News 3 min read

A Board Investment in Tzedek (justice)

By JCC Milwaukee June 30, 2021
diverse group of people holding hands

When the JCC Board of Directors set its agenda for the year, one topic continued to rise to the top: inspiring justice and equity. Throughout the world, communities were standing together in the fight for justice, taking to the streets and demanding a future without violence, burden, or bias. The JCC heard the call, acknowledged its own responsibility, and recalled its own history of demanding tzedek (justice) for the entire community.

Setting a bold course for the entire agency, the Board empowered every touchpoint of the JCC to consider how it might invest in justice, the work it needed to do to understand shortfalls, and begin the process of serving those gaps and educating our community. Throughout the year, the JCC implemented a number of programs and efforts that would uniquely speak to this call, while setting the stage for long-term and lasting change.

Among those efforts and investments:
– The establishment of the TOV Committee at the Steve & Shari Sadek Camp Interlaken JCC, a multi-generational group of camp alums, volunteers, and staff investigating programming, operational, and messaging opportunities to ensure that Camp is an inclusive, active, and equitable destination.
– Hiring national consulting experts at Transform For Equity, who provided an intensive, six week learning session for staff leaders on the subject of ‘Building Racial Stamina.’ At the conclusion of the curriculum, the JCC also committed to an audit process with Transform For Equity, which will do a deep-dive on specific operational areas and will provide recommendations for inclusive and just enhancements.
– Developed an all-staff training and professional development conference with Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County, on the topic of “10 Characteristics of Leadership with a Focus on Social Justice.”
– Partnering with Milwaukee-based Nurturing Diversity Partners for a series of professional development programs within Gan Ami Early Childhood Education and JCC Youth Programs, focused on unconscious bias and tactics to create intentionally inclusive environments.
– The writing of a new JCC mission statement, with a clear direction to more strongly articulate the diverse nature of the community served.
– Partnering with Public Allies to create new educational opportunities focused on food justice and inclusive spaces.
– Joined Marquette University for a series of seminars, “Pay Equity Speaker Series,” on economic justice and fair pay practices.
– Partnered with Tikkun Ha’ir and identified a group of JCC leaders to participate in their racial justice training series.
– A variety of intentionally inclusive programs that uniquely fit within the JCC’s Tapestry Arts & Ideas program areas including “Color of Love”, “If Not Now, When?” “Jewish Gospel, Anti Racism, and the Call For Justice in 2021”, “Once a Girl, Always A Boy” “Art as a Form of Oppression” along with a continued investment in programs and messages throughout Women’s History Month, Black History Month, and Pride Month.

Read more Stories from the JCC 2020-21 Annual Report