Registration is open for our 2021 course offering! You can learn more below and register here.
The course runs from February 28 – April 17.
About Don’t Kvetch, Organize!: Organizing in a New Era
In early 2021, we will be offering our seven week online course, Don’t Kvetch, Organize! Guided by experienced trainers and instructors, we will examine different ways that community organizing has been used to build a more just world for all and how our Jewish tradition and history inform our own commitments and approaches to acting for justice.
After an incredibly challenging year, this special edition of the course has been designed to help us take stock of where we are now and the opportunities for creating change as we move forward in 2021. As the pandemic continues, Don’t Kvetch, Organize! will offer skills and insights for people seeking to organize in this time of crisis, and will support participants to get involved in their communities as they learn.
We are particularly excited because we will be hosting our fourth cohort for Jews of Color in the course. This cohort will learn together how community organizing skills and frameworks can support their Jewish and justice work. The course also provides a platform to engage with other Jews of Color across the country who are working for social justice, while building relationships with each other through participating in the course together.
Graie Hagans – Senior Trainer
Graie Hagans, Bend the Arc’s Vision Praxis Director, provides supervision and oversight to the Selah Leadership Program and ensures its integration into Bend the Arc’s full complement of leadership development and training work. Graie also co-leads the organizational Racial Equity Team and advises all parts of the organization in ensuring that we hold collective responsibility for our internal and external-facing racial equity goals.
Graie holds a MPP from Rutgers University, and serves on the board of the Philadelphia Student Union and Jews in All Hues. He is a native of St. Louis and has a deep love for the Midwest. Before joining Bend the Arc, Graie was an interfaith organizer with the Faith in Action Network. He is a transmasculine Black Jewish G*d fearing justice lover.
Leili Herlinda Davari – Course Instructor
Leili Herlinda Davari, a Mexican and Iranian heritage Jewish Woman of Color, joined Bend the Arc as the Bay Area Regional Organizer in March 2016. During that time, she supported leaders to organize on issues including CA Statewide immigration protections, the DREAM Act, Money Bail Reform, congressional electoral campaigning, and co-organized monthly Shabbats with and for Jewish People of Color. As of July 2019, Leili is the Selah Leadership Program Manager aimed at developing Jewish Leaders of Color. Through Selah, Leili looks forward to utilizing her passion and experience to help strengthen, support, and sustain the leadership of Jewish People of Color.
The cohort meetings… felt really empowering. I’ve never been in a JOC space before, let alone a JOC organizing space. My fellow cohort members are wonderful… I feel very grateful for this space!
This was hugely helpful … and I’m very much looking forward to continuing this work into the future.
I have learned to be patient with the long process, have small achievable goals along the way and make changes to the plan without letting my mistakes get me down.
By participating in the Jews of Color Cohort you will gain:
- A community of peers who also identify as Jews of Color that share language and knowledge to support your work tackling issues you care about, even after the course!
- A natural and powerful connection between your Jewish identity and your commitment to acting for justice;
- Stories that give a behind the scenes look at different organizing efforts, both iconic and lesser known;
- An understanding of one community organizing model and how it can be used in a practical way to effectively address issues, big and small;
- An analysis of widening economic disparity, and insight into how to work across lines of race and other identities;
- A fast track introduction to Social Justice Organizing and access to network of Social Justice professionals;
Participants will have the opportunity to learn from Expert Trainers including many leading organizers, scholars, and cutting edge professionals such as:
- Yavilah McCoy: Yavilah McCoy is the CEO and Executive Director of Dimensions, which is a women and Jewish People of Color led nonprofit that provides training and consultancy in diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Marshall Ganz: social movement legend, world-renowned thought leader, Harvard educator
- Dove Kent: former Executive Director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) in New York, now works as Senior Strategy Officer at Bend the Arc.
- Rabbi Jonah Pesner: Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
- Heather Booth: nationally recognized and long-time civil rights organizer
- Ruth Messinger: former president of the American Jewish World Service, currently serving as their Global Ambassador
- The course will run from February 28 – April 17, 2021.
- Content is taught by experienced trainers and visionary Jewish leaders;
- Participants can watch weekly online training videos on their own time.
- Graie and Leili will lead four live, online meetings for JOC cohort participants to build relationships, reflect together on what they’re learning, and push their learning further.
- On average the course has approximately 3 hours of coursework per week.
- Course content is accessible to most screen readers, and all pre-recorded materials will be closed captioned (and closed captioning is available upon request for live online sessions). For more information to make sure this course will be accessible to you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“One key message that I am taking away from this course is the idea that Judaism is a radical tradition. That themes of justice and equity are embedded throughout Jewish tradition. Woven into even the most mainstream of rituals (like Shabbat, for example). Before this class, I felt like I had a few explicit connection points between Judaism and my social justice values. Now I feel like the whole of Jewish tradition is a connection. I am excited to continue to wake up to the radical potential in everyday Judaism–drawing upon it as I continue my work.”
You can see more information about the course syllabus here.
Who is the Jews of Color cohort meant for?
- Jews of Color who want to build relationships with other JOCs across the country
- Anyone who identifies as a person of color and either identifies as Jewish or has a connection and interest in exploring community organizing through a Jewish lens. Non-Jewish people of color who enroll in Don’t Kvetch, Organize! are invited and welcome to join the Jews of Color cohort.
Who is the course meant for?
- People who made new commitments to justice work in 2020 and are looking for a way to deepen their engagement.
- People who would like take action in their community on issues exacerbated by the pandemic, with an eye towards larger systemic change.
- People who organized around the election and are eager to continue the push for real change under the new administration.
- People who have been doing social justice work but feel like they’re not getting very far and wonder if there is a way to be more effective.
- People who want to learn how they can have a meaningful impact on issues they care about, without it taking over their whole life.
- People who want to explore how Judaism or their Jewish identity can strengthen and be strengthened by their commitment to having a meaningful impact in the world.
- The course is being offered on a sliding scale $175 – $345 based on income. If an organization is paying for your registration please register at the upper end of the scale.
- Register on or before January 13 for a $50 discount.
- A limited number of partial scholarships are available for those who need additional support. Requests received before January 13, 2021 will prioritized. Request a scholarship at http://bit.ly/scholarshipDKO
The final deadline to register is January 31.
For more information, email email@example.com