Simma Lieberman

Episode 76: Conversation on Race and Jews of Color with Ilana Kaufman

In this Conversation on Race, Ilana Kaufman, executive director of the Jews of Color Initiative shares her experience and perspective as an African-American Jew.

 

Her work has been featured in books on Black Power, Jewish politics, and moral resistance, and spiritual authority. She’s been featured in “The New York Times” and has published articles in the “The Forward”, “Jewish Philosophy”, and the “Foundation Review”.

 

Key Topics:

  • The Jews of Color Initiative – was founded three years ago to create some infrastructure for Jews of Color inside the Jewish community. “We wanted to answer the questions how do we respond as Jews of Color, and how do we center Jews of color and all of our conversations?”
  • Results of research and survey to count Jews of Color in the US
  • Focus on Jewish people who self-identify as Jews of Color
  • The impact of racism outside the Jewish community and within the Jewish community from white Jewish people
  • How you can be a white Jew and be racist even having been oppressed as a Jewish person
  • One oppression doesn’t cancel out the other
  • The complex makeup of the Jewish community, and the diversity of Jewish people in the US and the world
  • Why everyone’s liberation is tied together
  • How the US invented the concept of whiteness to enslave, and like forcing people into labor who were Black and Brown, Indigenous, Asian in this country
  • Different perspectives on race, racism, Israel, colonialism, amongst Jewish people based on age and direct relationship to the holocaust
  • How the trauma of the holocaust is passed down and its impact on safety and behavior
  • The younger generations of Jewish people are more and more racially diverse
  • How the Black Power movement was the foundation for the movement to free Soviet Jews
  • Jews of Color have to deal with racism amongst white Jews and both racism and antisemitism outside the Jewish community

 

About Ilana Kaufman

Ilana Kaufman is the Director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, a national project housed at the Leichtag Foundation. The initiative, inspired by a team of racially diverse Jewish community leaders and motivated funders, informed by racial equity and justice, and anchored by the voices and experience of Jews of Color is focused on grant making, research and field building, and community education. As a guest on NPR’s Code Switch, with pieces featured in eJewish Philanthropy and The Foundation Review, and an Eli Talk titled Who Counts, Race and the Jewish Future with 16,000 views, Ilana is passionate about all things at the intersection of Jewish Community/Racial Justice/Jews of Color/Education/Philanthropy. Prior to joining the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative Ilana was the Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Director, East Bay for the San Francisco, Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council. Ilana, a Schusterman Fellow who is always searching Jewish Text for discussion of equity and justice received her B.A. in Sociology from California State University-Humboldt, and her M.A. in Educational Pedagogy from Mills College.

 

 

Contact Info:

Website
Newsletter
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter

Episode 75: White Supremacists, the Military & the Capitol Riots

In this Conversation on Race, I’m joined by Greg Jenkin, a white man who spent over 28 years in the military. We talk about white supremacy in the military, and the riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Greg, is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leader who  continues to coach and mentor veterans who are transitioning out of the service.

This show is a little different in that Greg and Simma are both white. Stephon Williams who is African- American had to cancel at the last minute. We decided to do this episode anyway because of the topic.

Greg shares his perspective on the white riots/insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, where there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of people who had been in the military.

Key topics:

  • The numbers of people who had been in the military who participated in the white riot.
  • Although there were a few Jewish, Black and Latinx people at the riot, a great majority were there representing white supremacy.
  • Greg’s reason for going into the military;  not out of patriotism but because of the recession when he joined
  • How Greg found a deep patriotism once he was in the military
  • How some people come into the military who are already indoctrinated in white supremacy and other people let go of many of their biases as a result of being around people who are different
  • The military itself does not support white supremacy and impresses on people the importance of supporting freedom and the constitution for everybody
  • Consequences when someone in the military is discovered to be a white supremacist
  • The military also provides opportunities for people to engage and interact with people who are different
  • Greg talks about why he thinks it’s difficult for white supremacists to get into the military
  • How Greg learned about racism and sexism and self-awareness from being in the military. It was a place of self-discovery and growth around diversity for him
  • The responsibility that military leaders have to educate, and create environments where people can learn about each other to serve everyone in the country
  • What makes a good leader in the military

 

