Accessing a space where I once felt so uncomfortable has helped me recognize the power of embodying my Jewish identity, whether in JoC spaces or any other Jewish spaces. Overall, this fellowship has given me the clarity that my power does not only come from one facet of my identity. From redefining my presentation, to evolving how my confidence and self determination presents itself when I engage in different social circles, I am proud to show up as my full self.
My fascination with data began to grow when I became a Leadership Fellow at JoCI, which is dedicated to generating and sharing data to make progress towards equity. When the Fellowship matching process presented the opportunity to work with data at Repair the World, I felt very excited.
I’ve always wondered how one passes on traditions, stories of old and new. What echoes from one life to another, what we carry. To be both Black and Jewish is to hear two stories of a Paradise both loved and lost.
By contrast, community among the Fellows has a different dynamic, in which one does not have to start from the place of explaining oneself or justifying one’s existence. Instead, we can focus on really knowing and supporting each other.
Heavy on the predominantly white spaces, my previous experiences within the Jewish ecosystem made discovering the Jews of Color Initiative and the Fellowship opportunity shared with me by the illustrious Rabbi Mira Rivera, feel so revolutionary. In both professional and personal ways, my involvement with the Initiative as an inaugural Fellow continues to change my life.
In Hebrew, the leap year is called shanah me’uberet, which translates literally to “a pregnant year.” This year, we are creating a new life, which feels very apropos as we transition to whatever reality is to come after COVID, which has dominated our lives for so long. It is amazing that in this new beginning, we have been gifted a year of rest and two months of joy to center ourselves and our values.