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Racial Justice Commitments

At Yesod Farm+Kitchen, we know that the liberation of the multicultural, multiracial Jewish community is inextricable from the liberation of all people and all lands. This knowledge, along with a deep love for both the Jewish people and the many non-Jewish communities we are a part of, fuels our ongoing commitment to antiracism and interracial solidarity. We are grateful for the ways that Yesod has already been a place of resource and refuge for Jewish and non-Jewish folks who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We are committed to continuing to deepen and expand Yesod’s capacity and skillfulness in being a place where Black Jews, Jews of Color, and all Black, Indigenous, and People of Color can thrive.

 

For guidance, we read the powerful open letter by Not Free to Desist, which calls on Jewish organizations to affirm that Black Lives Matter and to pursue racial justice. Their letter helped us write the following list of commitments for the coming year. Next year, we will update you on our progress, and revise our commitments.

 

Kislev 5784 / December 2023

Membership

  • We will hire a POC-led recruiting firm to support the process of recruiting and hiring new members.

  • We will prioritize hiring JOC first in our next round of hiring.

  • Once we hire more employees, at least 20% of employees will be JOC.

  • We will regularly re-assess members' housing needs, and offer that at least one of Yesod’s houses could become a JOC caucus house. If there are conflicting housing needs among members, we will bring in outside help to facilitate decision-making.

Governance

  • We will evaluate our antiracism work during our yearly process to create a work plan. We will compare commitments we made last year with our progress. We will read the letter by Not Free to Desist to identify any calls to action that didn’t previously apply to Yesod and have since have become relevant as Yesod evolves. In setting goals for next year, we will allocate the resources needed to meet these goals (focus, time, money, etc.) For example, the work plans will devote labor to internal structures that ensure retention, training, and support for employees of color. We will look into how Not Free to Desist has changed in the past year, and what organizations such as they describe have been created, then assess how Yesod can support their efforts.

  • We will create an ongoing protocol to name and address instances of racism and engage in restorative justice. We will create a process for repair/accountability for instances of racism.

  • Currently we don’t have a board of directions. If that changes, at least 20% of board seats will be held by JOC.

  • We will find ways to reference our values (including antiracism) in organizational decision-making. We will discuss how to make this actionable in the facilitated conversations in winter 5784.

  • We continually refine how we work as a non-hierarchical organization. All circles are transparent and permeable so that members can have power in the areas they care about and/or are affected by.

 

Consultants

  • Paid JOC and POC consultants will help us identify next steps for JOC and POC involvement in all strategic decision making processes that impact the broader community.

  • A paid external person will ensure retention, training, and support for employees of color.

  • A paid external person will help us build the internal structure to support employees of color on an ongoing basis.

  • We will pay for labor by JOC and POC for some of the advice and feedback we seek about how Yesod engages with JOC and POC communities.

 

Events

  • We will make sure events at Yesod are good for JOC and BIPOC. We will create a process for us to evaluate that.

  • In choosing sources and themes for book clubs and art events, we will draw on the multiracial Jewish community.

  • In conversation at public events, if guests talk about Jews as only white or only from Europe or make Ashkenormative assumptions about Jewish experience, we intervene to share information that the Jewish community is multiracial.

  • At events about crops, crafts, or cooking, we teach about the history of global JOC communities and historical Black Jewish figures.

  • Most events are sliding scale to $0, and ticket registration encourages JOCs to give less.

  • At any event that doesn’t have a sliding scale to zero, we make some free tickets available to any JOC who want to attend at no cost.

 

Hospitality and Land Access

  • We offer event space to JOC and BIPOC groups looking for a location for caucus space at least once a year, more frequently as capacity allows.

  • In deciding which tours and guest visits we can accommodate, we prioritize requests from POC.

  • Space rental is on a sliding scale that encourages white folks to pay more and welcomes JOC to pay less.

 

Learning

  • Every year, Yesod members do collective learning that is a deep-dive into a topic such as BIJOC history and farming.

  • All members commit to ongoing learning about racism and unconscious bias.

  • All white members will participate in a training about unconscious bias and anti-Black racism. We will hire Black, JOC or POC consultants or consulting organizations who specialize in working with organizations like Yesod about topics that apply to our work (such as hosting events or doing public education). This training will happen annually, and we will assess whether to hold it more often.

 

Social Media

  • On social media, we will actively uplift Jews of color and their traditions, as it relates to Jewish farming.

 

Website

  • Make it transparent on the website what our progress on these commitments are, updated annually

  • On the website, we will describe our specific commitments to antiracist work. We will describe our progress towards these commitments, and update that annually.

  • On the website, we will name Black Lives Matter among our other values.

  • On the website, we will make a statement that the Jewish community is multiracial, and we are committed to undoing the erasure of Jews of color.

  • On the website, we will transparently explain that because we cannot accommodate every requests for tours, basement stays, and space usage, we prioritize requests partly based on identity. We ask about identity on request forms.

 

Community Relationships

  • When guests/visitors/community members express desire to connect with local organizations or people, we tell them about local resources or introduce them to individuals. This includes when JOC community members are looking for more connections with POC organizations and individuals.

  • We are open and willing to hold space for JOC processing intersections of antisemitism and racism, and the difficulty JOC may face in finding spaces where they can be their full selves.

  • We will create pathways for JOC and POC community members to have influence in the design, implementation, and review process of Yesod work

  • We talk with JOC and POC community members about Yesod’s intentions and programs; listen when they express needs and desires for Yesod; and bring that feedback into group conversations to steer organizational decisions.

  • When receiving advice from JOC and POC friends/community members, we commit to reciprocity. We have conversations with JOC and POC who give advice about what they want reciprocity to look like.

  • When we seek community feedback (via surveys, meetings, etc) to inform programs and strategic planning, we make sure JOC and POC perspectives are represented.

 

Organizational Partnerships

  • When BIPOC organizations ask for a Jewish panelist/representative, white members of Yesod introduce the organization to a JOC willing to hold that role rather than representing the Jewish community ourselves.

  • As a local Jewish institution, we leverage our position through the WNC Jewish Leadership Collaborative. We advocate for funding to JOC-led organizations, initiatives, and individuals. We intervene in harm against JOC.

 

Budget

  • We prioritize paying for goods and services from BIPOC-owned/run companies.

  • We will track the percent of budget paid to BIPOC-owned/run companies.

  • We allocate funds in our budget to RSAA. The form people fill out to register for events names RSAA and encourages people to donate directly as well.

  • When we convert ma’aser from vegetables into monetary tithes, we direct the money to mutual aid organizations.

  • We will donate $180 to Not Free to Desist this year. Every year, we will donate at least $180 either to Not Free to Desist or another organization that holds a similar role in Jewish community.

  • At least 20% of money we donate goes to JOC and POC-led organizations and initiatives.

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