Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A teen stays true to herself - and teaches all of us along the way.

This past weekend, I hung in Atlanta. I was pretty sick and did three concerts (through Limmud SE and Atlanta Jewish Music Festival) with a cold and laryngitis. I was feeling pretty worn out - but positive about the experience of connecting with folks. I love the work I do. And I feel like I offer something unique and have what to teach.

But, girl, was I in for a surprise - I became the learner when I went to the Weber School in Atlanta. My teacher was a teenager named Marina. (I am posting this with Marina's permission to share what she's done.)

I sat in on a session of the ADL - NO HATE club that's forming at the school. Their objectives are to eliminate hate not just from their school - but to teach younger kids in elementary school about tolerance as well as to eliminate bullying.

We went around and shared when there have been times we haven't felt safe being the "real me" - and everything under the sun came up: "i like heavy metal music and no one else does", "i like vegetarian food that doesn't necessarily look that appetizing", "i like to skateboard and i'm a girl", "I liked these shoes my mom bought but a boy in school wore the same one so people made fun of me - and I pretended I didn't like them anymore".

It's so tough to be a teen sometimes. And while I work with teens, and talk about it, sometimes I forget just how hard it is and how badly it can feel.

But Marina shared her story with me. And she reminded me that yes, it's tough, but yes, you can figure out a way to find the path to your own happiness. That doesn't mean you won't get some scars along the way - but, is it cliche to say, it can get better and you can make that happen often with the support of those who love you and care about you.

Marina, thank you for reminding me to always stay true to yourself.

Here is Marina's story: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Women of ROI - here's your opportunity to approach gender in the spotlight

Yes, they've done it! They've invested in their participants time and again. And this time, I think there's an excellent opportunity for women to advocate for themselves and take advantage of this opportunity.

ROI has established ROI MICROGRANTS for their participants to help support their innovations.

In my blog post about gender balance in the spotlight, I spoke about women serving on panels, in headliner spots, at conferences, etc.

Here's an incentive for women in ROI to invite their own voices into the spotlight.
(This program is available to ALL genders, sexual preferences and denominations - or non-denominations - of Jews! In the typical Schusterman way, they look to build as inclusive of a program as they possibly can! They are the champions of this work in the Jewish community!)
In case you don't know what ROI is, it's a Global Community of 550 Young Jewish Innovators.
The total amount of money available in up to $1000 grants is $100,000 - offered in order to empower its members in their creative initiatives and extend their impact on the Jewish world.

So, ladies, I call you to action - put yourself in the spotlight - step up and out and apply for a MicroGrant. Maybe this is just the incentive you've been waiting for to take a risk and put yourself out there. Your voices need to be heard!

A couple of details:
- ROIers can apply for a Micro Grant at any point during the year. There will be no set “Application Period” or deadline to stress over.
- Micro Grants will support ROI members in four areas:
    • Speakers’ Bureau – To sponsor or subsidize travel expenses to conferences or participation fees
    • Professional Development – To obtain special training and skill building opportunities
    • Event Sponsorship – To partially fund events
    • Corporate Support – PR, legal and graphic support
Here's how you apply: CLICK HERE

Let's do it!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a big week for taking a stand on justice issues

I am truly inspired...and I am energized to do more.

It's been quite a week.

Let's review:
1. Jake Goodman and his partners at Queer Rising stopped traffic in midtown yesterday to bring attention to the fact that my glbt friends do not have the same protections under the laws as I do because I am allowed to get married based on my sexual preference. For a re-cap, click here! (The direct action starts at about 3:00)

2. I published my first essay online on Gender in the Spotlight - READ HERE - in ejewishphilanthropy.com about women's underrepresentation in Jewish communal endeavors and initiatives. I have been fielding many comments, suggestions, defensive responses and attacks as well as accolades and actions already taken to work on the issue. Please do read, comment and act!

3. Christine Quinn, City Council leader, spoke out on how the council approved an IMPORTANT bill on disclosing information about the services pregnancy centers in nyc provide. It's a truth-in-advertising issue that can impact our sisters, daughters and friends. The bill would have the centers post whether they perform abortions, offer birth control and are MEDICALLY LICENSED!! They did a study of these centers and found that they were giving mis-information and counseling women incorrectly! THANK YOU CHRISTINE and all of you working on this area of justice! CLICK HERE

and that's just in my little circle.

What has happened in YOUR world this week - who inspired you in taking action on issues of justice, fairness and equality?

Share share share and let's inspire each other to do more.

I will have more to share about taking a stand in a future post, but i just wanted to take a breath and acknowledge the richness of this moment.
Lo Alecha hamlacha ligmore - it's not on you to finish the work
Vlo ata ben chorin lhibatel mimenah - and you aren't free to not do anything (desist from it)
Vlo achshav, hey matai - AND IF NOT NOW...WHEN???