Hello my sisters and sister-friends,
Last year, I was recommended by my dear sister-friend Shahanna McKinney-Baldon for a program called the Jewish Women of Color Resilience Circle. I received the application only a day or two before it was due, and I automatically thought ‘I don’t have time to fill this out’ and replied back to the organizers letting them know as much. To my surprise, they responded back, “how much time do you need?” This was not a response I was used to getting — and was my first indication that this opportunity was different from others that I had been presented with in the past.
Quick story: as someone who has never considered myself to be very religious, I questioned whether this program was for me — all the way up until the day I arrived at the first retreat. After arriving in Atlantic City, a group of us went out for Vietnamese food before the first gathering commenced. One of the girls asked me “how did you end up in Wisconsin?”, which as a black woman is a question I am used to getting. In the context of answering that question, I mentioned my Saba and that he was involved in founding the Hillel at UW-Madison and was a professor at George Washington University…(etc.) Once, I mentioned GWU, one of the sisters immediately turned to me and said, “wait, who is your grandfather?” I told her his name and she immediately burst into tears. As it turns out, my Saba had been the reason why one of the sisters converted to Judaism, married her husband, went to Israel, etc. We both cried together and it was at that moment that I knew that I was supposed to be there – and this program was indeed for me – a non-religious, Jewish Woman of Color, who doesn’t go to shul, doesn’t speak Hebrew, etc. I will tell you the full story sometime over a meal – it’s beautiful.
The best way I can explain the meaning and worthiness of this program is to share my words and some photos from my experience, shared via Instagram:
Post-Retreat Reflection – One – Atlantic City, New Jersey
Post-Retreat Reflection – Two – – Atlanta, Georgia
Post-Graduation Reflection – Harlem, New York City
I thought of you when I was asked to recommend a sister for the program. I truly believe that you would benefit from the program in ways that you may not anticipate, as I did. It is an incredible opportunity that I stand by wholeheartedly. I am writing this email to formally recommend that you apply.
Lastly, enjoy this amazing photo of the sisters from the first cohort wearing skirts that I designed – photographed by my (our) cousin Margarita:
I have lots more stories and am more than willing to answer any questions you have about the program.
Here are some Important dates and information about the opportunity:
1. September 30, 2019- JWOC applications due to email@example.com (Circle leaders will be selected for participation and notified by October 10, 2019.)
2. September 12, 2019- JWOC Informational Call 6 pm
3. October 27-30th – JWOC Resilience Circle Inaugural Gathering
The Jewish Women of Color Resilience Circle is a network of 18 Jewish women leaders of color who have spent a year learning, growing and transforming their leadership capacities in sisterhood. Over a year-long experience JWOC leaders gain resource and support in caring for their collective survival while avoiding erasure of the multiple identities that JOC Womyn hold across our community. The JWOC Resilience Circle offers an intersectional model for leadership and community building that celebrates the nexus between Transformational Activism, Transformational Spirituality, and Transformational Self-care. We are eager to welcome you into our growing network of Women of Color leaders and change agents.
The JWOC Resilience Circle program invites you to experience:
- A year-long opportunity to build community with other JWOC leaders
- Centering your identity within a co-created “Resilience Curriculum” that was designed by and created for women leaders of color
- Critical conversations and workshops with contemporary social justice leaders
- Three annual gatherings and monthly webinars to facilitate cooperative skill building and the lived application of sustainable leadership and activism
- Coaching, mentoring, community building and partnering to leverage present and historical “Circle” relationships toward deepening power and capacity across JWOC leaders
For more details regarding the JWOC Resilience curriculum and program please visit our website at https://www.dimensionsedc.com/jwoc-resilience-circle-sisters-2-2/
For questions regarding applications or participation in the program feel free to reach out to Dimensions directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org