Be An Upstander: Learning and Celebrating Juneteenth
In that light, we invite you to spend part of your day today learning and engaging about the far-reaching effects of slavery and institutionalized racism in the United States, particularly for the Black Jewish community. Why today? Because June 19th is Juneteenth, a day for celebrating the emancipation of American slavery. To quote JMM Executive Director Marvin Pinkert, from the Museum’s statement on the death of George Floyd and the ongoing protests:
We urge all of our fellow Americans, regardless of race, to take a hard look around them—and within their own hearts and minds—at the evidence of inequality and inequity. We must educate ourselves. We must listen, truly listen, to the voices of people who don’t look or live or worship as we do. We must commit to being upstanders, not bystanders. We will only change the story if we change ourselves.
Please note, our suggestions below are by no means comprehensive. These are simply some suggestions to get you started. We hope you’ll share with us other resources you know of, or those you come across as you seem out more knowledge, stories, and voices related to Juneteenth, racial equality and equity, and the Black Jewish community.
A few current articles:
I’m a black rabbi. I’ve never been in a Jewish space where I wasn’t questioned. – By Sandra Lawson, The Forward
‘We need our community!’ Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words. – The Jewish World
‘As a Jew of Color, I Need More People in My Community to Speak Up’ – Haaretz
What Not to Say to Jews of Color — and What to Say Instead – By Allison Barnes, Kveller
My mom is white and my dad is black. Don’t call me a ‘Jew of Color.’ – by Kylie Unell, The Times of Israel
Ashkenormativity Is a Threat to All Jewish Communities. – By Isaac Ofori-Solomon, Hey Alma
Voices to follow (special thanks to Kveller for putting together such a great list):
April N. Baskin, Joyous Justice (twitter)
MaNishtana, 100% Black, 100% Jewish, 0% Safe (twitter)
Michael Twitty, Afroculinaria (twitter)
Amadi Lovelace (twitter)
Tema Smith (twitter)(Instagram)
Rebecca Pierce (twitter)
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (twitter)
Yitz Jordan (twitter)(Instagram)
Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell (twitter)
Lara Monroe (twitter)
Bentley Addison (twitter)
Evan Traylor (twitter)(Instagram)
We also recommend spending some time checking out the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative.
For more general learning on Juneteenth, Black History, and Race:
What is Juneteenth? – The New York Times
Teaching Juneteenth – Teaching Tolerance
Talking About Race – National Museum of African American History & Culture
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – PBS
One more way to celebrate – consider supporting Black-owned businesses in Baltimore and Maryland today!