Communities of Mutual Support

The following are a series of programs and investments with the Black community intended to express our solidarity and support. While our relationship with the local Black community has been strong for many years, it became even stronger after the shooting at the Tree of Life building on Oct. 27, 2018. The Black community supported and embraced the Pittsburgh Jewish community after 10/27. However, the undeniable disparity exhibited by the city’s response to the attack on our community and the incessant murders of Black men was disturbing. After the death of George Floyd and so many others this year, our work with the local Black community became even more critical.

412 Black Jewish Collaborative

In May 2019, the Federation sponsored two young Jewish and two young Black leaders in Pittsburgh to attend a civil rights mission to the South with the goal of building bridges between communities. Inspired by the experience, the group created the 412 Black Jewish Collaborative. The mission of the 412 Black Jewish Collaborative is to catalyze and elevate Black and Jewish relations in Pittsburgh. Federation is the founder and fiscal sponsor of the collaborative. The group is very active on social media and fosters a space for solidarity and education. Several events open to the public are in the works.

Facebook Group: facebook.com/412BJC

Op-ed about mission: jewishchronicle.timesofisrael.com/from-selma-to-pittsburgh-mission-to-south-builds-black-jewish-bridges

Black Lives Matter

The Federation signed the BLM solidarity ad published in Medium and the New York Times under the 412 Black Jewish Collaborative title.

medium.com/@jewishorgssayblacklivesmatter/jewish-organizations-and-synagogues-say-black-lives-matter-a1a0f7ea6da7

Corporate Equity Inclusion Roundtable (CEIR)

The Federation’s Community Relations Council has been the primary underwriter of the Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable (CEIR) for the past six years. CEIR is an initiative of the Black Political Empowerment Project directed toward improving opportunities for African Americans and people of color in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The purpose of CEIR is to achieve higher levels of inclusion of people of color and diversity in employment, in business ownership, and in business development in the Pittsburgh region. The vision is to bring about measurable lasting change and breakthroughs in workforce diversity and inclusion and economic opportunities.

Campaign for Power

Over the summer, Federation was a coalition member in the Campaign for Power. This voting initiative was led by Black community partners with support from other diverse communities and organizations in Pittsburgh. Federation’s contribution was creating and distributing an informational flyer on how to vote “in three easy steps.”

Urban Affairs Foundation

The Federation’s Community Relations Council manages the Urban Affairs Foundation, which provides grants to projects that serve minority communities.  Through these dollars, the Federation has financially supported several organizations and projects serving the Black community including Black Women for Positive Change and the Black Political Empowerment Project. 

JOC Task Force

While supporting the broader Black community is critically important, it is also essential to support the Black members of the Jewish community. As a result, we have convened a Jews of Color Task Force to examine the ways in which Federation can be more equitable and foster an inclusive environment for Jews of Color in our community. This was modeled after an LGBTQ+ task force we held in 2018. Led by the task force’s recommendations, we implemented several changes including an all-staff LGBTQ+ sensitivity training, more inclusive marketing, and a social media campaign amplifying voices of our LGBTQ+ Jewish community, among others.

Laura Cherner

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Laura Cherner, director of the Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Council at lcherner@jfedpgh.org or 412-992-5235.

Leave a Comment