Jewish, Black, and Native American: Dr. Lonny Avi Brooks


In this episode of Everyday Conversations on Race, host Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist, invites Dr. Lonny Avi Brooks, a professor of communication and Afrofuturism, to discuss his unique background as a Jewish, Black, and Native American individual. Avi and Simma explore the intersectionality of race and religion considering recent conversations on anti-Semitism and racism. The conversation also delves into the concept of Afrofuturism and its significance. Tune in to gain insights and engage in an Everyday Conversation on Race.


Dr. Lonny Avi Brooks emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and respecting the rich cultures and dignities of others for personal growth and self-understanding. When you disregard or suppress someone else’s culture, you limit your own potential for a fulfilling life. He shares what it means to him to be Black, Jewish, and Native American in his everyday life and the impact it has had on his relationships, and the actions he has taken to eliminate racism, antisemitism, and all forms of hate. He recounts his earliest memories of going to synagogue with his brother and how he integrates and loves who he is today. Lonny Avi Brooks is busy traveling and speaking on Afrofuturism, is active in synagogue and Jewish life, as well as involved in Native American communities.


Key Points in this episode:

  • Recognizing and appreciating diverse cultures, allows individuals to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.
  • How systemic oppression, crime, and homelessness are all results of a lack of understanding and respect for differences and denial of opportunities and inequality. By disrespecting and trivializing other cultures, people who subscribe covertly or overtly to white supremacist culture not only harm others but also hinder their own growth and understanding of the world.
  • Experience of being Black and Jewish in a mostly white Jewish synagogue
  • Dismantling the myth that all Jewish people are white and looking at the depth, complexities, and similarities amongst Jewish people across the world.
  • How Afrofuturism serves to preserve and expand Black culture. Guerrilla tactics are used to showcase the existence, power, and potential of Black people. By appreciating and valuing the culture and history of others, individuals, both Black and non-Black, can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.
  • Why acknowledging and respecting the rich cultures and dignities of others is not only essential for personal growth and self-understanding but also for creating a more just and harmonious society.
  • The way that Afrofuturism and other futurisms empower individuals and communities by fostering self-esteem, creativity, and innovation.
  • Why it’s essential that all individuals know their own history and cultural background to have a sense of identity and motivation that will guide their success. Afrofuturism, along with Indigenous Futurism, queer futurism, Jewish Futurism, and Arab Futurism, provides diverse visions of the future that inspire and empower young people.
  • When people know where they come from. their history and the contributions of “their peoples,” it encourages them to be more self-confident and creative.
  • Why Afrofuturism plays an important role in reclaiming lost cultural heritage erased by colonialism. By leveraging the past and projecting it into the future, Afrofuturism allows individuals and communities to preserve their cultural heritage while envisioning new possibilities. This process is particularly important in the face of attempts to erase the history of Black people.
  • The crisis in the US with some state governments and school boards, eliminating African American history from their curriculum. They are “rewriting American history,” even claiming that there was “personal benefit from slavery for enslaved people.”
  • Futurism movements offer diverse visions of the future that represent marginalized communities and encourage individuals to make a difference for themselves and their own groups.
  • Why it is essential that people engage in conversations about race and antisemitism, and other “isms” to break down barriers and promote understanding between people of different racial backgrounds.
  • Why Octavia Butler, Afrofuturism, Black Panthers. Greenwood, Tulsa, “The Watchman” are all important.
  • Simma Lieberman acknowledges that many individuals may feel hesitant or afraid to have these conversations due to the fear of saying the wrong thing, feeling attacked, or being ignored or trivialized. However, this podcast, Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People, aims to create a safe space for these conversations, encouraging listeners to overcome their fears and engage in dialogue.


To learn more:

  • Attend conferences and events that focus on race, such as Afrofuturism or Afrocomiccon. By participating in these gatherings, individuals can engage in conversations about race, learn from experts in the field, and broaden their understanding of different racial experiences.
  • Read histories of African Americans, Africa, Judaism, racism, antisemitism, and indigenous history.
  • Learn about intersectionality across race, culture, and other differences.



[00:01:05] Afrofuturism and identity/ Jewish, Black, and Native American

[00:04:55] Multicultural identity and cultural questioning.

[00:09:38] Mishap at the synagogue with Avi Brooks and his brother

[00:15:06] Hebrew school and re-envisioning inclusivity.

[00:19:16] Systemic white supremacy and culture.

[00:24:33] Ethnic inner-ethnic war/the realities of antisemitism and racism

[00:27:10] Cultural Vibranium and Afrofuturism.

[00:32:06] The Black Speculative Arts Movement.

[00:38:41] Afrofuturism and new creativity.

[00:41:02] African music and artists.

[00:46:31] Attending Afrofuturism and Comic Cons.

[00:49:24] Inclusion in conversation with Dr. Lonnie Avi Brooks.


Guest Bio

Dr. Lonny Avi Brooks is Professor in Communication, Cal State University, East Bay. Co-executive producer, The Afrofuturist Podcast; co-organizer, Black Speculative Arts Movement; co-founder with Ahmed Best of the AfroRithm Futures Group; co-designer of the game Afro-Rithms From The Future. Co-founder, the Community Futures School, Museum of Children’s Arts (MOCHA). Research Affiliate@Institute For The Future & Long Now Foundation Fellow and visiting professor@ the Stanford Author, “From Algorithms to AfroRithms in Afrofuturism” in Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection.


Host Bio

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.” Simma is the creator of the program, “Inclusive Leadership from the Inside Out.”


Go to and for more information

Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) 

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