Agenda

Learn, grow, and take action at the Pursuing Justice 2020 sessions and workshops.

Organizers, experts, teachers, and facilitators from across our movement will lead a robust agenda of sessions over two full days. We will add to this list as more workshops and sessions are finalized.

Sunday, May 3

2:00-8:00pm ET

Monday, May 4

12:00-5:30pm ET

Registration for Pursuing Justice 2020 Online is now closed.

Schedule at a Glance

Sunday, May 3

2:00pm-3:15pm: Opening session
3:30pm-4:45pm: Workshop block 1
5:00pm-6:00pm: Affinity groups
6:30pm-8:00pm: After-parties
(All times ET)

Monday, May 4

12:00pm-12:45pm: “Morning” Ritual Offerings
1:00pm-2:15pm: Workshop block 2
2:30pm-3:45pm: Workshop block 3
4:00pm-5:30pm: Closing session
(All times ET)

Sunday, May 3

Rooted in Justice, Rising up in Solidarity

Resistance and survival are our birthright — we were made for this moment. Our people have survived genocide and fascism, deportation and slavery. Our ancestors fought for liberation and democracy. We are rooted in a legacy of pursuing justice. We are a growing erev rav, a mixed multitude; we must bring the great diversity of our offerings together in service of our collective future. Our tradition instructs us to build the mishkan, sanctuary, together. Today, we are called to rise as one and create new possibilities of the world we most want to live in. Join us for an opening session that will ground us in the wisdom and resilience we already have within us to guide us in solidarity with one another. We will make it to the other side, together.

Speakers: Stosh Cotler, Jamie Beran, Ginna Green, Rachel LaForest, Mamie Kanfer Stewart, Rashad Robinson, Koach Frazier, Greisa Martinez, April Baskin, Samia Mansour, Yoshi Silverstein, Brittany White, Graie Hagans, Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Mark Takano

2:00 – 3:15 PM

(All times ET)

Workshop Block #1

Speakers: Eddie Chavez Calderon, Sasha Raskin-Yin; Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer

Who belongs in the United States? Immigration debates and xenophobic rhetoric have always been a part of our political and civil history and contemporary discourse. As they both ramp up, it is imperative to understand the roots and impacts of our immigration systems. In this workshop with Avodah and HIAS, we’ll explore how the forceful seizure of land, people, wealth, and power was legalized and how white supremacy and white nationalism are part of U.S. policy as a result. Using the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program and the crisis at the U.S./Mexico border as case studies, we will explore how today’s policies are a continuation of this trajectory and develop action plans to serve as allies and advocates for impacted people.

Note: this session has a capacity limit of 50 participants. If you are not admitted to the session from the waiting room, we encourage you to participate in one of the other offerings. 

Speakers: Rabbi David Jaffe, Abby Levine, Yehudah Webster, Michelle Weiser

Moral imagination can create hope where there was despair, and resilience where there was discouragement. Join this interactive session to learn how Jewish spiritual practices drawn from Mussar (applied Jewish ethics) and Chassidut (applied Jewish mysticism) can help progressive activists approach interpersonal and communal challenges. Session facilitators from Inside Out Wisdom and Action’s Ovdim Leaders Cohort will share their experiences with these practices, leading scenarios that teach several practices, provide a chance to try them out, and understand how to apply them to bring new perspective, grounding and creativity to your activism.

Speakers: Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block , Amy Fischer, Matt Hom, Sue Ellen Dodell, Barry Price

What do we get when grassroots activists and professional advocates in Washington have a Congressional representative’s staff on speed dial, steadily working together to help a representative be the best they can be? Progressive power. In this session we’ll discuss how the relational building blocks of power fit together, as well as how activists working locally can collaborate with advocates in Washington to shift policies, protect communities, and bring us closer to multiracial democracy.

Speakers: Rachel Plattus, Nadav David, Kate Poole

From billionaires to unjust wars, there are some big problems with our current economic and governance systems. What would more democratic, just, and sustainable versions look like? In this participatory workshop we’ll learn about the forces at work in our current systems and how to build the alternatives we deserve. We’ll lift up innovative strategies in use right now, as well as Jewish histories and herstories of mutualism and solidarity economies that have returned wealth and decision-making power to communities. This session will provide analysis and strategies to take home and put into action.

