Newsletter   /   November 2023
A Successful Launch of the LA JoC Pro Network: Nurturing Connections and Building Community

The JoCI recently launched the Los Angeles Jews of Color Professionals Network (LA JoC Pro Network) in the vibrant tapestry of the Jewish community of Los Angeles. This initiative, which builds on the JoC Pro Network’s success in New York, is creating a space for JoC leaders in the greater LA area to connect, build relationships, and positively impact the local JoC community.

JoC leaders sit at a table on an outdoor patio with a view of the sunset and palm trees in the background
Several JoC professionals gather at a table to share a meal at the launch of the LA JoC Pro Network

The JoC community in Los Angeles is a hub of innovation, with a history of impactful organizations like Jewtina y Co., LUNAR Collective, Kamochah, and the Jews of Color Multiracial Network. Arya Marvazy, our Senior Director of Programs notes, “the JoC community in Los Angeles is one of the most innovative in the ecosystem,” capturing the dynamic spirit of a community ready to make waves. With the generous support of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (JCFLA), JoCI is excited to nurture and empower the JoC community in Los Angeles. 

To guide our efforts in the region, the JoCI is excited to announce that we welcomed Grace Osborne to our professional team as our Los Angeles Program Coordinator.

Grace Osborne headshot photo
Grace Osborne, who recently joined the JoCI team as the Los Angeles Program Coordinator

Osborne, a SoCal native herself who initially connected with JoCI through the NY JoC Pro Network, is eager to foster connection and belonging for JoC in LA. “I am excited about the challenge of cultivating community and executing programing in a place as geographically diverse and dispersed as LA,” Osborne said.

Having secured funding from JCFLA and with Osborne at the helm of our programming, Marvazy believes that Los Angeles is ready to build on its existing, innovative JoC ecosystem. “The launch of the LA Pro Network enables JoC leaders in the greater LA area to better connect with each other and build relationships to positively serve the JoC community in the region,” shared Jordan Daniels, a Junior Program Officer on the JoCI team who traveled into LA to support leading the launch. “To see over thirty Jews of Color dedicated to a thriving multiracial ecosystem energized my spirit. This network is fulfilling a professional dream of creating  a group of like-minded folks working toward shared goals.”

Connection and joy were the hallmarks of the launch event

The launch event, described as “celebratory, powerful, joyful, almost reunion-like” by Marvazy, drew gratitude from attendees for investing in learning, professional development, and unique organizing tailored to the LA community’s needs. Osborne shared, “I was impressed by the number of people who participated enthusiastically even though there were challenging weather and traffic conditions—which goes to show the value of our programming in our community! After speaking with participants I also noticed a common thread—we all are hungry for connection and belonging in community and just need the intentional space created for us and by us.”

Attendees of the launch event engage in discussion and networking with a beautiful sunset view


Nate Looney speaks to a table of JoC professionals

In a follow-up survey, community members who attended the launch expressed feeling empowered by the event. Here are a few examples that capture the energy of the group and the community’s anticipation of continued JoCI programming in the area.

  • “It was amazing, a delight to talk and engage with wonderful, incredible Jewish people of Color. Thank you everybody at the JOCI for an incredible and spiritual event.” – Shonda Isom-Walkovitz, Co-Founder of Challah & Soul
  • “The energy was like none other. I’ve never been in an environment with people that were like me in so many ways and have gone through similar struggles and felt so comfortable, open, and welcoming.” – Gabryal Rabinowitz
  • “This was one of the most refreshing, genuine, and low-pressure events I have attended within the realm of Jewish leadership.” – Matthew Nouriel, Community Engagement Director, JIMENA
  • “This was my first opportunity to spend time with other Jews of Color, and the most amazing experience ever. The warmth, openness and acceptance was everything one could hope for. I will certainly be coming back for the fellowship!” – Katrina Upah

The LA JoC Pro Network’s second gathering on November 15, featured JoCI CEO Ilana Kaufman discussing leadership and JoC identity. After the successful event, Osborne recalled being deeply moved by Ilana’s keynote remarks, and by “the level of care and willingness to listen to each other as participants shared the complexity of everything we are experiencing and navigating.” 

Osborne has high hopes that the momentum of the first two gatherings will propel future programming from the LA JoC Pro Network; she sees this as the beginning of sustainable, long-lasting communal programming for Jews of Color in LA. “I look forward to 10 years from now where JoCI is woven into everyday Jewish communal life,” she said. “I’m imagining a future where JoC kids grow up and this kind of programming is completely normal and expected.” 

The LA JoC Pro Network is one way we’re actively working towards this future, and it is grounded in the everyday brilliance of those who attend the programming. In Los Angeles, a reinvigorated community is taking shape—one that reflects, supports, and empowers JoC professionals. “In the meantime,” Osborne said, “I’m looking forward to co-creating responsive programming that attends to our communal needs for opportunities that cultivate wellness, leadership skills, general professional development, and creativity.”

Date Posted

November 2023


Jews of Color Initiative