JCRC, Jewish Leadership Academy Launch Community Conversations on Racism

WEST HARTFORD, CONN. (May 6, 2021) – The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Hartford (JCRC) and the Jewish Leadership Academy (JLA), both part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, are launching a year-long series of community conversations on racism and its impact later this month.

"Our Jewish tradition teaches us that when we see an injustice, we are called to action,” said Bruce Stanger, the chair of JCRC’s Social Justice Task Force, which conceived the project. “We can make a difference together when we learn from each other.”

Through Community Conversations, participants will explore similarities, differences, and intersections among the Jewish and Black experiences; identify and learn to dismantle the internal biases and external structures that reinforce racism; and develop empathic listening and advocacy skills to be better allies to Jews of Color and the Black community at large. While the series and resource materials are designed for a Jewish audience, everyone is welcome to participate regardless of religious or cultural affiliation.

The series includes two cycles of programming. In the first cycle, which begins this month, individuals and groups are invited to read “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson. It chronicles the real-life journeys of three Black Americans from America’s South to its northern and western cities during the Great Migration. Participants receive a guide to reading, discussion, reflection, and action, as well as invitations to related programs throughout the spring and summer. A community-wide discussion will take place in August. The second cycle will take place from late fall to winter and focus on a different book. The entire series is supported by a generous grant from Liberty Bank.

Interested community members are invited to attend an optional information session over Zoom on Wednesday, May 19 from 7 to 8 p.m.; to register, visit https://bit.ly/CCInfoSession519. You can also enroll in the series directly by emailing Jody Angell at jody@jlahartford.org. For general questions about Community Conversations, email JCRC Director Alana Butler at abutler@jewishhartford.org.