Racial Justice Initiative – Resource Page

The Racial Justice Initiative is a chance for members of the Micah community to take a deep dive into the systems of bias, racism, and oppression that continue to cause the racial disparities we see in D.C., in the United States, and globally. Each month, we will explore a specific area in which we see inequities across racial lines, including education, justice, healthcare, and wealth. During each thematic session we will hear from content experts, community organizers, and leaders who are working in the field to change the way race determines outcomes.

Community Conversation 1 (February 9)

Systemic racism has existed for centuries and has been perpetuated and cemented through the generations. What has happened? Where are we now and how did we get here? What do we even mean when we say systemic racism? The first session of the Racial Justice Initiative will focus on the last few decades: how policies, practices, and traditions have led to the systemic racism we see in the United States, how Jews have participated in the systems, and why we are compelled to think about the future differently. 

Session Materials:

Questions for Reflection:

  1. In the 1940s + 1950s many Jews (through initiatives like the GI Bill and a post-WWII decline in anti-Semitism) began to benefit from white privilege. What privileges did your family accumulate at this time (did they buy houses, get a job through a family member, go to college for the first time, send their child to a Jewish school, etc)? 
  2. What decisions have you made or are you currently making that will continue these privileges with you and/or your family (what schools have you chosen for your kids, what neighborhood did

Suggested Reading:

‘White Supremacy’ Once Meant David Duke and the Klan. Now It Refers to Much More by Michael Powell, New York Times, Oct 7, 2020

DETOUR‐SPOTTING for white anti‐racists by joan olsson, 1997

White Jews – Wake Up. We’re Part of the Problem by Matt Fieldman, eJewishPhilanthropy, June 21, 2020

What if the Jews Had Never Left Germany? by Shira Telushkin, The Jewish Forward, June 9, 2020

White Picket Fence Podcast, Episode #2 “American Dream” with host Julie Kohler, November 25, 2020

Community Conversation 2 (March 9)

In 1865 the last enslaved Africans learned that they were considered free by the United States government. In 2021, there are more Black men in prison than there were enslaved Black men in 1863. We’ll talk to organizers, activists, and experts about how policing, our (in)justice system, and prisons have replicated the patterns of enslavement and lead to the systematic disenfranchisement of Black families, communities, and neighborhoods. Learn more.