These past couple weeks have been exceptionally challenging. In the midst of a global pandemic, we acknowledge that you are also grieving for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those who have suffered and lost their lives under unjust and racist systems. We see, affirm, and send love to all those who have been impacted by recent events, and we uphold Hillel UW’s dedication to allyship and anti-racist values.
In thinking about how we can move from feeling completely overwhelmed into a space of concrete and tangible action, Jconnect and Hillel UW is committed to starting with these action steps:
- We created a dedicated space on our website with resources to educate ourselves on racism. All resources will be vetted carefully.
- We will provide space for valued members of our community who are Jews of Color and members of the Black community to share their stories and experiences with us so that we may learn from them and educate ourselves. We will follow their lead as we know that this is a particularly vulnerable and challenging time as we seek to learn, and elevate their voices. This may look like an invited speaker, a book club, or a film screening. We commit to offering programming this coming year that will address the issue of race inequality.
During online finals and Zoom graduation ceremonies, two of our UW students, along with five local peers who attend other universities, took the time to write a beautiful and heartfelt letter to several leaders in the Jewish community. They are asking for support for their current efforts. This is a moment in time where we feel most fortunate to be in a unique position to raise up the voices of our college students, and join them in their efforts in the holy work of Tikkun Olam, repairing our world.
Along with the leaders at Hillel International, we will continue to listen to our colleagues and friends in the Black community to offer further concrete ways for us to stand against racism, including professional training, and programming through the Hillel@Home platform.
If you are in need of a safe space to vent or process, or just want to spend a few quiet moments virtually together, please reach out to any member of the Hillel professional team. We are here for you.
And if you would like to speak to a mental health counselor, please know that our local Jewish Family Service has created a special track for our Hillel UW graduate students, as well as general counseling services for those in our greater Jconnect community.