Now is the moment for clear and decisive action against anti-Black racism. We uplift the lives and memories of Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Rayshard Brooks, Mike Brown, Philando Castile, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Tyquarn Malik Graves, Marsha P. Johnson, Trayvon Martin, David McAtee, Elijah McClain, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Tamir Rice, Antwon Rose, Breonna Taylor, and too many others who have been murdered. We must do our part to dismantle the anti-Black racism upon which this nation was built, and unite against the violence and racist policies that Black people in this country continue to face every day. Black Lives Matter.
As part of our ongoing commitment to racial justice, and with renewed inspiration from Black and Jewish leaders who are calling for systemic change, we are committed to much more deeply embedding anti-racism into our practices both internally and externally, taking action to improve the working environment for our Black Fellows and staff, and interrogating the propensity for white saviorism in our work.
Saying proudly Black Lives Matter
We recognize that Black Lives Matter is a statement that is inherently true and should be accepted without caveat or qualification.
Anti-Racist Approach to Service
- At the heart of our work of mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world is a commitment to service through an anti-racist lens. This means, across all of our programs and initiatives, we commit to:
- Listening to community leadership and supporting the agendas set by our partners. Our volunteers do not propose solutions; rather, they follow the lead of those most impacted by systemic inequality who are experts in their own experiences and best positioned to drive change. Our volunteers build the capacity of community-driven initiatives.
- Challenging all our volunteers to examine racial inequity as part of our service learning. Our service always includes issue-area education because it allows participants to better understand the systemic causes at play.
- Intentionally designing our programming to reflect the inherent multiracial identity of the Jewish community and the communities in which we serve. This means we design our programming to be inclusive, make a careful effort to recruit and support diverse cohorts of participants, fellows, staff, and leadership, and regularly evaluate our successes and failures in this area.
Additional Expertise in Racial Justice Work
- We are pleased to share that we have hired Yolanda Savage-Narva as our new Senior Advisor on Racial Justice. Yolanda Savage-Narva has devoted her professional career to promoting understanding, cooperation, and respect while fighting to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of discrimination. Yolanda will advise our Internal Racial Justice Working Group (IRJWG) as well as the Jewish Service Alliance, a project recently launched to engage the Jewish community in service in response to COVID-19.
- We commit to consistent anti-racist training for our staff, fellows, corps members, and volunteers, and to anti-racist program design for the Fellowship and other initiatives.
Expanded Role for Internal Racial Justice Working Group
- Repair went through an extensive, formal internal Racial Justice process, led by external racial justice facilitators, that concluded about a year ago. This process resulted in concrete recommendations for moving forward. Our Internal Racial Justice Working Group (IRJWG), made up of a group of cross-departmental staff members, is responsible for implementing those recommendations. Recent work completed by the IRJWG includes:
- A shared language guide around identity, racial justice, and understanding of terminology important to addressing racism which will be ready for the fall;
- An internal workshop for staff about combating anti-Black Racism and how it interacts with combatting anti-Semitism;
- Revamping our goal-setting process to include an equity lens for all staff; and
- Prioritizing purchasing from and contracting with POC-led businesses and organizations.
- The IRJWG will be expanded to include interested Fellows and will be advised by our new Advisor on Racial Justice and Equity.
- The IRJWG created talking points for Repair staff and Fellows with direct language, statement of values, and action steps to support Black Lives Matter and racial justice. This is a tool for our team to increase their ability to communicate about what’s happening and work more effectively towards racial justice.
Supporting Black Fellows and Staff
- We are creating a new fund to support the emerging needs of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Fellows and staff. Details of this fund will be determined by the IRJWG, with support from our Racial Justice and Equity Advisor, based on best practices and with input from Black and POC Fellows, alumni, and staff. We intend for it to cover such items as mental health, coaching, mentoring, emergencies, and additional cost of living needs. This will be ready by the start of our program year, August 1, 2020.
- Repair’s Board of Directors has committed to building out a pipeline of BIPOC prospects for our Board, and to adding at least three BIPOC members to our Board by next Juneteenth, so that our Board reflects the multiracial diversity of our communities. We recognize that much of our service work is situated in Black and Brown communities and that we need Black and POC leadership at the highest level to do our work responsibly and effectively.
- The Board has committed to revisiting the minimum giving level for Board membership in order to advance inclusion and promote socioeconomic diversity in Repair’s leadership.
- The Board has committed to training and deepening their education on anti-racism.
- The Board has committed to rewriting Repair’s bylaws to ensure they incorporate antiracist principles and policies.
Anti-Racist Hiring and Compensation
- We are implementing protocol recommended as part of our internal Racial Justice process to strengthen our pipeline of Black and POC candidates for open positions, including posting all new staff positions on job boards designed for recruitment of BIPOC.
- All staff responsible for supervising fellows or staff will participate in training on managing for racial equity by the end of the year.
- Last year, we established salary bands and a compensation philosophy to protect against bias in compensation and promotion. We will continue to periodically review for compliance with these bands.
Jewish tradition implores us, during times of greatest aspiration, and also discord, to come together as a community in our efforts to tackle the difficult work of building a more just world. We must continually engage in the work, knowing there will be mistakes along the way. We commit to learning from these mistakes, acknowledging them, apologizing, and seeking to repair harm. The learning we do in chevruta, engaging in conversation with the different voices and experiences of our community, will help us strengthen our work and also one another.
Please know that we are all eager to hear your suggestions, responses, and feedback now and in the future. They can be shared directly with any of us. Again, thank you for your partnership.
Repair’s Shared Leadership Team
Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO
Rabbi Jessy Dressin
Board of Directors Executive Committee
Robb Lippitt, Board Chair
Allan Bloom, Vice Chair
Ryan Cohen, Vice Chair
Anna Kovinsky, Vice Chair
Rabbi Daniel Gropper, Secretary
Hayden Horowitz, Treasurer