I recently talked to Nikki Morse a member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. We discussed the work they do and their upcoming Purim Party this Saturday in Brooklyn.
Nikki, tell me a little bit about Jews for Racial and Economic Justice?
Jews for Racial and Ecomomi Justice, JFREJ for short, is a New York based organization whose mission is to pursue racial and ecomomic justice for people of color, low-income, and immigrant communities. We are Jews speaking out in solidarity on issues that effect these groups of people. There is a Jewish tradition of community and speaking out about social justice issues for hunderds of years. It is the responsibility of Jewish people to speak up and to work together to improve the lives of people. The support of immigrants is particularly important because of the ways that Jews were immigrants throughout history.
That's awesome. What are some of the things that JFREJ has been working on?
Shalom Bayit which means "Peace in the home" is an important campaign for JFREJ along with Domestic Workers United who helped to pass the first ever domestic workers' bill of rights by helping to allow domestic workers to unionize and mobilize. We worked with them to help lobby in Albany, and in November 2010 The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights became law. Because of the work that JFREJ did with the Shalom Bayit campaign and Domestic Workers United, a new national organization of employers calling for rights and standards for domestic workers has emerged. They are currently organizing to pass a similar bill in California.
We also work with a group on the Lower East Side called Good Ol' Lower East side to raise awareness on housing justice and the housing crisis in NYC, especially in that neighborhood.
I came to the Meyer Awards on the last night of Hanukkah and I noticed that there were a lot of queer Jews. JFREJ isn't explicitly Jewish but it seems pretty queer. It seems to me that being a LGBTQ individual and JFREJ sort of go hand in hand.
JFREJ is not exclusively queer but we work within an explicit anti-oppression framework. Beause of that JFREJ is safe place for LGBTQ people as well a place to to celebrate the LGTBQ community. We're not explicitly queer but, yeah it can be pretty gay.
Speaking of queer, Purim is tomorrow, and JFREJ has the most notoriously awesome and gayest Purim party in the 5 boroughs!
NH-Drag and Purim go hand-in-hand! This years JFREJ Purim Party is at St. Cecilia's Saturday @ 7PM in Williamsburg Purim. Be sure to check out the Facebook page for details.
I will definitely be there! What else should folks know about JFREJ? Can non-Jews get involved?
NM-Check out the website www.JFREJ.org. We are truly a member driven and member lead organization committed to issues with space to do projects, and many opportunities to volunteer and get involved for Jews and non-Jews.
Thanks so much for talking with me! Happy Purim.