Note: this session has a capacity limit of 20 participants. If you are not admitted to the session from the waiting room, we encourage you to participate in one of the other offerings. 

Speakers: Tamara Fish, Megan Madison, Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner

COVID-19 disproportionately affects black and brown people, frequently with deadly consequences. Black and brown people are also disproportionately employed in lower wage service sector jobs. Prior to the pandemic, these jobs were not important enough to pay a living wage and now they are essential and considered on the front lines. In this highly interactive session, we will examine the complexities of privilege in this pandemic, draw inspiration for ethical treatment of the poor from our Jewish text, and work cooperatively to brainstorm practical actions, both personal and systemic, to correct our direct and indirect contribution to these inequities. Park guilt, blame, and contention at the door; these are impediments to the urgent and sacred work we will undertake.  

Speakers: Amy Spitalnick

Integrity First for America (IFA) is the civil rights nonprofit behind Sines v. Kessler, a groundbreaking federal lawsuit that seeks to hold accountable the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other far-right extremists who conspired to orchestrate a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017. This suit — scheduled to go to trial this fall — has the potential to bankrupt and dismantle the leaders and hate groups at the center of this movement. The case is all the more urgent as extremists seek to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to spread hate, violence, and terror. Join IFA Executive Director Amy Spitalnick to learn more about this landmark lawsuit and the broader fight against white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate.

Speakers: Dove Kent, Adrienne Evans, Brigid Flaherty

How do we ACTUALLY change our economy and create a democracy for all of us? How do we turn people away from white nationalism and towards a just society? We need a large scale, multi-racial, multi-class movement that spans towns, cities, and rural communities across the country. Learn from the leading national organizers doing the most exciting transformative experiments across rural and urban lines to build power, counter white nationalism, reshape democracy, and win bold change.

3:30 – 4:45 PM

Affinity Groups

Deepening our connection to one another makes us more powerful. Affinity spaces are one way to build relationships with people who share our experiences. Our affinity facilitators are striving to create a space for more interaction, more vulnerability and more connection. These short sessions are not workshops, but a chance to connect with people who have some shared identities and experiences. We hope you will check out the conference platform before the conference and consider joining one of the affinity groups during Pursuing Justice. (Note: after registering, you will get an email giving you access to the conference platform; it may take a day or two for this email to come through.)

5:00 – 6:00 PM

After-Parties

Some of our favorite parts of Pursuing Justice are when we get to enjoy singing and dancing together in community in the evenings. We hope you’ll join us as we try to bring these experiences online with a Community Sing, a Dance Party, and a “Happy Hour” Schmooze! Check out the conference platform for details. (Note: after registering, you will get an email giving you access to the conference platform; it may take a day or two for this email to come through.)

6:30 – 8:00 PM

Monday, May 4

Morning Ritual Offerings

Speakers: Rabbi Amy Eilberg

We will ground ourselves in silence, chant, and selections from the traditional morning service to prepare us for our day of learning.  All are welcome, whatever your experience with Jewish prayer or meditation. Come and be nourished.

Speakers: Yoshi Silverstein

Join us for Jewish movement sessions that engage body, mind, and spirit. Expect dynamic, engaging, and seriously playful learning that will enable you to bring greater intention, skill, and range to the ways you move and generate embodied creative expression. Expect to spend the majority of movement breaks moving (mostly low to moderate intensity) and ideally dress in comfortable, non-restrictive clothing. Sneakers *or* bare feet (socks ok too) are both fine.

Speakers: Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner

Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner will lead us in an inspiring meditation that connects to our conference themes; who we need to be to learn, to teach, to connect, and ready ourselves for our future. Our time will include pieces of liturgy and silence as we travel through all four worlds. We are offering this meditation as audio only to encourage you to take this time to step or look away from your computer.

Speakers: Janna Diamond

Join us as we explore the truth of the moment and meet what emotions within us ache to move through us. Whether you’re holding grief, fear, anger, all three or none, this is an opportunity to regulate your nervous system with somatic tools, and engage your whole self for collective healing. We’ll clear out some emotional stagnancy and make space for more courage, connection, and aliveness. Bring a pillow!

