It is not often that we think of ourselves in RJI when racism continues unabated in America and stains almost every part of American life. However, as we approach the conclusion of our seventh year, the Racial Justice Initiative pauses to reflect and appreciate all that we have collectively learned and accomplished, and YOU—our volunteers and four special Tzedek Champions. We are truly blessed with a congregation of thoughtful, committed and engaged members who “talk the talk and walk the walk.” Together we embarked on a journey to understand the impact of racism on us personally as well as on the U.S. social, economic and justice systems…AND then to work communally to address racial inequities.
Our learnings and activities have been many: Educational presentations, community book reads, movies, art exhibits; Advocacy efforts focused on criminal justice reform, voter freedom and fair and affordable housing; and Relational partnerships with small community organizations such as the William Monroe Trotter School to multi-community organizations like the 57-member GBIO (Greater Boston Interfaith Organization). We have toured Old Jewish Boston to understand housing discrimination, red-lining and blockbusting; and traveled together on three Civil Rights Journeys to appreciate our country’s history of enslavement, Jim Crow and their legacy today. We have visited with legislators and attended State House hearings, written hundreds of letters, emails and texts and mailed more than 19,000 postcards to educate voters about changes in voting procedures in their states and encourage them to vote. We worked successfully to get William Allen released. Over the course of the seven years, more than 300 congregants have participated in one way or the other in some RJI-sponsored activity and we look forward to providing opportunities for deeper engagement over the next year.
BUT for now, we take a breath and honor four RJI exceptional women with the inaugural presentation of the RJI Tzedek Champion Award. On Monday, June 5, 2023 we will celebrate the contributions and dedication of our honorees as well as recognize the commitment and engagement of our broader TBE community. Please join us as we pay tribute to the RJI Tzedek Champion Awardees: Nicole Roos, Ann-Mara Lanza, Amy Benjamin and Deb Beck. Mingle, reminisce, and laugh in joyful celebration of all our efforts towards racial justice!