These past few days have been exceptionally challenging. In the midst of trying to study for finals, in the middle of a global pandemic, we acknowledge that you are also grieving for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those who have suffered and lost their lives under unjust and racist systems.
- We will begin to build our relationship with the leaders and members of the Black Student Commission and the African Student Association by reaching out, letting them know that we are thinking of them, and finding out ways to support them. We will follow their lead as we know that this is a particularly vulnerable and challenging time as we seek to learn, and elevate their voices.
- We created a dedicated space on our website with resources to educate ourselves on issues of racism. All resources will be vetted carefully and will come from reliable organizations.
- We will provide space for valued members of our community who are Jews of Color and members of the Black community to share their stories and experiences with us so that we may learn from them and educate ourselves. This may look like an invited speaker, a book club, or a film screening. We will commit to offering programs throughout this coming academic year that will address the issue of race inequality.
- Along with the leaders at Hillel International, we will continue to listen to our colleagues and friends in the Black community to offer further concrete ways for us to stand against racism, including professional training, and programming through the Hillel@Home platform.
During online finals and Zoom graduation ceremonies, two of our UW students, along with five local peers who attend other universities, took the time to write a beautiful and heartfelt letter to several leaders in the Jewish community. They are asking for support for their current efforts. This is a moment in time where we feel most fortunate to be in a unique position to raise up the voices of our college students, and join them in their efforts in the holy work of Tikkun Olam, repairing our world.
If you are in need of a safe space to vent or process, or just want to spend a few quiet moments virtually together, please reach out to any member of the Hillel professional team. We are here for you. If you would like to speak to a mental health counselor, please know that our local Jewish Family Service has created a special track for our Hillel UW students residing in Washington, and you can directly access their Teen and Youth Counselor, Lena Neufeld, here.