Speakers: Rae Abileah, Rakia Sky Beimel, Keshira haLev Fife, Rachel Kann, Liviah Wessely

Please join us as we start our day with grounding, inspiration and ritual practice.  Using the Kohenet netivot (priestess archetypes) as a framework for centering and lifting up marginalized voices, we’ll do some learning, offer collective prayers, and ground ourselves through song as we prepare to move into our day.

12:00 – 12:45 PM

Workshop Block #2

Speakers: Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, Adam Lioz, Tram Nguyen, Mondale Robinson, Ginna Green

For decades, freedom fighters and activists, attorneys and organizers have used the streets, the courts, the media and more to realize an American promise that was never meant for many of us. We have made progress in our pursuit of an inclusive multiracial democracy, but our task is far from complete. What have we learned from the last 50 years that should shape the democracy of our future? Where do we want to be at the end of the next 50 years? Let’s learn lessons about where we’ve been — and dream big about what’s to come — with pre-eminent leaders in the democracy movement.

Speakers: Heidi Altman, Patrice Lawrence, Angel Padilla, Karina Ruiz De Diaz, and Gabriela Vera

America’s immigration system is in dire need of radical change. Family separation, detention camps, mass raids and deportations are daily realities in a country that has largely criminalized migration — and while he has made everything worse, the problems didn’t just begin with President Trump. We have a new vision for our country where everyone is free to move, and free to stay. Where detention is not the norm. Where immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are welcome and equal. Join us to learn about visionary policy interventions to reshape immigration policy in this country long-term, and necessary short-term interventions, including those related our government’s response to COVID-19.

Speakers: Dove Kent, Ben Lorber, David Schwartz, Meir Lakein, Derek Black

The white nationalist movement is a growing force in the United States today. Responsible for deadly attacks on Jews, immigrants, and other marginalized communities, the white nationalist movement holds antisemitism at its core and is fueled by extreme misogyny, anti-immigrant racism, and white supremacy. The movement is influencing right-wing leaders from President Trump to Fox News anchors and is shaping the worldview of millions of Americans. In this workshop we’ll hear expert analysis from Political Research Associates on the white nationalist movement and from staff at JOIN and Bend the Arc about what campaigns that successfully fight it look like.

Speakers: Allegra Heath-Stout; Rabbi Julia Watts Belser, Lydia Brown

Our current political struggles—healthcare access, immigrant rights, climate justice, and more—have big implications for disability communities. Too often, our movements fail to center disability perspectives or prioritize accessibility. Challenging ableism, expanding accessibility, and fighting for disability rights and justice are vital for progressive movements. In this interactive workshop, we will discuss critical frameworks for recognizing the social and political dimensions of disability. We’ll explore concrete tools to make your work more accessible and strategize together about how to pursue justice for and with disabled people, both within and beyond Jewish communities.

Speakers: Koach Frazier, Hadar Cohen, Hasan Bhatti, Jessica Rosenberg

“Our movements themselves have to be healing, or there’s no point in them.” – Cara Page, Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective

We are in a time of widening and deepening understandings of the roles that healing and resilience must play in movements for justice. In this session, learn about the framework of healing justice and hear from Jewish organizers who have experience working with trauma, healing, and resilience to strengthen their work for justice. Leave with concrete ideas as well as practices for how healing and resilience can strengthen your organizing.

Speakers: Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Alex Goldman 

Bend the Arc Chapters and Moral Minyans will be mobilizing in some of the most important races in 2020 elections that could shift the balance of power in our country this year.  This workshop will be a training on how a local group can be most effective in working with candidates and their campaigns to not only help them win, but also to strengthen your chapter or minyan. 

This workshop is meant for existing chapters and minyans who want to do electoral campaign work in 2020.

1:00 – 2:15 PM

Workshop Block #3

Speakers: Nathan Stange, Yehudah Webster, Emily Caesar, Krissy Roth

The COVID pandemic has shined a light on the white supremacy enshrined in US jails and prisons: to build the multiracial democracy this country has never seen before, we must transform our criminal legal system. Join this session to learn about why we must end mass incarceration in the US, how this issue intersects with COVID, and what we have to learn from the Jewish tradition. We’ll explore case studies to learn about campaigns that have made concrete changes to the criminal justice system.

