Part of something bigger (see you Monday night for #GetOrganizedBK)
Just one month into the Trump regime, I fear I’m starting to sound like a broken record. Each time we meet, some new darkness -- that we had not even imagined yet -- threatens us.
For me, this week, that was the desecration of the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in University City, MO, where my own grandparents are buried. It is still hard to believe that hatred has risen to the point where even our cemeteries are under attack.
And yet, the power of organized resistance continues to build bridges that heal and inspire. When our Brooklyn neighbor, Women’s March organizer, and friend Linda Sarsour organized Muslim Americans across the country to raise funds to repair the Jewish cemetery, she showed the power of compassion and solidarity to light even this dark hour.
Many of us spent Sunday with Linda, Debbie Almontaser, and thousands of others in Times Square declaring that #IAmAMuslimToo. By working to bridge empathy and action -- strong enough to confront the Islamophobia of the #MuslimBan, the anti-Semitism of cemetery desecration, the xenophobia of new plans for deporting immigrants, the homophobia of targeting transgender students -- we are part of a powerful movement, rooted in the simple question that Linda and her colleagues asked: “Is it not a human soul?”
What we doing here in Brooklyn is indeed part of something much bigger -- something that is truly starting to look like a movement. We’ve seen that this week, with Town Halls in every corner of the country, demanding resistance to the continued policies of injustice, bigotry, and corruption coming from the White House.
So, we have to keep doing our part. Please join us Monday night for our next #GetOrganizedBK community organizing meeting:
#GetOrganizedBK Community Town Hall
Monday, February 27th
Congregation Beth Elohim (8th Avenue & Garfield Place)
6:15 Doors open
6:45 Panel on protecting public education
7:30 Working groups
We’ll begin with a panel on protecting public education in light of the confirmation of Betsy DeVos (who has called public schools a “dead end”) and Trump regime plans to expand vouchers for private and religious schools at the direct expense of public ones.
Each spring, I’m reminded that there’s no better celebration of American democracy than a 5th-grade public school graduation. So there’s perhaps no greater threat to our democracy than an assault on public education. At the same time, though, as Nikole Hannah Jones writes powerfully in this week’s New York Times Magazine (“Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools?”), there’s reason to worry that we have already been neglecting the ideals of public good, equality, and justice that are at the core of public education. The energy and values of our resistance must do more than push us to oppose federal funding cuts: they should also push us to do better to live up to those ideals in our own schools.
Make sure to arrive early so you have a spot (doors open at 6:15). If you can’t make it in person, we’re working to improve the quality of the Facebook livestream and will share it again in the Facebook group.
After the panel, we’ll head into working groups (more information here). You’re welcome to come at 7:30 and head straight to your working group. (And thanks to the 300+ of you who joined the #GetOrganizedBK Civic Activism meeting last Saturday, now meeting separately so they can start to engage in electoral work).
A few new opportunities at this meeting:
-- This month, we’ll have a special working group focused on “Participatory Budgeting” (aka PBNYC), our annual process of “revolutionary civics in action,” where you can play an integral role in deciding how public funds will be spent on public goods right here in our neighborhoods. They’ll be meeting right after the panel to prepare for this spring’s PBNYC vote & would love your help.
-- Next month’s #GetOrganizedBK meeting will focus on training to develop our organizing skills, to help us keep growing stronger for the long run. It’s amazing what we’ve done so far, but we know it is marathon, not a sprint. So we’ll start to ask what kinds of training and support you’re looking for on Monday.
Finally, if you haven’t seen it already, check out (and share) “Sometimes solidarity is sacrifice,” a great short video from Meerkat Media, which features our last #GetOrganizedBK meeting, and the powerful words of DRUM’s Nayim Islam about what sanctuary really means.
We know the darkness that engulfed my grandparents’ cemetery this week will unfortunately continue to grow. So let’s make sure our movement is bigger.
See you Monday night.