Archive for : Education

Spotlight On: Black Women’s Health Imperative

All February long during Black History Month, Repair the World is checking in with people and organizations working on the forefront of Black issues in America. Today we’ve got our spotlight on: Black Women’s Health Imperative – an incredible organization that educates and advocates for health equality for Black women.

Founded in 1981, BWHI has been a champion of health for more than three decades. Their campaigns focus on diseases that disproportionately impact Black women – things like cervical and breast cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They educate women about their healthcare options and provide the information and tools needed to get covered by medical insurance.

My Sister's Keeper

Meanwhile their campaigns – like Black Women Matter (an initiative focused on increasing the numbers of healthy black women in America) and My Sister’s Keeper (an advocacy initiative on Historically Black College campuses) – help raise awareness and foster a community of empowered, strong women.

Similar to the Black community, the Jewish community faces its own unique health risks – from genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs to a higher risk of breast cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish women. (Check out the amazing education and advocacy work Sharsheret is doing on that front.) That’s just one reason of many why we support and salute the amazing work of BWHI!

To find out more about Black Women’s Health Imperative’s work, check out their website and Facebook page.

Repair Inspiration: New Harper Lee Novel on the Way

Literary fans, file this one under pure excitement. Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, will be releasing a sequel – 55 years after the first book was published. Published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is known as one of the great books of the civil rights era. Her “new” book, Go Set a Watchman, which she actually wrote prior to Mockingbird, will come out in July. (Not surprisingly, it is currently the number 1 best-selling book on Amazon, despite being several months from publication.)

We’re inspired by Lee’s book for two reasons. Firstly, it will be exciting to read new words from the 88 year old author after years of silence. And secondly, while race inequalities continue to be one of our country’s greatest challenges, perhaps Lee’s new book can serve as a rallying call.

Find out more about Go Set a Watchman in the paragraphs below, and read the full story over at The New York Times.

Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Is to Publish a Second Novel
By: Alexandra Alter

For more than half a century, “To Kill a Mockingbird” has stood apart as a singular American literary masterpiece, a perennial best seller that has provoked countless classroom discussions about racial and social injustice. It brought instant and overwhelming fame to its enigmatic author, Harper Lee, who soon retreated from the spotlight to her native Monroeville, Ala. She never published another book, leaving her millions of fans yearning for more.

Now, at age 88, Ms. Lee has revealed that she wrote another novel after all — a sequel of sorts to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” featuring an aging Atticus Finch and his grown daughter, Scout.

On Tuesday, Ms. Lee’s publisher announced its plans to release that novel, recently rediscovered, which Ms. Lee completed in the mid-1950s, before she wrote “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The 304-page book, “Go Set a Watchman,” takes place 20 years later in the same fictional town, Maycomb, Ala., and unfolds as Jean Louise Finch, or Scout, the feisty child heroine of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” returns to visit her father. The novel, which is scheduled for release this July, tackles the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and delves into the complex relationship between father and daughter.

Read more…

How Did You Turn the Tables on MLK Day?

Pardon us while we kvell for a minute here, but MLK Day weekend was completely awesome. All over the country, people spent the day showing up and pitching in – volunteering in their communities to celebrate the legacy and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Repair the World was no exception. Our Turn the Tables campaign inspired more than 120 hosts and 1,000 guests to sit down for a Shabbat dinner to discuss racial injustices and civil rights. Meanwhile, it gave 700 volunteers an opportunity to plug into meaningful service projects across our five partner communities (Detroit, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh) and beyond.

Added up, that’s a lot of great minds and even more capable hands, coming together to stand up for justice and strong communities. As participant Rebecca Haskell in Oakland, California commented, “Turn the Tables provided time and space for people to broach a subject that we otherwise wouldn’t and talk about our thoughts, questions, and concerns.” We can’t think of a better way to honor Dr. King’s life and work.

If you joined in one of Repair the World’s Turn the Tables events (or if you did something else amazing to celebrate MLK Day), we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below, or tweet us @repairtheworld.

Kickstart Education Projects: In Brooklyn and Beyond

Since it’s very first post, the blog Humans of New York – which offers snapshots of the weird, wonderful, and sometimes compellingly mundane people who live in New York City – has always been brilliant. But a couple of weeks ago, things took a turn for the even more brilliant. A photograph of a student who attends an underserved public school in Brooklyn talking about his school principal who inspired him, set in motion one of the most successful Indiegogo campaigns in history. People have already donated nearly $700,000 to support kids at the student’s school in Brooklyn – and every time you refresh the page, the amount seems to have gone up by tens of thousands of dollars!

There is still time to make a donation to the campaign. Meanwhile, there lots of other amazing education-focused projects that need your help. Make a difference in a student’s life by supporting one of the following amazing projects below:

English Classes for Nicaraguan Children. Language and literacy are the most powerful tools for advancing learning on all fronts. Support this campaign’s efforts to support English instruction for young students in Nicaragua.