Speakers: Yael Silk, Sara Stock Mayo, Jonathan Mayo, Harry Hochheiser

Following the October 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, the local Bend the Arc minyan leaders came together in mourning and in action. Join this session to hear about how they combined deep Jewish references, compelling messaging, and art to speak truth to power. Together, we will unpack the structures and strategies that made it possible to quickly achieve a major action in a short timeframe and leverage the temporary spotlight while managing personal and communal trauma. Participants will have the opportunity to apply lessons learned from Pittsburgh to their geographic contexts and participate in some “artivism.”

Note: this session has a capacity limit of 40 participants. If you are not admitted to the session from the waiting room, we encourage you to participate in one of the other offerings. 

Speakers: Rachel Plattus, Nadav David, Kate Poole

From billionaires to unjust wars, there are some big problems with our current economic and governance systems. What would more democratic, just, and sustainable versions look like? In this participatory workshop we’ll learn about the forces at work in our current systems and how to build the alternatives we deserve. We’ll lift up innovative strategies in use right now, as well as Jewish histories and herstories of mutualism and solidarity economies that have returned wealth and decision-making power to communities. This session will provide analysis and strategies to take home and put into action.

Note: this session has a capacity limit of 20 participants. If you are not admitted to the session from the waiting room, we encourage you to participate in one of the other offerings. 

Speakers: Sanaa Abrar, Heron Greenesmith, Yaz Mendez Nuñez, Arielle Gingold

White supremacy is woven into the fabric of our nation whether we see it or not. In particular, the discourse around child welfare and immigration issues often leaves out the fundamental and oppressive underpinnings upon which each system is built and maintained. In this workshop we’ll explore how to actually see how white supremacy is institutionalized in the United States in these two case studies, and what we can do to help dismantle these systems. We’ll also explore a significant piece of this puzzle in this conversation—how the Christian right acts as the moral basis for the insidious logic of white supremacy, in these systems and beyond.

Speakers: Tamara Fish, Megan Madison, Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner

What work, perspectives, and inspirations would emerge if the starting point for engaging racial justice were determined by Jews of Color (JOC)? What might arise from our interests, passions, and insights when we decide what the conversation ought to look like? This workshop is a starting point for a re-visioning a re-forming of Judaism with regards to racial justice from within our own cultural traditions. Accordingly, this workshop is exclusively by Jews of Color for Jews of Color. If you do not identify as a Jew of Color, please do not attend this session.

Note: this session is only open to people who identify as Jews of Color.

Speakers: Amelia Paradise, Chris Messinger, Diana Falchuk, Franny Silverman, Helen Bennett

With a critical mass of Jews taking action against racism and white supremacy — many for the first time — there is particular need for white Jews to interrupt whiteness and act in solidarity with other targeted communities. In this session presented by members of Tzedek Lab’s white folks caucus, we’ll discuss and embody how white Jews can challenge and support their communities to take accountable action to end white supremacy. The session will focus on Jews who self-identify as white racially and may identify ethnically in myriad ways. This session is participatory and encourages vulnerability.

Speakers: Amy Spitalnick

Integrity First for America (IFA) is the civil rights nonprofit behind Sines v. Kessler, a groundbreaking federal lawsuit that seeks to hold accountable the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other far-right extremists who conspired to orchestrate a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017. This suit — scheduled to go to trial this fall — has the potential to bankrupt and dismantle the leaders and hate groups at the center of this movement. The case is all the more urgent as extremists seek to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to spread hate, violence, and terror. Join IFA Executive Director Amy Spitalnick to learn more about this landmark lawsuit and the broader fight against white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate.

2:30 – 3:45 PM

The Arc Bends Towards Those Who Pull the Hardest

During periods of great upheaval, alongside loss there is possibility. There is an opening for the right to further entrench their power, but there is also the opportunity for our collective longings to become reality. We have responsibility at this time: to build the kind of multiracial coalition that we’ve never seen before; to create a level of demand that stretches our imaginations; to insist that our government be by, for and of the people; to organize in ways that build our deepest belonging to each other. In this closing session, we will hear from national leaders who are showing us the way through word and action.

Speakers: Alicia Garza, Stosh Cotler, Naomi Klein, Mónica Gomery, Eric Ward, Dania Rajendra, Dove Kent , Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Andy Levin

4:00 – 5:30 PM

Presented By

Bend the Arc is uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the U.S.

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