About Greg Jenkins

Greg Jenkins is a dedicated and passionate consultant, practitioner and life-long learner of Diversity & Inclusion, Equal Opportunity and Leadership. He recently completed a successful US Army career that ranged from overseas duties in Germany, South Korea and combat duty in Iraq to include a number of stateside assignments culminating in Washington D.C. His performance in Military Equal Opportunity efforts resulted in developing a model program for other Army Equal Opportunity and human relations efforts. He served as the senior commander’s liaison with state and local organizations, along with educational and community leaders resulting in improved civic relationships. He was hand-selected by the Director of the Army’s Diversity Task Force to help establish the Army’s Diversity program, policy and products. He was instrumental in the planning and execution the Army’s Diversity marketing campaign achieving world-wide coverage for the Army’s 1.4M Soldiers, Civilians, and their family members. He’s an experienced instructor who has provided training, facilitation and oversight for thousands of personnel ensuring quality and relevant Military Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Leadership training and education for mid, senior and executive level managers and leaders. Most recently, he was appointed as; Chair or Board, Diversity Certification Institute, Global Diversity & Inclusion Foundation. He volunteers for the Missouri committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. He’s a published author and graduate of Webster University, where recently attained my Master’s degree in Human Resources Development. He enjoys helping people, spending time with my friends, family and staying physically fit while volunteering for organizations within my community.

 

Contact Info

LinkedIn
Twitter
Facebook

Episode 74: A Real Conversation on Black/Asian Unity with Lee Mun Wah and Dr. Joel Davis Brown


In this conversation on race, Lee Mun Wah, a Chinese-American man, and Dr. Joel Davis Brown, an African-American man, talk about racism against Black and Asian people.

 

Key topics:

  • Stereotypes, and their root causes between African-Americans and  Asians.
  • Lee Mun Wah recounts issues amongst men from different races and ethnicities when he produced the groundbreaking film on race, “Color of Fear”.
  • Mun Wah shares the stereotypes he heard about Black people when he grew up
  • Joel shares stereotypes he heard about Asians growing up from the people around him
  • The problems with Asians being considered “model minority” by white people.
  • Joel and Mun Wah talk agree that communities of color are missing the opportunity to talk to each other.
  •  How white supremacists create, perpetuate and benefit from conflict and misunderstandings between Asian and Black people.
  • Why it’s important for Black and Asian people to not just focus on white people, but spend time becoming better allies against racism.
  • Early movements of third-world unity including Black people, Asians from different ethnicities, Native Americans, and LatinX people, as well as working in a coalition with progressive white people.
  • Racist, stereotypical messages immigrants get about other groups before they come to the US and how those messages cause stress, conflict, and racism.
  • The dangers of Black people being stereotyped as “model activists”.
  • What African-Americans and Asians can do to create unity, learn from each other, and show support to end racism

 

 

Lee Mun Wah is an internationally renowned Chinese American documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian folk teller, educator, community therapist, and master diversity trainer. He is the Executive Director of StirFry Seminars & Consulting, a diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on cross-cultural communication and awareness, mindful facilitation, and conflict mediation techniques. His first documentary film, Stolen Ground, about the experience of Asian Americans, won honorable mention at the San Francisco International Film Festival. His most famous film about racism, The Color of Fear, won the Gold Medal for Best Social Studies Documentary and in 1995, Oprah Winfrey did a one-hour special on Lee Mun Wah’s life and work that was seen by many.  His latest film, If These Halls Could Talk, was just released.  The film’s focus is on college students and their experience with racism and other diversity issues in higher education.  Thousands of people from government and social service agencies, corporations and educational institutions have taken Lee Mun Wah’s workshops and partnered with Stirfry Seminars & Consulting on their diversity initiatives.

 

 

Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is the Chief Visionary Officer of Pneumos LLC, a management consulting and coaching company based in San Francisco, USA, specializing in cultural intelligence, leadership, change management, and strategic storytelling. As a change agent, Joel works strategically with organizational leaders to cultivate innovative, creative, and adaptive environments where the cultural genius of everyone can be harnessed and leveraged successfully. In particular, Joel works with organizational clients to foster psychological safety, healing, belonging, and transformation. His work spans five continents and his mission is to facilitate liberation for every global citizen.

Best known for his critical analysis, creativity, humor, and an ability to build consensus, Joel has partnered with Fortune 500 Companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to help them achieve sustained growth and organizational breakthroughs. His clients have ranged from LinkedIn to the United Nations, and his “sweet spots” have included men’s leadership, LGBT inclusion, interpersonal dialogue, and intercultural communication.

 

Contact information:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Pneumos
Twitter: @joelabrown7
Website: www.pneumos.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedn.com/in/joelanthonybrown

Episode 73: From Drug Addiction to Revolutionary Fitness, a Black Women’s Journey

In this Conversation on Race, I’m joined by Pam Grimm, who talks about her experiences as a  a Black woman in the fitness world. She’s 62 years old, has been teaching fitness since she was in her 50’s and says it’s never too late to get in shape. In this episode, she shares why getting shape is so important for everyone, and especially women of color.