Build a Library Help educators at an underserved school in Denver, Colorado build a warm, welcoming library for students.

Bring the Zoo to the Students A teacher from Staten Island, New York works with wheelchair bound students who are not mobile enough to go on class trips. So she is working to bring a class trip – this time, a trip to the zoo – to them! Help make it happen.

Find more education-based projects to support at the DonorsChoose.org and Indiegogo (search “education”).

Turn the Tables on MLK Day with Repair the World

“What is it America has failed to hear? …It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King’s heroic legacy of advancing civil and human rights in America lives on, even nearly 50 years after his death. But in recent months, whether in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York, or countless other cities and towns across the country, there have been too many reminders that the work to ensure justice and freedom for all our country’s citizens is far from complete.

That is why this year, in honor of MLK Day, Repair the World is launching Turn the Tables – an initiative that promotes the principles at the center of Dr. King’s ideology, and works towards the promise of a more just society. The road ahead is long, so we must walk it together.

There are two ways to get involved over MLK Day weekend:

Host a Shabbat Supper
On January 16, turn your table into a forum for conversations about justice. Shabbat has traditionally been a sacred weekly time for Jews to gather with those closest to them. Repair the World invites everyone to use the Shabbat before MLK day as an opportunity to break bread and reflect on racial injustice issues that are on the minds of Americans following the tragic events in Ferguson, Staten Island and elsewhere.

Take Action
MLK Day is a nationally recognized Day of Service. On January 19, join thousands of Americans across the country in making our communities stronger and standing up to the challenges of racial inequality in meaningful and tangible ways. Sign up to make the commitment to make a difference for a cause you care about.

Learn more about Repair the World’s Turn the Tables initiative and get access to tons of resources for MLK Day and beyond.

Repair Interview: Talya Gillman on Covenant’s Pomegranate Prize

What has been keeping you busy since you left Repair the World?
After leaving Repair the World in late August, I began work at the University of Washington’s Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center, coordinating – what else? – service-learning opportunities! The majority of our work at the Carlson Center focuses on creating opportunities for 1,000+ students to volunteer with hundreds of different community-based organizations in the greater Seattle area each academic quarter. Enrolled in thematically diverse service-learning courses offered by the university, these students spend time with, and support their partner organizations’ efforts each week, for the duration of the term.

The Carlson Center also facilitates multiple service and civic leadership fellowships, and other community engagement opportunities around town, each of which offer space for reflection and discussion about the complex social realities prevalent throughout the city. Operating at this scale, I draw upon principles of partnership, mutuality, flexibility and empathy each day. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to practice and cultivate commitments to these ideals through my work at Repair over the last several years.

Congrats on getting the Pomegranate Prize! Can you tell us a little more about it?
Thank you! I was certainly surprised and humbled by this honor. The Pomegranate Prize is distributed annually by The Covenant Foundation to a small cohort of young, emerging educators who demonstrate promise in the field of Jewish education.

Although I’m no longer collaborating on the development of training and service-learning curricula for Repair’s programs, the Pomegranate Prize will help me explore something I’ve been thinking about for some time now: the connections between positive character traits (empathy, kindness, generosity, critical thinking, humility, etc.) and practical and impactful social justice work. My goal is to study, support, and build programs that use Jewish teachings, ritual, vocabulary and other resources to cultivate these ‘postures’ in young people, believing that if we can help these traits become more authentically ingrained within individuals and the Jewish community broadly, then maybe we can strengthen our inclinations and abilities to effectively address large and small-scale inequalities in society.

My interest in this work is grounded in learnings and values that have been sparked and deepened through my experiences with organizations like Repair, American Jewish World Service, ATZUM and others, and I’m eager to do what I can to channel the knowledge and insights that have come from them, to help address pressing needs in our world. And, I’m excited about joining the Covenant ‘community’ via the Pomegranate Prize, because it’s clear that so many thoughtful people within it are already doing this kind of work in powerful ways!

What’s next on the horizon for you?
In addition to my work at the University of Washington, I’ve also begun graduate studies at Seattle University (yep different schools ;-)), towards a Masters in Transformational Leadership (MATL). I’m loving it – the content and ideas have consistently been inspiring, challenging, thought-provoking, and more!

Seattle U is grounded in the Jesuit tradition, and/so steeped in principles of social justice (Jewish tradition offers many similar or parallel concepts, to be sure!). The MATL itself facilitates deep exploration of leadership and the mechanics of “meaning-making” in this justice context, and I’m eager to soak up as much as I can in order to develop programs and content that – as I mentioned before – help cultivate positive social values and character traits in more and more young people today.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov had a teaching: “The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to be afraid.” But I like to say instead, “The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is to help each other across.” And, I’m grateful for the opportunities the Pomegranate Prize represents, because I’m certain they will help chart new pathways for this important work!