October 5-8, 2018
This catalyst is designed to lead participants through an experience that explores the decentering of whiteness and the Ashkenormativity of Jewish American practice, and what this decentering could mean for the Jewish community in Revolve and in the individual work and lives of the Revolve community members. This will include defining “decolonization” and what that can look like on an individual, communal, and societal level, with emphasis on the individual’s practices and mindsets in relationship to broader networks. In response to the Revolve community’s expressed desire to (1) form more explicit connections between Jewish identity/ Jewish values and anti-oppression work and (2) have more time for processing and planning in order to apply the learning to their institutions and circles of influence, this weekend will position participants to employ frameworks rooted in intersectional anti-oppression learning. We seek to engage in a foundational understanding of the concept of decolonization before applying Jewish learning through an anti-oppression framework. Ultimately, we seek to challenge our participants to identify one specific area of their life and leadership (physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually) where they can prioritize a new practice as they embark on a journey of decolonization.
WHO SHOULD APPLY
Members of the Revolve community who are interested and willing to explore their identity on a deeply intimate level that is also linked to systemic, political, historical, and social oppression and advantage. Given the fluidity of power, our ideal participants are those who are willing to be introspective, vulnerable, and hold their own growth and that of others with compassion and accountability. Participants should be ready to delve into learning about the concept of decolonization, though it is not required that participants have prior knowledge or practice in this regard. Having said that, given the complex, rigorous nature of decolonization work, the ideal participant should have some background in a basic understanding of systemic oppression, including understanding racism and classism through an institutional (as opposed to only interpersonal) lens. For those who feel that they need more support in their learning, they should plan to attend a virtual session hosted by Courtney and Dena on the construction of race and racism in the United States. Because every person has indigeneity in the world (culture and traditions that existed before the artificial constructs that now divide us were created), and because everyone navigates systems of oppression (the consequence of global colonization), this is a learning experience for white people and people of color in our community. While we will spend one portion of programming specifically on decentering both whiteness and ashkenormativity from Jewish practice, this space is inclusive and open to people of all (or no) faith orientations.
Dena Robinson (REALITY ‘13) is a DEI facilitator and judicial law clerk living and organizing in Baltimore, MD.
Courtney Parker West (REALITY ‘10) is an educator, consultant, writer, and community organizer living in Raleigh, NC. A 2008 ENC corps member and a 2010 Reality Leadership participant, Parker West spent 5 years teaching, 4 years as a teacher coach, and is currently on staff with TFA Eastern NC on the Alumni Impact team. She engages in systems-level change leadership development with TFA alumni and community members. Courtney is a Leichtag grant recipient and current Selah fellow; in both spaces, she develops diversity, equity, and inclusiveness learning for and with Jews of Color. She lives in Raleigh with her partner Michael (also a Revolve community member) and their plants, wine, and passion for intersectional anti-oppression work.
Before, during, and after their gatherings, Catalyst participants will share about their gathering with the whole community. Check back soon for photos, reflections, wireframes, and other documents from this gathering!