 

Pam has been in recovery from drug addiction since 1993. In 2013, she decided to focus on fitness. And I’m telling you, this woman is fit.  She is the author of two books,  “#empowered: 90 Days of Enlightenment” which offers encouragement and spiritual inspiration, and #empowered: A Gratitude and Affirmations Journal

She is a certified personal trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association, a certified Group X Instructor, and a certified lifestyle wellness coach.

Key topics:

  • Her story of recovering from drug addiction
  • Her journey from drug addiction to fitness instructor
  • Women and fitness
  • How to get fit in the virtual world
  • Her motto “Don’t let your head tell you what you can’t do”
  • How to get your body to move
  • Her thoughts on being a Black woman in her 60’s teaching fitness
  • Black women and body image
  • Why getting in shape is revolutionary for women, especially women of color
  • Health care disparities and medical myths about Black people
  • How self-care is a weapon against racist medical policies
  • How to get started now even during Covid

 

About Pam Grimm

Pam Grimm is a corporate fitness instructor and currently teaches classes for corporations and individuals.

She is  also a personal trainer and a health & wellness coach. Her training focuses on strength, flexibility and balance in order for her clients to become the best version of themselves.

 

 

 

Contacts

www.pamgfitness.com

LinkedIn

Instagram

 

Episode 72: Growing Up Bicultural; Deanna Singh

 

In this conversation on race Deanna Singh talks with me about growing up Asian-Indian, and African-American in Wisconsin.

 

Key topics include:

 

  • Deanna’s experience with parents from two different cultures
  • What it was like to be one of only two kids of color in an all-white school
  • The beauty and joy of talking about race
  • First experience with overt racism at the age of five from another five-year-old
  • Impact of last four years with Trump et al young people of color and vision for the future
  • Founding a publishing company for books with children of color
  • Her life experience- the lynching of her great grandfather who was black, the aftermath of 9/11 on her family with a Sikh father who wears a turban, and the attack on the Sikh Temple in her area
  • Why she believes in the triumph of love and advice for going further

 

About Deanna Singh

Deanna Singh is a highly respected thought leader who travels the world motivating and educating audiences about living with joy and purpose. A gifted communicator, she is a champion to marginalized communities and an inspiration to all those who want to be agents of change in their work, lives, and society.

Singh earned her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Fordham University, a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Cornell University. She has impacted the world as a speaker, a teacher, a principal, a leader of large foundations, a social entrepreneur, a businesswoman, an author, a publisher, and a mother.

 

 

Deanna Singh Contact Info:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Episode 71: LeRon Barton on white riots at the Capitol building

Leron Barton, author, speaker, and social media influencer joins me in this conversation on race to talk about his perspective as a Black man in the US on the Capitol riots.

 

Topics include:

  • White riot insanity at the Capitol
  • How white people’s insurrection demonstrated the history and present state of racism in the US- it’s still here
  • If the rioters had been Black most would be dead, but because they were almost all white they were allowed to take over the building, threaten lawmakers and physically attack cops and other people who tried to stop them
  • The attack on the Capitol is treason, sedition, and fascist
  • Why participants need to be prosecuted to the extent of the law and not allowed to continue
  • How some people in congress, law enforcement, and other government employees aided and abetted the rioters
  • Why some Black, Brown, Asian and Jewish people support the racist actions of Trump and the white racist insurrection
  • How individualism and the mindset of not caring about anyone else but oneself permeates the US culture and perpetuates the spread of COVID
  • The different experiences, opportunities, and outlooks between ADOS (African Descendants of Slaves,) and Black people from Africa

 

 

About LeRon Barton

LeRon L. Barton is a writer from Kansas City, MO currently living in San Francisco, Ca. A graduate of Paseo Academy of Fine Arts, LeRon is the author of two books, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American Drug Culture” and “All We Really Need Is Love: Stories of Dating, Relationships, Heartbreak, and Marriage.” In addition to the books, LeRon is an essayist; whose topics cover racism, mass incarceration, politics, gender, and dating. These works have appeared in Salon, The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, East Bay Times, and MoAD. LeRon has also given talks and speeches at TedX Wilson Park, University of San Francisco, Glide Methodist Church, been a guest of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Story Corp, Dr. Vibe’s Do You Know What Time It Is podcast, and has participated in panel discussions on race and prison recidivism. In his spare time, LeRon mentors young men in San Francisco and loves to backpack around the world.

