I’m a black rabbi. I’ve never been in a Jewish space where I wasn’t questioned.
- An Open Letter to All Jewish Organizations
- You Don’t Have to Choose Between Black Lives Matter and Israel
- ‘Believe Us’: Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words
- Black Americans and Jews of color don’t need another short-term ally - we need you to join our fight
- Against Analogy
- Hey Alma does an amazing job of publishing Jews of Color voices
5 ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW:
- Friend and follow Black people and organizations on your social media accounts. Not just a few. A lot. Aim to have at least one third of your feed be Black people. This will diversify your social media diet, introduce you to new ideas, and if you follow local Black people then you can get more locally informed. Don’t know where to start? Check out who Repair the World and Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh follow on social media and go from there. Or pick a friend you know who has deep connections in the Black community and follow who they follow.
- Practice being uncomfortable. Beginning or deepening racial justice work as a white person can be uncomfortable. For example, you might feel challenged and/or defensive. You will encounter views you don’t agree with or initially understand. This discomfort is part of the work. It is okay to not know. It is okay to pause and breath. It is okay to talk about your discomfort with this work, preferably with other white people. It is not okay to let your discomfort prevent you from taking action.
- Amplify Black voices. This means just that. After getting ideas from Black people via books, articles, social media, and actual conversations, share what you learned with other white people and give Black people credit. If you want to share Black voices on social media, consider just sharing or retweeting their message as is, without adding your twist. If you are in a leadership position in the Jewish community, consider reaching out to the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative. Additionally, if invited to participate in an interview or panel about Jews and BLM, make your participation contingent upon the inclusion of Black voices (and confirm that women are represented as well).
Give your time and/or money. Good news! There is no need to start a new committee or organization to make things better for Black people. There are opportunities to volunteer and lend your expertise with existing Black-led organizations as well as other non-profits with existing relationships with the Black community (see starter list below). Support local Black businesses and donate to Black organizations as your budget allows.
- Support the protests supporting Black lives and fighting police brutality. Attending protests now has an additional layer of risk given the COVID-19 crisis. Attending protests may not be how you can show up right now and that is okay (if that’s the case, please see actions 1-4 above). If you do choose to attend a protest, make sure you have what you need to make you more successful, minimize personal risk, and be helpful to others as needed. Check out the visual guide below to protesting safely and an article about WHO’s position on protesting during the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition to the items above, consider the following:
- Check in with a friend who’s attended previous protests for guidance
- Print a Jews for Black Lives sign to bring with you
- Bring a buddy and/or let people know where you are going
- Stay vigilant and alert
You are not alone in this! Please reach out with questions.