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Dismantling Racism Team

Dismantling Racism Team

CBE’s Dismantling Racism team aims to organize CBE members to employ the tools and strategies of faith based community organizing, and ally with others (across religion, race, class) to fight for and win positive change: to dismantle systemic racism in New York City and State. CBE’s Dismantling Racism Team aims to organize the larger congregation to bring about positive substantive change in an area where racism now lies.

Community Contact Information

Congregation Beth Elohim

Brooklyn, NY

http://congregationbethelohim.org

Goals

●    Research campaigns and choose winnable campaign to work on,

●    Establish relationship with community partner,

●    Engage a leadership team of CBE members,

●    Develop the social justice leadership capacity of team,

●    Engage the larger congregation,

●    Lay groundwork for ongoing organizing work by developing leaders, building relationships within CBE and with partners

Partnerships

  • Central Synagogue
  • Raise the Age coalition led by Citizens Committee for Children
  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • Brooklyn Movement Center
  • East Brooklyn Congregations
  • Communities United for Police Reform
  • Citizen Action
  • Faith in New York

Implementation

Spring 2016

Congregation Beth Elohim hosts race in America Book Series in which 170 congregants read 4 core texts on racism and attended monthly discussions about each book

June 2016

Building on the book series, 45 of these participants, interested in further organizing to act, gather and commit to acting together

September-November 2016

Dismantling Racism Team (DRT) is born. Leaders of our team research campaigns and meet face to face with eight potential partner organizations. Team meetings continue every two weeks

Rosh Hashanah 2016

Rabbi Timoner delivers sermon on racial justice

December 2016

DRT leaders decide to organize around the Raise the Age (RTA) Campaign, partnering with the RTA coalition and other supporting organizations

February 2017

CBE DRT holds action to educate congregational leaders about the issue with 160 participants

March 2017

DRT leaders organized CBE participation day in Lobby Day in Albany, and partnered with CCC in training CBE participants to lobby legislators effectively

CBE teens collect over 1,000 letters from their peers to the Governor asking him to ensure Raise the Age is in this year’s budget

DRT co-organizes action with Central Synagogue and other faith and community allies from across the city with Governor Cuomo. 1,200 people attend (220 from CBE). Severl DRT leaders have key roles in this action, including rabbi, lay leaders and our teens.

April 2017

Governor, Senate and Assembly sign RTA Bill. Victory!

May 2017

Team meets to plan strategy for broader outreach within CBE to further build our leadership team, and power for work, partnership and action.

CBE community-wide celebration of Raise the Age victory

June 2017

DRT screening of I Am Not Your Negro and small group discussions about the history and persistence of racism in the US.

Results

  • Passed the Raise the Age bill. This new law will positively affect the lives of over 25,000 teens each year in New York state. According to the new law kids ages 16 or 17 who commit low level crimes, like theft or minor drug dealing, will no longer be held in adult jails or sent to adult prisons but instead will go to juvenile facilities with age appropriate treatment and rehabilitation. In addition, these kids won’t have criminal records which would significantly impede their access to getting a job, scholarships and loans for college, housing, and much more. They will have a second chance.
  • 25 CBE leaders engaged in organizing, received training, had a positive experience working together, and are excited about continuing the work into next year, expanding their outreach and impact.
  • 500 CBE community members acted this year around our team’s work to take on a racial justice issue and have a significant impact.