 

www.leronbarton.com

Socials:

Facebook.com/LeRonLBarton
Twitter.com/MainlineLeRon
Instagram.com/leronlbarton

 

 

Episode 70: Race, Racism and Hope in 2021

In this conversation on race, I’m joined by Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown to talk about his hope for the future as a Black man, why he’ll take the Covid vaccine,  advice for Joe Biden and more.

 

Key topics in this episode:

  • Why it’s important for Black and other BIPOC people to have hopes for the future
  • How Biden can make a difference if the Democrats get control of the senate and the consequences to democracy if they do not
  • The real reasons that Black people have concerns about the vaccine for COVID 19 and what needs to be done to allay those fears
  • Why Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is ready for the  Covid 19 vaccine
  • What to say to people who claim Joe Biden is a white supremacist
  • How not voting is often a sign of privilege
  • How to respond when someone says Kamala Harris doesn’t like Black people
  • The truth about the Black, LatinX and Jewish people who support Trump
  • Advice, music playlist and reading recommendations

 

Dr. Joel A. Davis

Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown Bio

Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is the Chief Visionary Officer of Pneumos LLC, a management consulting and coaching company based in San Francisco, USA, specializing in cultural intelligence, leadership, change management, and strategic storytelling. As a change agent, Joel works strategically with organizational leaders to cultivate innovative, creative, and adaptive environments where the cultural genius of everyone can be harnessed and leveraged successfully. In particular, Joel works with organizational clients to foster psychological safety, healing, belonging, and transformation. His work spans five continents and his mission is to facilitate liberation for every global citizen.

Best known for his critical analysis, creativity, humor, and an ability to build consensus, Joel has partnered with Fortune 500 Companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to help them achieve sustained growth and organizational breakthroughs. His clients have ranged from LinkedIn to the United Nations, and his “sweet spots” have included men’s leadership, LGBT inclusion, interpersonal dialogue, and intercultural communication.

 

Contact information:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Pneumos
Twitter: @joelabrown7
Website: www.pneumos.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedn.com/in/joelanthonybrown

Episode 69: Conversation on race with Lee Mun Wah and Howard Ross

In this conversation on race I’m joined by Diversity pioneers and original thought leaders Lee Mun Wah and Howard Ross to talk about the current state of diversity, racism and white supremacy in the US today

 

Howard is known for his cutting edge work on implicit bias and Mun Wah made the ground breaking film on race, Color of Fear.

 

Key Topics:

  • Origins and current state of the Trump executive order banning diversity and inclusion training in the government and companies that do business with the government
  • Threats against Howard Ross and his family for his work in diversity, equity and inclusion
  • The content of the letter suspending Mun Wah’s training with the government calling diversity and inclusion unpatriotic, propaganda and unamerican.
  • Why diversity, equity, inclusion and conversations on race are more important now than ever in the current culture of the US and across the globe
  • How Black people and others protesting in the name of social justice are being shot, threatened and attacked
  • Overcoming resistance and fear of diversity, conversations on race and social justice
  • Whose lives matter? Do white lives matter more than Black lives? Do heterosexual lives matter more than LGBTQ lives
  • The fact that the media doesn’t mention the large numbers of Native American women who have disappeared, the lack of funds to help Native American communities and the high Covid death rate in that community
  • How issues of racism against LatinX, Asian and other people of color are often neglected, trivialized and ignored
  • Intercultural
  • Health care disparities that result in higher death rates for Black women during childbirth than white women
  • Howard and Mun Wah share experiences engaging in dialogues with white supremacists

 

Guests Bio

Howard Ross is a lifelong social justice advocate and the Founder of Cook Ross. He is considered one of the world’s seminal thought leaders on identifying and addressing Unconscious Bias. Howard authored the Washington Post best seller, Everyday Bias:  Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives (published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2014) and ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance, (published by Rowman and Littlefield in conjunction with SHRM in 2011).  His new book, Our Search for Belonging:  How the Need for Connection is Tearing Our Culture Apart (with JonRobert Tartaglione)

 

 

Lee Mun Wah is an internationally renowned Chinese American documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian folk teller, educator, community therapist, and master diversity trainer. He is the Executive Director of StirFry Seminars & Consulting, a diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on cross-cultural communication and awareness, mindful facilitation, and conflict mediation techniques. His first documentary film, Stolen Ground, about the experience of Asian Americans, won honorable mention at the San Francisco International Film Festival. His most famous film about racism, The Color of Fear, won the Gold Medal for Best Social Studies Documentary and in 1995, Oprah Winfrey did a one-hour special on Lee Mun Wah’s life and work that was seen by many.  His latest film, If These Halls Could Talk, was just released.  The film’s focus is on college students and their experience with racism and other diversity issues in higher education.  Thousands of people from government and social service agencies, corporations and educational institutions have taken Lee Mun Wah’s workshops and partnered with Stirfry Seminars & Consulting on their diversity initiatives.

