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Equity Can’t Wait

By Victoria Raggs
Executive Director, Atlanta Jews of Color Council

As a professional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) consultant, I was very excited that Atlanta Jewish of Color Council (AJOCC) was chosen as one of six organizations in Federation’s Innovation Propel grant cohort for 2022.

AJOCC is a local grassroots nonprofit committed to fostering racial equity, affirmation, and empowerment across the South. I co-founded AJOCC last year with my daughter Ariel Raggs, a student at Mercer University. We recognized that discrimination within our own Jewish community was a problem and wanted to offer a solution. It is our belief that JEDI, if not done correctly, can cause further harm to the very community it’s supposed to help. We want to create a multifaceted strategic action plan to effectively promote inclusion that centers around the marginalized.

AJOCC has set an ambitious mission to drive institutional change by amplifying the local voices of historically excluded and underrepresented Jews of Color. Our core belief is that local Jews of Color can speak for themselves and should have agency in the planning and operations of their local community. We advocate for racial equity in hiring, multicultural belonging, and pipelines into local leadership. Through intentional programming, we want to build empowering, affirming spaces where members and co-conspirators develop a deeper connection to Judaism and Jewish community.

In addition to education, AJOCC wants Jewish organizations to take a comprehensive and systemic perspective to integrate inclusive tangible practices.AJOCC advocates for transparency and accountability to change local policies that shape access to social and economic resources. Ultimately, we want Jewish institutions and Federations, partner agencies, and grantees to accelerate their progress in reducing barriers and advancing racial equity in their work through data and metrics.

Racial injustice has been happening for years, but people, especially young people, are reacting to it very differently now. Their generation expects things to happen quickly. AJOCC wants to engage young people in intentional conversations around oppression and racism. We teach them how to have difficult conversations about bias, recognize racism, and how to organize against it using direct action.

To learn more about AJOCC, visit our website.

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