Something really powerful is happening in New York. As you read the news below, I hope you’ll feel as inspired as I do, and will support JFREJ’s transformative organizing in 2013!
In November, eight women gathered around the kitchen table in the Park Slope home of one of our members. Four of them were immigrants and work as nannies in Park Slope. The other four were immigrant and U.S. born Jewish women who live in the neighborhood and employ domestic workers to care for their kids. Together in the room, we were mothers, daughters, caregivers, workers, professionals, students, queers, attorneys, job trainers, film-makers, writers, and committed members of our churches and synagogues. This was the first gathering of many more like it to come.
We shared our vision for a domestic worker justice zone in Park Slope, New York City, and the entire country over dinner, and we kept returning to the simple fact that all of our struggles are connected. Regardless of race, class, power, and privilege, the undervaluing of care work hurts all of us.
Then two weeks ago, 50 seniors, domestic and homecare workers, and family caregivers gathered in the sanctuary of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side. Together, we laid out our values and vision for a just model of eldercare. We rolled out an ambitious plan to organize together in 2013, build trust and community, and pilot workforce development for elder caregivers and and training for seniors and their families. Once again, we saw two communities that have been pitted against each other coming together in meaningful interdependence and powerful solidarity.
Why am I inspired by these two meetings? What is happening in these kitchen table conversations and dialogues is unprecedented in the domestic work sector. Workers and employers are sitting down as partners and building a vision for mutual interest, interdependence, shared dignity, and collective liberation. It’s all starting in our kitchens, living rooms, and workplaces. Although most New Yorkers may not know it yet, these conversations are the beginning of a radical power shift and community transformation. With your support in 2013, this movement will grow.
On the two year anniversary of the passage of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, JFREJ and our partners - Domestic Workers United, Damayan, Adhikaar, and Hand in Hand -- have launched neighborhood-based projects to lay the groundwork towards transforming our communities. Through JFREJ, the Jewish communities of New York continue to show up as pivotal and strategic partners to the domestic worker movement.
We’ve come this far thanks to your commitment. We’re asking you to continue your support. Please make a year-end gift to support this visionary movement in 2013. Together, with our partners, we will continue to push the limits of what is possible!
Community Organizer, Shalom Bayit: Justice For Domestic Workers Campaign
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice