In attendance:           Ilan S., Rachel A., Candace W., Jeff F.; Darren O., Carol M.; Michael F.

  1. Brief discussion of homeless community in Boulder;
  1. Candace shared about going to the BLM 5280 Community Meeting; they had knowledge of JABA; seems like it is a group we can work with; they are planning an Expungement Fair
  1. Darren shared about attending a Walk Black event;
  1. ACLU Boulder is asking for a Citizen’s Oversight Board. ACLU is going to have their annual meeting in October. Darren shared that the ACLU monthly meetings are open. [This came up in response to how do you address specific legal issues/ laws, etc], Possibility of inviting a lawyer to speak to us about how the laws on the books are written, and what work is being done to modify them; (we will reach out to lawyers in Jewish comm).
  1. Group supports Training on “Know Your Rights” & Training on “How to Video the Police” [ACLU has info on “Know Your Rights” – we could do a study session first, and then do a broader community session; Alex Landau, African-American with white parents does training on this. Denver Cop Watch also provides training. Shareef Aleem, KGNU DJ could also do training]
  1. Carol, Darren and Mike shared their experience at attending the Community Gathering on Policing event in Boulder. Plan is to have another one in September or October. (sponsored by BCAR)
  1. Action Item: August 9 – Action in Honor of Mike Brown. Check in with BLM 5280 and with SURJ. Planning a Michael Brown Memorial Walk. Rachel will Notify Daily Camera – Erica Meltzer. Ilan will reach out to SURJ, and Rachel will reach out to 5280. Ilan will do FB event. Rachel to notify Haver rabbis. Candace will spearhead sign-making (possibility of putting names of Blacks killed on the signs). 4 pm – Sign making; 5 pm – start of walk.. Michael will contact Irene Rodriguez at KGNU. Ilan will contact the Boulder weekly.
  1. Action Item: reach out to Denver synagogues/ social action groups and let them know about JABA; (include Judaism Your Way)
  1. Action Item: support for Pastor Beverly Gill, Philadelphia Mississippi – post on FB (collection of items, donations)
  1. Action Item: Next meeting’s focus is on Mission Statement. Candace will propose a couple dates for the meeting, and post them on FB.
  1. Action Item: Possibility of having discussion about Race issues sometime during the Jewish Holidays? (Ilan)
  1. NEXT JABA MEETING: September 20, 2015 – 11 – 1; Alfalfa’s Community Room (we need to clearly advertise where it is).

Vigil Tonight at Shorter AME

I was just alerted to the fact that there is a Vigil tonight for the victims in the SC massacre at Shorter AME from 9 pm to midnight. Shorter AME is located at the SW corner of MLK and Colorado Boulevards. It is a historic AME church steeped in civil rights history similar to Emmanuel AME in Charleston. The exact address is: 3100 Richard Allen Court, Denver.

NOTES FROM 6/16/15 JABA Meeting

Notes from 6/16/15 JABA Meeting

Attended: Jeff Foster, Ruth Seagull, Ilan Sherman, Ovadia Jones, Candace Wace, Rachel Amaru, Darren O’Connor, Carol Meyers, Sherry Price (Boulder Valley Universalist Fellowship); Barbara Trager; Aviva Edwards Yocheved Landsman; Molly Zeff; Rich Wildau.

  1. Take Away from the Black Lives Matter Panel?

This was some of the feedback received:

  • Informational; possibly too good-humored – didn’t touch enough upon the pain;
  • wants to know more about what specifically we can do;
  • need to not just be Facebook activists – really need to get out there and take action;
  • Universalist Fellowship wants to partner with other faith groups in the area;
  • interest in racial justice; amazing crowd;
  • really heard the trauma that people of color are carrying after hundreds of years;
  • how to be an activist without necessarily being confrontational;
  • what does it mean to be a white ally;
  • interest in action and partnering with existing groups;
  • new understanding of the struggles of the black community in America;
  • what can we learn from expanding our world?
  • Recognition that racism cuts across class and educational levels;
  • a lot of energy and excitement, but unclear as to where we go next;
  • need to figure out from communities of color what is needed from groups like ours;
  • possibility of working with the police? Vision of working with, rather than against the police;
  • white privilege – what does it mean, and how do you come to terms with that?;
  • real desire in this community to become more aware;
  • desire to widen our vision;
  • need for dialogue to understand different people’s experiences; excitement about the turnout;
  • energy of inquiry/ energy of openness;
  • Michelle Alexander’s laying out of the structural institution of racism was very emotional; recognition of how terrifying the system is.
  • Racial issues of Boulder (interactions with Testa, Boulder Police Chief);
  • issues specific to Boulder in its ability to address racial discrimination;
  • shock at the absence of people of color in Boulder.