Episode 68: Black Skin/White Fear

 

Amy Nickerson joins me for this Conversation on Race to talk about how racism traumatizes Black families.

Amy is an educational consultant who focuses on race and race relations. She is the author of the book, “HOW DO YOU SEE US?: Our Lived Realities of Being Viewed As a Threat.

This book details and analyzes what she and her family have seen and experienced as it relates to issues of law enforcement. This is not Black vs. Blue. This isn’t about sides – the black side or the blue side. This is not an attack on the overall institution of law enforcement. Nor is this a scathing rebuke of every white law enforcement officer. As Amy states in her book, “This is about my perspective, my innermost feelings about how I am viewed as a Black person in America, why I feel vulnerable around police officers, and how it got this way.” Amy Nickerson recounts numerous encounters with police officers as well as ordinary white citizens insistent on policing black people.

Amy shares her experience with race and racism as a Black woman, mother of three children including Hardy Nickerson Jr. a linebacker in the NFL and as the wife of former NFL player and now a coach, Hardy Nickerson.

 

Key topics:

  • No matter who you are, or how much money you have, if you are Black in the US your position and money will not protect you from racism, discrimination and being targeted by law enforcement and white racists.
  • Her first experience with racism in elementary school.
  • White policing of Black people by white people.
  • All too frequent experiences of the Nickerson family being accused of stealing the cars they drive, or not belonging in their own neighborhood.
  • Why white people often resent Black people being successful, or living their own lives, and how they try to sabotage Black success.
  • Justified fear that Black women have every time their children leave the house.
  • Challenges of being Black on vacation, having to tell her son, he couldn’t wear the clothes he liked because it could be dangerous.
  • How many white people view Black skin as a threat and justify racist actions.
  • Solutions to white policing of Black people everyday.

 

Bio for Amy Nickerson

Amy Nickerson is an author, speaker, educational consultant, and antiracism & social justice advocate. Her book How Do You See Us?, an Amazon bestselling new release, details her family’s harrowing accounts of encounters with police and the racism they often experience. Using their stories, Amy unpacks the long reach of racism in America, exploring how and why tensions continue to escalate. She addresses audiences ranging from local schools to the FBI National Academy, guiding conversations about race and social justice.

Married 31 years to husband Hardy, former NFL All-Pro linebacker and NFL/College coach, and having raised three student-athletes, Amy also possesses extensive knowledge and understanding of sports at the professional, college and high school levels. She is experienced in curriculum development and college instruction specializing in student-athletes’ experiences and the impact of structural forces and systemic racism on their lives. Amy holds two degrees from UC Berkeley – BA (Afro-American Studies/Social Sciences) and MA (Education – Cultural Studies of Sport in Education), and is a Board member and chair of the Education Committee for the Freedom Football League (FFL), a newly formed professional football league.

 

Contact info:

Book: How Do You See Us? Our Lived Realities of Being Viewed As a Threat

Email

LinkedIn

Facebook

Instagram

HowDoYouSeeUs.com

AmyNickerson.net

Episode 67: How Racism is a Health Hazard

In this conversation on race, I’m joined by Dr. Elwood Watson, a Professor of History and African American Studies at East Tennessee State University. His areas of specialty are in 20th Century Post World War II U.S. History, African American History, African American Studies, Gender Studies, Popular Culture, and ethnographic studies.

Elwood is an author. His most recent book is “Keeping it Real,” essays on race and racism, white supremacy, and contemporary issue in the Black community.

 

Key topics:

  • First experience with racism at his first job
  • Donald Trump and white supremacy, antisemitism, homophobia
  • Violence against Black bodies
  • Self-hatred and internalized oppression in the Black community
  • Thoughts on Bill Maher and racism
  • The candidacy of Hillary Clinton and why she lost
  • How racism is a health hazard
  • The candidacy of Joe Biden
  • Sexuality in popular culture
  • Living, driving, jogging while Black

 

 

Dr. Elwood Watson

Dr. Elwood Watson is a professor of history, African American Studies, and Gender Studies at East Tennessee State University. He is the author of several books and articles. His latest work Performing American Masculinities: The 21st Century Man in Popular Culture published by Indiana University Press.

 

 

 

Links for Dr. Elwood Watson

LinkedIn

Book interview

Breonna Taylor

Ethnic Studies in Higher Ed

My book review

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