Passover Seder for Racial Justice

racial justice passover seder
Passover Seder for Racial Justice
Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Last Friday, on the first night of Passover, 92 people packed into the historic dining room of the Hotel Majestic in San Francisco. Speakers and attendees from diverse backgrounds sat together to experience a very special Passover Seder (ritual meal). Designed by myself and Annette Blum of Shalon, our goal was to create a Seder that celebrated diversity, inclusivity and built community. By the end of the evening, people who had just met were making plans to see each other again, and no one wanted to leave!

Creating this dinner has been my biggest offering yet to my ancestors, and to the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were forcibly incarcerated during WWII. Knowing what it’s like to not belong in this country is in my blood, and it’s my great responsibility and privilege to provide a space for empowerment and healing for all of our communities.

This week, we sent a follow-up email to guests, with recommendations and suggestions on ways to get involved from our speakers. The email went to the 92 people who attended our dinner, but I think it deserves a permanent place on the internet. My hope is that it will get passed around, and that the ripple we created at our Passover Seder last Friday night swells into a movement.

Passover Seder for Racial Justice
Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Nima Rahimi
San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission
Nima is the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commissioner. He is a community organizer and advocate who volunteers his time on the boards of non-profit organizations including the Iranian American Bar Association and Pars Equality Center's Generation Plus.

Recommendation
Watch:
The 13th

Get involved
-Sign up for the mailing list SFImmigrants.org to find out about events and volunteer opportunities
-Consider attending the next Immigrant Rights Commission special hearing at the Muslim community center on April 9th
-Spread the word about their free citizenship & fee waiver assistance workshop on April 21st


Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Nooshin Afshani
JDC Entwine and JIMENA

Nooshin was born in Iran, and moved to the US as a teenager. She is passionate about standing up for those whose voices have been silenced, and for bringing people together.

Get involved
-Obtain a copy of the JIMENA Advocacy Kit to share information with others to increase understanding and community
-Explore JDC Entwine Global Service Trips


Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Thomas Robert Simpson
AfroSolo Theatre Company

Thomas is the founder and artistic director of AfroSolo. His newest initiative, DON'T PANIC: Guidelines for Surviving a Police Stop, is a manual detailing best practices towards for surviving a police stop.   

Recommendations
Read: When Police Kill

Get involved
-Attend AfroSolo events/shows
-Learn about their community engagement projects
-Consider donating to support their work


Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Ossama Kamel
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Ossama is the outreach coordinator for the San Francisco Bay Area office of CAIR, whose mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil liberties, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

Recommendations
Read:
No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
Lost Islamic History
Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy

Listen:
What a Billion Muslims Really Think

Watch:
Allah Made me Funny
American Muslims: Fact vs. Fiction
Enemy of the Reich
Talking Through the Walls: How the Struggle to Build a Mosque Built a Community

Get involved
-Volunteer your time with CAIR
-Book a workshop for your company or organization- topics range from Civil Rights 101 to Challenging Islamophobia
-Donate to CAIR to help enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue and protect civil liberties
-More ways to take action


Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Chandra Sivakumar
The Wellness Initiative

Through mindfulness, mentoring and behavioral health counseling, Chandra helps teens gain the skills they need to cope with complex issues such as stress, trauma, suicide, bullying, depression, self-esteem, drug and alcohol use, sexual health and relationships.

Recommendations
Listen:
Snap Judgement podcast, including Senior Year Mixtape which features Chandra

Read:
Whistling Vivaldi
Race Matters

Organizations:
Mindful Schools
Niroga Institute

Get involved
Donate to Mission High School, the public school where Chandra works, and be sure to mention Chandra and/or the wellness program! Your donation will go towards supporting youth in their transition to adulthood. 


passover seder for racial justice

Echo Brown
Echo is the writer, performer and storyteller of the acclaimed one-woman show, Black Virgins Are Not for Hipsters. Through solo performance, she explores the intersections between race, class, and gender, as well as trauma, spirituality, and love.

Recommendations
Read:
Homegoing
The Fire Next Time
A Fierce Heart

Listen:
Podcasts: Echo is on the Lucky Podcast in the Focus episode

Watch:
Echo's TEDX talk


Get involved
Sign up for her newsletter to find out about her exciting new projects
Upcoming online courses: Creative Writing, Writing Trauma and Stage Warrior
Echo can speak at your company, contact her here.

Mohan Kanungo
Mission Asset Fund (MAF)

Mohan is the Director of Engagement at MAF, a non-profit whose award-winning social loan models are building pathways out of the financial shadows for low-income individuals across the U.S.

Recommendations

Read:
Debt and the Racial Wealth Gap
America’s Top Banks Gave Oakland’s Black Borrowers just four home loans in 2013. Four.
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau websites in English and Spanish

Listen:
Planet Money: Why Some People Love Tax Day
How to Protect Your Assets as an Immigrant featuring Mohan

Watch:
Hope is #Heretostay highlights the 7,5000 grants MAF has provided to help DACA recipients renew


Get involved
-Check out Mission Asset Fund's 2017 annual report
-Check out their blog announcing their immigration loan programs
-Consider making a donation to Mission Asset Fund


Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Annette Blum
Shalon

Annette is a connector and lifelong learner who loves uniting people in order to empower us all. Shalon was created with the mission of bringing people together at the table to share ideas and to focus on understanding, in order to pool our collective passions and strengths to make change.

Recommendations
Read:
Born a Crime
Hillbilly Elegy
Sing Unburied Sing

Watch:
The Bail Trap

Get involved:
-Participate in upcoming Shalons
-Create a Mid-Term Elections dinner
-Talk to people who have different ideas
-Create Connections
-Vote!

 


Kristin Eriko Posner
Nourish

Kristin is a Japanese-American and Jewish home cook, interior designer and storyteller and the founder of Nourish Co. She became an activist when she promised her family that she would never forget or let what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II happen to any people, ever again.

Recommendations
Read:
Just Mercy

Listen:
Code Switch Podcast

Get involved:
-Attend the Manzanar Pilgrimage on the last weekend of April.
-Consider becoming a patron of Tessaku, a project that records the stories of the dwindling population of Japanese-Americans incarcerated during WWII
-Visit the Equal Justice Initiative's Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, in Montgomery, Alabama
-Visit San Francisco's Japantown, the oldest Japantown and one of only three remaining in the US. Kristin is currently recording an audio tour of Japantown- stay tuned!

Passover Seder for Racial Justice

Thank you to everyone who made this dinner possible, my incredible partner Annette, The Hotel Majestic, our amazing sponsors (OneTable, Honeymoon Israel, and The Matzo Project) and partners (Chef Brenden Darby, Pastry Chef Nancy Newton, Modern TribeJIMENA, InterfaithFamily, and Sari Blum Photography), table hosts (Sergio, Kyle, Shane, Breana, Moses, Clementine, Naomi Ruth, Joe, and everyone who chipped in), speakers, and guests!

Passover Seder for Racial Justice
Passover Seder for Racial Justice
Passover Seder for Racial Justice
Passover Seder for Racial Justice
Passover Seder for Racial Justice
Passover Seder for Racial Justice
 *All photos except first image by  Sari Blum Photography

*All photos except first image by Sari Blum Photography