Darren elaborated on his work with Police and the Human Relations Commission:

  • Boulder was called out by USA Today on having the 2nd worst police force in the State in terms of its dealings with racism (Denver has the 2nd most lethal police force in the nation);
  • arrest of Black man at Michael Brown protest in Boulder – only demonstrator arrested;
  • group tried to get BPD to drop the charges against JH;
  • tried to go through Human Relations Commission to foster some good will;
  • Chief Testa spoke for almost an hour and produced a report (available on the police dept’s page), which he presented as generally saying there is no problem here;
  • others came and spoke to the need to address this at a City Council Meeting;
  • City Council responded pretty positively that something needed to be done – they planned to hire Police Executive Review Forum to examine the data (Testa is part of PERF);
  • now there is a request for proposal for an outside agency to look at Boulder’s activities.
  • Darren not feeling very optimistic. He noted though that the Deputy Chief of Police, Kurt Johnson, is not defensive, and has been more open-minded.
  • Ilan talked about difficulty of working with police because they are so ingrained in the system.


Thursday, 6/18 – 6:30 – 8:30 pm

First Congregational, 1128 Pine Street, Boulder

Pot Luck fundraiser for Joe Harris.

  1. What do we want this group to be?
  • Read texts together to foster collective awareness (specifically on the concept of ally-ship and white privilege);
  • Educational programs (e.g. a panel in Denver similar to the one we just held);
  • Direct engagement with other groups (e.g., 5280 Black Lives Matter; The Kabbalah Experience; Warm Cookies of the Revolution; Bend the Arc, Truah (American arm of Rabbis for Human Rights – Jill Jacobs, Dir.); Jewish Social Roundtable; Jews for Racial and Economic Justice; CLUE; etc.)
  • Mobilize to support oppressed individuals and communities
  • Raise funds for, or in direct support of oppressed individuals and groups
  • Advocacy Issues – showing up when there is a direct need;
  • Engaging with other groups nationally (e.g., St. Louis group working to get police to respond differently)
  • Engaging Black Jews – locally and nationally;
  • Linking up and collaborating with groups that are protesting in various other places in the US;
  • Reaching out to the Latino community; Intercambio? Partners?
  • Maintaining focus on the Black community;
  • Working in the system & outside the system;
  • Reinvigorating the Jewish community on racial issues – look at our history; be a tikkun for break-down in past Black and Jewish relations;
  1. Development of Mission Statement
  • Make our group as inclusive as possible;
  • While it is a Jewish and Black Alliance, it can be inclusive of anybody…
  • Need to publicize the mission of the goup;
  • Need to reiterate the Jewish value of being involved in JABA;
  • JABA: advocacy for the oppressed?
  • Referencing a history of alliance between Blacks and Jews.
  • Language of “accomplices”;
  • Think broadly in our strategies;
  • Consider the Mission Statement of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice: “To pursue racial and economic justice in New York City by  advancing systemic changes that result in concrete improvements in peoples daily lives. We engage individual Jews, key Jewish institutions, and key Jewish community leaders in the fight for racial and economic justice in partnership with Jewish and allied people of color, low-income and immigrant communities.
  • Maintain an awareness of other groups and potential interactions with them that are pursuing similar missions.


  1. Working Groups – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
  • Advocacy
  • Press/ Media Exposure
  • Mission Statement
  • Website Development
  • Non Profit
  • MLK Day Celebration in Boulder? (possibility of presenting a proposal and getting a grant) – See: MLK Day Proposals Sought for 2016 Events in Boulder
  • Research on Building Alliances with Other Groups

Ovadia extended an invitation to join with Islamic Center to break the fast on the 17th of Tammuz (in the middle of Ramadan) – July 5th.

Jews as Black Allies