Since 2009, TC Jewfolk has been a platform and place for “all” the Jewish community. But we haven’t always done what is required to elevate the voices of Black Jews (and all Jews of Color) who are part of our community. While we never set out to exclude, we also have not striven to include.
The senseless, tragic killing of George Floyd and its aftermath have made it painfully clear we aren’t placing enough value on diverse voices to seek them out. We aren’t actively opening our channel to hear and to listen—and then many of our Jewish institutions wonder why Jews of Color (JoCs) “don’t affiliate” and “aren’t engaged.”
It’s easy to reach out to the names, faces, and voices that we find familiar. Jewfolk’s staff, and the majority of our board, benefit from whiteness (or white-passing privilege) and systemic white supremacy—yes, this is complicated, but it’s practically irrelevant in 2020 America where we all bear some responsibility for reaching this point.
As a reporting platform and self-styled community incubator, Jewfolk has to set a much higher standard to achieve its mission. Here is how we are changing course (as a start) in order to become better partners, allies, and stewards to the community:
*Immediate call for submissions of any medium (thought pieces, poetry, art, etc.) from JoCs, especially Black Jews. If you have anything to say or contribute we want to use our platform to amplify it. Our editorial staff are available to advise whether you consider yourself “a writer” or not, and can provide technical/digital assistance. If hardware is a barrier for you to create content, get in touch and we’ll help with that too. In addition, we compensate our contributors for their content.
*Identify areas of critical community conversations that can be hosted on our platforms – and have them soon as well as on an ongoing basis.
*Utilize our existing platforms to bring the voices and experiences of JoCs to those in our community who might not encounter such voices in their daily routines.
*Leverage our existing interest-area groups (i.e. Minnesota Mammalehs and JLink™) to provide opportunities for members of those groups to develop deeper relationships with and to learn from one another about issues important to Jews of Color.
*Continue to listen, learn, and follow our organizational value to keep the effect on people – our audience and all community members – at the center of our decision-making.