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Hill Havurah Anti-Racism Task Force Mission Statement

During a time of nationwide reckoning with institutionalized racism, Hill Havurah Anti-Racism Task Force is committed to actively promoting racial justice and equity* as a pillar of our organization and community. Hill Havurah stands with over 600 Jewish organizations and synagogues who support the Black Lives Matter movement to address systemic racism that persists in all facets of American life. Systemic racism disproportionally affects Black as well as Indigenous, Latino/a, and other communities of color. And it pervades our nation’s institutions, including but not limited to: our government, health care, housing, education, law enforcement, religious institutions, economic, and criminal justice systems. 

We recognize that the relationship between Jews and Black, Latino/a, Indigenous, and other communities of color is complex. As a result of their Jewish identity, many in our community have personally suffered from antisemitism or had family members killed in the Holocaust. Personal experiences of racial and religious discrimination have historically led many Jews to support the civil rights movement and other movements led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) to ensure equal access to schools, transportation, housing, voting, health care, citizenship, and other basic human rights. 

Yet we also recognize that many in our community directly benefit from white privilege and that, individually and collectively, we have not done enough to combat the systems and biases underpinning that privilege. This includes active or passive participation in systemic efforts to marginalize and exclude non-white people from our communities, entrench racial disparities in our education, criminal justice, and economic systems, and deny predominantly Black and brown communities needed public services. It also includes discrimination against Jews of color, who make up a significant portion of the Jewish population and yet are chronically underrepresented in American Jewish culture. 

We condemn racism in its most blatant and violent forms, including rising threats from neo-Nazis and white supremacists, the misapplication of justice and the violation of human rights by police, and mass incarceration. It also recognizes that achieving racial justice means confronting the ways in which racism affects our families, our community, and our Havurah. We also consider the fight for racial justice to be deeply aligned with Jewish values of ‘tzedek’ (social justice) and ‘tikkun olam’ (repairing the world). 

Through the Antiracism Task Force, Hill Havurah is working to encourage greater awareness and understanding of the many ways that racism affects and diminishes our community, to become both more active in the fight for racial justice, and to adopt actively antiracist* policies and organizational practices. To achieve this, we intend to work with local organizations that are BIPOC-led and are actively pursuing racial justice missions, and to host/co-host events where we can broaden our understanding about how we can work towards racial justice  at home and across the country. We also intend to turn the focus inward and pursue avenues to become more actively antiracist in our individual lives and as a congregation.

Specifically, Hill Havurah:

  • Has established an Antiracism Task Force to raise awareness of racial justice issues within our community and facilitate the adoption of antiracist congregational policies. 
  • Is committed to making our congregation an open and welcoming community for Jews of color and non-Jewish family members of color.
  • Hosts events, workshops, and dialogues to educate our members about and advance policies combating racial discrimination and systemic racism, specifically as they affect:
  • Hill Havurah and the surrounding community
  • The Jewish community at large
  • All facets of American life, including but not limited to our government, health care, housing, education, law enforcement, economic, and criminal justice systems and the effects of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Provides support for, amplifies the work of, and partners with organizations within our local DC and Capitol Hill community dedicated to pursuing racial equity and justice.

*Racial justice is defined as the systematic fair treatment of people of all races that results in equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone. Racial equity advances the structures, systems, practices and cultural narratives in society that provide true situational fairness and equal opportunity for people of all races. The pursuit of racial equity recognizes that the social construct of race has been used to sustain a false hierarchy of human value that favors some racial groups over others (privileging “Whiteness”) and determines access to resources and opportunities. (Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation and Temple Sinai in DC)

 

*Antiracism is defined as the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably. (Source: Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be An Antiracist and Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre) 

 

Hill Havurah is situated in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC, occupying the ancestral lands of the Anacostan/Nacotchtank and Piscataway peoples. We recognize the genocide, forceful removal and displacement of the peoples whose lands and territories were stolen from them. We recognize  that the consequences of this removal continue to affect these Indigenous communities, and acknowledge the resilience, strength, and enduring presence of Indigenous people in our community today. 

The fight for racial justice is especially important for Hill Havurah given our location steps away from our nation’s Capitol, a building which, along with many government buildings across the city, was built with the labor of  enslaved Black Americans.  

 

Other Resources

Jews of Color Initiative, a national effort focused on building and advancing the professional, organizational and communal field for Jews of Color. 

Black Yids Matter, a national organizing project created by and for Black Jews.

Mitsui Collective, building resilient communities through embodied Jewish practice and multiracial justice centered around those historically placed at the margins of Jewish life.

Jewtina Y Co, an anti-racist, anti-oppressive Jewish organization on a mission to celebrate, explore, and raise awareness of the Jewish-Latino/x community and experience.

DC Mutual Aid Network is a community-led, grassroot effort to take care of the residents of D.C. and keep the city as safe as possible.

Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid Network is a grassroots volunteer effort to support DC’s Black and Brown communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis.

Safety, Respect and Equity (SRE) Network is a Jewish network of over 125 organizations committed to creating safe, respectful, equitable workplaces and communal spaces in North America.

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, pursuing racial and economic justice in New York City by advancing systemic changes that result in concrete improvements in people’s everyday lives.

DC’s Cross-River Dialogue, dedicated to building understanding across Black and Jewish communities in the District. 

Anti-Defamation League (ADL), with a mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.

Jews United for Justice, a local organization that focuses on social justice issues including affordable housing and paid family leave here in the District.

T'ruah, a national organization of rabbis focused on human rights, has a campaign focused on ending mass incarceration and police discrimination against people of color.

Interfaith Action for Human Rights is a local, interfaith organization with a campaign to end solitary confinement.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Task Force at anti-racism@hillhavurah.org.

 

   

Sat, December 4 2021 30 Kislev 5782