Culture

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 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 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

Episode 47 : A Conversation on Race, Health Care and HIV from the US to Africa with Maurice Graham

Maurice Graham joined me on Everyday Conversations on Race to talk about race, racism and health care.

In this episode we talk about health care inequities particularly in regard to access and information about HIV and AIDS. There are many people who think that we no longer need to provide care for people with HIV since in the United States it is considered a chronic disease and not a death sentence. Maurice shares what it was like in the 1980’s to see so many people dying very quickly, and what it’s like now.

As an African-American gay man. Maurice has seen how HIV and AIDS decimated so many communities of gay men and people of color.

He says, “I have a Global view of HIV with an American response in the people of color communities here in Oakland California and some African nations. I am using education, medical intervention and collaboration as tools, working through a non-profit organization founded by myself and other like-minded individuals, known as AID for AIDS/AFRICA (AFAA). AFAA has operated informally since 1998 and became a non-profit in 2001. I serve as the volunteer Executive Director and Program Coordinator. Managing a staff of volunteers, we have initiated major programs of collaboration with AIDS service organizations, government, faith-based, recovery and community organizations here and in Africa.”

An early activist, Maurice was one of the founders of the non-profit Aid for AIDS Africa. He frequently travels to Ghana and other parts of Africa to bring information, medical supplies and other necessities to help people dealing with issues of addiction and HIV. Maurice is spreading the message of love, addiction recovery and living well with HIV across Africa. He recounts stories about his travels and the difference he has helped make in people’s lives.
Here in the US he created a speakers bureau, Positively Speaking to go into schools to talk to young people about addiction and HIV.
Outspoken in the conversation and dialogue about race and racism, he believes in the importance of talking about race from a position of empowerment and action. His global work and perspective on social justice for over twenty-five years makes this an episode to listen to and share with others.

Maurice Graham
I have a Global view of HIV with an American response in the people of color communities here in Oakland California and some African nations. I am using education, medical intervention and collaboration as tools, working through a non-profit organization founded by myself and other like-minded individuals, known as AID for AIDS/AFRICA (AFAA). AFAA has operated informally since 1998 and became a non-profit in 2001. I serve as the volunteer Executive Director and Program Coordinator. Managing a staff of volunteers, we have initiated major programs of collaboration with AIDS service organizations, government, faith-based, recovery and community organizations here and in Africa. We are facilitating building a voice from the community perspective to affect positive change increasing the overall health and well-being of the entire community. Working locally and traveling to Africa yearly since 1997 a vision for advocacy and peer support has emerged. This vision has become the focus of my work as an educator and consultant in our local community

Maurice has been a part of two spiritual communities for the past thirty years; a twelve-step recovery program dealing with addiction, as well as an adherent of Science of the Mind, an inclusive new thought spiritual movement.
His involvement in both of these communities has helped shape his outlook on race and his practice of confronting racism with love and self-empowerment.
Maurice is a founder of the non-profit Aid for AIDS Africa which takes him to Ghana and other parts of Africa every year.
A mentor to people across the world, he is making a difference in helping people recovery from addiction and live whole lives with HIV.

Contact info:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/maurice-graham-6b30b025/

Read his article:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/treatment-beginning-addicts-west-africa-maurice-graham/

 

Episode 46 : Growing Up Brown in Australia, a Conversation on Race with Ben Stokes, founder of SocialTable

 

Ben Stokes joins me on “Everyday Conversations on Race,” to talk about his experience being a person of color adopted by a white family in Australia. He didn’t become aware of racism until his family moved from a small town to a larger city. That was when he would frequently encounter white people who would keep asking him where he was from and look at him in disbelief when the told them he was Australian. Despite having a strong Australian accent, he was often discounted as an Australian because of his brown skin.

After coming to the US, with so many people of color, the questions still persisted from white Americans who couldn’t believe that someone with brown skin could be from Australia.

Ben has lived and worked in the US for over four years. You’ll want to hear his story of how he was harassed by security agents as he re-entered the US from a trip abroad.

His story is unique and not uncommon. Despite his experiences, Ben is the founder of the start-up SocialTable.

SocialTable  brings people together across differences over great food, great conversation and the desire to connect and build community.

 

Biography

Ben is the CEO and Founder of SocialTable. His personal, academic and professional journey to date is impressive and colourful – to say the least! View Ben’s LinkedIn profile.

Born in Sri Lanka, Ben spent his early years in a rural orphanage before he was adopted by Australian parents who raised him in Tasmania. Ben started his Uni years as a Med student, studying Medicine and then a Masters of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. Along the way, he recalls encountering great mentorship by the then CEO of St Vincent’s Hospital. Funnily enough, Ben’s mentorship with the St Vincent’s Hospital CEO actually prompted his realisation that Med was not where he would be most happy. So Ben took some fairly drastic turns and completed a Law degree. The skilled communicator and leader’s story of becoming a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist (having worked on the success of several med-tech products in the US market, as well his own enterprise SocialTable, along with his building projects for his very own orphanage in Sri Lanka) is too long for me to document here but it is full of insights, intelligence and authenticity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben can be contacted through email: ben@socialtable.co or through his LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bpstokes/

Episode 32 : Former Black Panther discusses current political climate


Elmer Dixon was one of the early leaders of the Black Panther Party in Seattle, Washington  and in Oakland, CA. In this episode of Every Day Conversations on Race, Elmer talks about the history and legacy of the Black Panther Party.

The Black Panthers were created some of the first Food Banks, were responsible for hot breakfasts for school children that are now provided in many public schools.

Topics in this episode:

  • The lack of adequate health care for working class and lower income people
  • How he lives his values today of equity and equality while working with CEOs and other C-suite leaders and making sure that our communities and families survive
  • The increase in progressive people who are now CEOs who have the well-being of their customers and employee as priorities
  • Working with Steve Reinemund, former CEO of Pepsico and then his successor Indra Nooyi, as well as other rich people who are looking to give back
  • The importance of continuing to have conversations on race between white people and people of color different levels
  • Speaking to young white kids in Finland and around the world who are well-schooled on the history of the Panthers and want to organize against racism
  • The need to stood up against bullies and how the Black Panther Party stood up to bullies
  • White elementary school kids are interested in learning more about the Black Panthers and applying it to make the country and world a better place
  • What it’s like to work with police today and why it’s important to develop good relationships with good cops
  • The work that Elmer does in training police to understand issues in the Black community, and for police and the community to know each other
  • If police live in the communities they serve, there will be less police shootings of unarmed people

Throughout the episode Elmer recounts stories of the Panthers and we all can work together to combat racism

Elmer Dixon

edixon@executivediversity.com

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