Behind-the-Scenes of the Empower Fellowship

In partnership with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, this fall JOIN for Justice launched a new initiative as part of the Jewish Organizing Fellowship for Jews with disabilities, called the Empower Fellowship. As part of this initiative, Empower Fellows, their Placements, and the whole cohort will have access to trainings and coaching about the intersections of disability, organizing and Judaism.

We sat down with Fellowship Director, Allegra Heath-Stout, and Executive Director, Karla Van Praag, to learn more about how this initiative came to be, why it’s important, what they’ve learned through this process, and more! Check out the video to learn more. (Visual descriptions of the video can be found at the bottom of this page.)

To learn more about disability and justice, please check out the links below:

  • Lydia X. Z. Brown’s website: Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They were part of JOIN’s Advisory committee for creating the Empower Fellowship.
  • Sins Invalid: Sins Invalid is a disability justice based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and LGBTQ / gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized.
  • Rabbi Lauren Tuchman’s ELI Talk: Rabbi Lauren Tuchman received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018 and is, as far as she is aware, the first blind woman in the world to enter the rabbinate. She was on the Empower Fellowship advisory committee, and is an alum of several JOIN programs.

Visual description of the video:

Two white women sit in chairs facing each other for conversation. The video opens with JOIN’s logo, then text that says “This fall, JOIN launched our new Empower Fellowship. This is a Fellowship within the Empower Fellowship for Jews with disabilities. It includes disability-related trainings and coaching for Empower Fellows, their Placement organizations, and the broader cohort. We sat down with JOIN staff to get a behind-the-scenes look at this program.”

The first speaker is Allegra Heath-Stout, Fellowship Director, second speaker is Karla Van Praag, Executive Director. 

At 00:54 there’s a photo of Allegra and another Fellow at a Raise Up Massachusetts action. 

At 2:06 there’s text on the screen that says “Why is it important to center disability in our justice work?”

At 3:04 there’s a photo of disability rights activist from a 1977 action in San Francisco for Section 504. 

At 3:16 the text says “What have you learned from this process?”

At 3:44 the text says “What are your hopes for the impact of this program?”

At 5:01 the text reads “What has been most exciting in this work?”

The final screen says “For more information, please visit” with a logo at the bottom that says “Supported by CJP.”

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