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Events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on January 15th, 2021.

Jewish nonprofit Repair the World and Shabbat dinner organizer OpenTable host a free virtual panel at 6 p.m. on unpacking and addressing racism in Pittsburgh’s education system in honor of Dr. King. Moderated by Benjamin Gutschow of Casa San Jose, a resource center for Latin immigrants, the panel includes Nina Barbuto, executive director of the arts and technology center Assemble, Allyce Pinchback Johnson of Pinchback Consulting and Amanda Godley of Pitt’s Graduate School of Education.

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Street Art and Agitprops

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on January 17th, 2021. 

Join Repair the World for Street Art and Agitprops, a temporary public virtual art workshop with DS Kinsel from Boom Concepts. Learn about temporary public art, discover how to express your voice, and create small scale public art to display in your neighborhood.

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Binds and Bonds: Processing Trauma with Art

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on January 17th, 2021. 

Join Repair the World for Binds and Bonds: Processing Trauma with Art, a workshop with Dafna Rehavia an artist, a counselor, and an art psychotherapist. Learn about Dafna’s creative practice and take a visual tour of her new art installation on display at BOOM Concepts. Participate in a creative and reflective activity using objects and materials from your home. You may want to create a 2 dimensional or 3-dimensional piece that will reflect on a significant event you experienced. You can also just let the materials lead you.

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Brooklyn Celebrates MLK Day in a Year Like No Other

This article originally appeared in the Bklyner on January 15th, 2021. 

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights will host service workshops led by Repair the World Brooklyn, a jewish organization that works within the community of Central Brooklyn through volunteer groups to make it a “more equitable place” for all, according to their website.  With Repair the World Brooklyn, people can learn about volunteer opportunities and pack PPE for people in need. Through a Facebook post, the BCM will also teach volunteers about social justice in their work with community service. Children will be able to learn freedom songs with singer imani uzuri, explore shadow puppets with Nehprii Amenii, and create community art in the museum’s ColorLab art studio.

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MLK Day Service Projects: How To Help In Atlanta

This article originally appeared in Patch News on January 15th, 2021. 

Repair the World — an organization that gathers volunteers to support local neighborhoods through partnerships with community-based organizations — is launching more than 600 coronavirus-safe volunteer opportunities for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, both in-person and virtually. There are seven Atlanta-area projects being offered for the holiday, ranging from delivering meals and clothing to planting trees.

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Things to do this weekend from poetry unplugged to sweet honey in the rock

This article originally appeared in Next Pittsburgh on January 15th, 2021. 

Repair the World Pittsburgh MLK Day projects  were featured in  “Things to do this weekend” in NEXTpittsburgh. “There are so many ways to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by lending a helping hand in our local community. Volunteer in person or virtually during this four-day, citywide effort. Find an opportunity that’s right for you!”

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Drive-Thru Food Distribution Event Thursday Morning in Miami-Dade County

This video originally appeared on 6 South Florida on January 14th, 2021.

A drive-thru food distribution event is being held Thursday morning amid economic hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The drive-thru site at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation opened at 9 a.m. In addition to packages containing non-perishable food products, bread, and locally grown fruits and vegetables, kosher meat will also be available to residents. “While the drive-thru is open to all in need, it is a unique opportunity for members of the Jewish community who follow strict kosher dietary laws,” a press release said.

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Virtual service opportunity: How you can stay safe this MLK Weekend

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on January 12th, 2021.

“Despite our fears and uncertainty, we must continue to care for each other — especially as racism, inequity, poverty, and needless suffering persist,” Repair the World Atlanta‘s executive director Lily Brent said in a statement. “Repair is committed to our work in education and meaningful service together with our partners — and hope the community will join us to make sense of this moment in service and in learning.” 

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Even With New Relief Package, Georgia Could See Higher Levels Of Hunger For Years

This article originally appeared in WABE on December 23, 2020.

A recurring scene this year around the country has been lines. Cars snake through parking lots turned into COVID-19 testing sites. Shoppers wait outside stores with limited capacity. Families line up for help getting food on the table. Earlier this month, there was one of those lines at a shopping center on Buford Highway. “There’s always a line,” said Marco Palma, president of the non-profit organization Los Vecinos de Buford Highway. It’s one of the groups behind the food distribution event. “If we say we’re starting at 10, people start lining up at like 8:30 or 9.”

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Community Agreements

Growing up with a strong commitment to both my Judaism and my desire to help others, I knew that after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 I wanted to serve with Repair the World. Before I began the Fellowship, I thought I had a good understanding of what it meant to serve my community and encourage others to do the same. I was wrong! There was more to learn about interacting with my community, especially while serving and engaging volunteers and community members. 

I have been serving with Repair the World Pittsburgh since August 2019 as an education justice Fellow, where I first was on a team with four other Fellows and served alongside nonprofit service partners. Now, in my second year as a Fellow, I am coordinating and facilitating our PeerCorps program, which provides meaningful service opportunities for Jewish teens. Repair works to mobilize Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service. 

At Repair, we have complex conversations and we are constantly learning by pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones to address the world’s injustices so we can better serve our communities. In order to have productive and respectful conversations around challenging topics, Repair has developed a best practice of Community Agreements. This practice involves thinking of and agreeing to a list of guidelines that all participants abide by during a conversation, enabling room for all people, thoughts, ideas and mistakes. 

What I slowly learned through these conversations and, by extension, Community Agreements, isthat while the practice aids in productive conversations, even more so it supports how we show up in our service work. 

I want to share five community agreement principles that have helped me not only in my work at Repair but also have enhanced the relationships I hold with my family, my friends, and the community at large. 

  1. Speak from an “I” place. Speak YOUR truth and YOUR experiences. When engaging in conversation with anyone, it is important that you don’t speak for anyone else. Show up with your own point of view. We know ourselves better than anyone else and it is important that we respect each other enough to not put words in their mouth.
  2. Make space, take space. If you have not shared your thoughts and experiences, move up, and participate in the conversation. If you have been speaking up a lot in conversation, take on the role of the active listener. In society, White people have dominated the conversation for hundreds of years. As a White person I had to understand that we have controlled the room, the conversation, the narrative, and have benefited from racist institutions. It is imperative now that we step back from the conversation and listen.
  3. Own your impact. While you may have not intended harm, you may have caused harm that impacted someone else. Even if you had the best of intentions, it doesn’t matter if you can’t take personal accountability for how your actions impacted someone else.
  4. Lean into discomfort. In life, we need to try new things, have difficult conversations, and admit mistakes in order to learn. It is hard to move forward in life if we do not try anything new or challenge ourselves. Ask for help, practice, and pivot when something is not working. It won’t always be easy, but the results are worth working for.
  5. Finally, attend to your needs. Take care of yourself first, before you can do the work to care for the people around you, your community. This will help you show up with the greatest resilience and deepest truth. This is not selfish and it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about others or want to help others. If you burn yourself out and do not take time to rejuvenate you can not effectively help others to the best of your ability. 

There are many more community agreements that are useful and important. To me, these five are the starting point. As you practice incorporating these into your life, remember one thing. Practice, practice, practice. (I guess that was really three things)! No one is perfect and conversations will not always go smoothly. But, if you try to integrate these community agreements into your daily interactions, I truly believe that the practice will only strengthen your relationships with your family, friends, and your community. 

Alyssa Berman is a Senior Fellow, coordinating and facilitating Repair the World Pittsburgh’s teen programing. She is passionate about building Jewish Community and you can usually find her on Zoom attending programs from the Young AdultDivision at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh or attending Repair events in other cities!