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Racial Equity Newsletter Issue 2:
White Affirmative Action & White Privilege

Welcome to the second issue of Temple Beth El's Racial Equity Newsletter, Equality!

As we wrote in the first issue, every other month we will share articles, podcasts, videos and other content that is informed by and contributes to the conversation around racial equity. Each issue will be followed by a discussion session. The discussion session for this issue will be on September 30 at 7:00 pm. CLICK HERE to register. Below you will also find more information about the material for the next discussion group and news of coming events in our community and opportunities for further learning.

Rabbi Greg Weisman, Temple Beth El of Boca Raton
Letter from Rabbi Greg Weisman

In a recent discussion, John Amaechi, a former NBA basketball player and now a renowned psychologist, told Wharton professor Adam Grant:

“Privilege is a hard concept for people to understand because normally when we talk of privilege we imagine immediate, unearned riches and tangible benefits for anyone who has it. But white privilege, and indeed all privilege, is actually more about the absence of inconvenience, the absence of an impediment or challenge. And as such, when you have it, you really don't notice it. But when it's absent, it affects everything you do.”

John Amaechi
John Amaechi, used in an issue of Equality: Temple Beth El of Boca Raton's Racial Equity newsletter
As we try to open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to the dynamics that privilege – racial, economic, gender-based, ability-based, and many others – create, I found Dr. Amaechi’s insight incredibly powerful. He suggests that privilege is so hard for the privilege-holder to recognize, because the privilege lies not in the opportunities they have, but in the lack of obstacles. It is significantly more challenging to recognize the lack of an experience that to realize what it is we are confronting.
 
And so with great thanks to Tracey Labgold and Hanita Schreiber for curating and editing this issue of Equality, we enter into a conversation about white privilege, and privilege in general. I look forward to discussing this more with everyone in our discussion group on September 30, which you can register for here.
Equality Issue 2: August 26, 2021
Welcome Message from Hanita Schreiber and Tracey Labgold of the Racial Equity Task Force, editors of this issue of Equality
As Jan and Joel shared with us last issue, the Temple has begun an in-depth exploration of racial inequities, because we believe that our Jewish tradition teaches us that we are all equal under God and we must take action to overcome inequities in our society. Our work was initiated last month by Jan and Joel, and we are continuing in the effort to educate ourselves. As it says in our mission and vision, we will:
  • Participate in educational programs to recognize systemic racism in our society.
  • Organize educational opportunities for the temple community to understand how racial equity affects our lives.
Hanita Schreiber and Tracey Labgold, used in an issue of Equality: Temple Beth El of Boca Raton's Racial Equity newsletter
Racial Equity Discussion Group
Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 7:00 pm

If you participated in the first group discussion, you know that it was engaging and thought provoking and we hope you will join us again and bring friends! If you missed the first group discussion you are absolutely encouraged to join us for this one. 

Definition of Privilege, used in an issue of Equality: Temple Beth El of Boca Raton's Racial Equity newsletterThe topic for our upcoming meeting is White Affirmative Action/White Privilege and the discussion will be based directly on the resources we are sharing in this newsletter. 
 
We have chosen this topic because we believe that to fully understand issues of race, we need to begin by examining what it means to be white and how whiteness has affected the lives of white people in our country. First, we want to make sure that everyone understands what White Privilege and White Affirmative Action are. Next, we want to provide some historical background. And, finally, our discussion will be a personal exploration of how we each have experienced and been impacted by white affirmative action/white privilege.
 
If you haven’t done so already, please register in advance for the September 30 discussion at 7:00 pm by clicking here.
 
Next, prepare for the discussion by engaging with these materials. Please complete the White Privilege Checklist prior to our meeting. Our discussion will be based on these materials.
 
Read:
Listen:
Activity:
  • White Privilege Checklist – This activity will help frame how White Privilege has impacted white participants personally.
As you read, listen and complete the checklist, we ask you to reflect upon these three questions that we will discuss when we meet:
 
  1. Tell us about your family history. How have you benefited from or been disadvantaged by White affirmative action?
  2. Share with us which points on the checklist most impacted you.
  3. What are commonly held beliefs about affirmative action today? How has your opinion of affirmative action changed based on what you know now? How might you talk about affirmative action with others when “reverse racism” or unfairness of affirmative action is discussed in casual conversation?
Future Opportunities

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, contact Rabbi Greg Weisman at [email protected].

Racial Equity Institute Groundwater Training
Groundwater approach, used in an issue of Equality: Temple Beth El of Boca Raton's Racial Equity newsletter

The Temple is working to put together a group to participate in this three-hour webinar that uses stories and data to present a perspective that racism is fundamentally structural in nature. By examining characteristics of modern-day racial inequity, the presentation introduces participants to an analysis that most find immediately helpful and relevant. The Groundwater metaphor is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that that is what causes racial inequity.

Tour of the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach
The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is dedicated to discovering, collecting and sharing the African-American history and heritage of Palm Beach County. Located in the former home of the late Solomon D. Spady, the most prominent African American educator and community leader in Delray Beach from 1922 to 1957, the museum opened in July 2001 and is the only Black History Museum & Cultural Center of its kind in Palm Beach County.
 
We are organizing an opportunity for Temple members to visit the museum as a group later in 2021.
Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, used in an issue of Equality: Temple Beth El of Boca Raton's Racial Equity newsletter
Civil Rights Journey to Georgia and Alabama
February 26 - March 1, 2022
Civil Rights Journey 2020 with Temple Beth El of Boca Raton
There is still time to learn more about and join our upcoming trip to Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma and Birmingham.
 
Trip highlights include the Martin Luther King Center, Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the National Human and Civil Rights Museum, the Equal Justice Initiative, Freedom Park and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Temple Beth El Racial Equity Initiative Mission

Temple Beth El’s racial equity mission is to inspire our congregation and community to do our part to dismantle systemic racism and build a more just world through education, relationship building and advocacy.

Temple Beth El Racial Equity Initiative Vision

Inspired by Jewish tradition and our people’s belief that every human being is a divine creation, motivated by our obligation to see and seek the divinity in every human being, Temple Beth El of Boca Raton‘s racial equity initiative seeks to inspire members to achieve racial equity in their own lives and the lives of all they encounter.
 
Congregation members who join this effort will:

 

  • Participate in educational programs to recognize systemic racism in our society.
  • Organize educational opportunities for the temple community to understand how racial equity affects our lives.
  • Inspire the next generation through educational opportunities for our Early Learning Center and Religious School families.
  • Develop skills to engage in community efforts to improve racial equity.
  • Pursue partnerships in local, statewide, or national organizations working toward racial equity.
  • Join with faith-based institutions to expand our power and depth of resource in our community.
  • Internalize the concept of racial equality and act on it daily, becoming a catalyst to have others act in the same fashion.
  • Ultimately, activate our power, our resources, our wisdom, and our relationships to overcome systemic racism and the imbalances it creates.
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