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Panel Discussion: Black Lives Matter--Contours of a Contemporary Social Movement

Monday, May 24, 2021 13 Sivan 5781

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Join us for a three-part series on Black Lives Matter and Jewish Community Obligations: Allyship with Not Free to Desist

Part 1: Panel Discussion: Black Lives Matter--Contours of a Contemporary Social Movement, May 24th, 7-8 pm. Zoom registration: 

Part 2: Black Lives Matter in our Temple Communities (date and details TBA)

Part 3: Living our Values: Racial Justice and our Congregations (date and details TBA)


Part 1: Panel Discussion: Black Lives Matter--Contours of a Contemporary Social Movement with Yolanda Savag-Narva, Lewis L. Gordon, and Marco A. McWilliams.

Yolanda Savage-Narva has twenty years’ experience working with public agencies and non-profit organizations to promote equitable access to public health, eldercare and pedestrian safety.  She is a Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-trained public health specialist who has led community-based efforts in community health assessments for Indian Health Service, public education for the Alzheimer’s Association, pedestrian safety and advocacy for America Walks, and health equity for the National Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.   Yolanda was also the Executive Director of Operation Understanding DC, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting understanding, cooperation, and respect while fighting to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination. 

In Yolanda’s current role she is leading the Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) work for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).  She is also a member of the JewVNation cohort, a fellowship sponsored by the URJ, a 2019 Schusterman Fellow, a vice-chair of the Religious Action Center’s (RAC) Commission on Social Action, a co-chair of the Racial Justice equity committee for the RAC, a Fellow of the Federation of Greater Washington, a member of Temple Micah in Washington, D.C. and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; an international Black sorority dedicated to community service and education.

Yolanda is a graduate of Tougaloo College (Sociology) and has a master’s degree in education from Jackson State University.

In her spare time Yolanda loves being outdoors, reading, birdwatching, playing sports and traveling with her family. 

Lewis R. Gordon is professor and head of the philosophy Department at UCONN-Storrs, where he also has affiliations in Judaic Studies, Caribbean and Latinx Studies, Asian and Asian American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Global Studies. His visiting appointments include philosophy and government at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg, and honorary professor in (UHURU) the Unit for the Humanities at the university currently known as Rhodes in South Africa, where he was formerly the Nelson Mandela Distinguished Visiting Chair in Political and International Studies (2014-2015). He is an Afro-Jewish philosopher, political thinker, educator, and musician who grew up in the Bronx, New York. Gordon’s research in philosophy is in Africana philosophy, existentialism, phenomenology, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of human sciences. 
As a public intellectual, Gordon has written for a variety of political forums, newspapers, and magazines, such as truthout, the Pambazuka News, and The Mail & Guardian, and has lectured across the globe, and founded and co-founded journals and organizations, including Radical Philosophy Review and the Caribbean Philosophical Association, of which he was the first president (2003 to 2008).
Lewis Gordon is the offspring of two Jewish communities that converged in his mother. One was the Solomon family, who migrated to Jamaica in the 19th Century. The other was from Ireland under the name of Finikin, who also immigrated there during the same period. He is the founder and co-director, with his wife Jane Gordon, of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies at Temple University, a research institute dedicated to developing reliable sources of information on Afro-Jews and Jewish diversity. He is also a research affiliate of the Institute for Jewish Research and Community. Professor Gordon earned a PhD in Philosophy with distinction from Yale University in 1993.  

Marco McWilliams is an educator and public scholar of African-American history. He is a Mississippi-born activist, educator, and is the founding organizer and former deputy director of the Providence Africana Reading Collective (PARC). Marco is also a founding director of the Black Studies program at DARE, and an organizer with Behind the Walls, DARE’s prison abolition committee. He is the founder of the Providence Black Studies Freedom School, a free political education project focused on providing theoretically grounded and engaged historical instruction for members of Providence’s diverse communities.
Marco is a graduate of Rhode Island College where he majored in African Studies, and is a master’s degree candidate at Brown University, in the department of American Studies. His field of study is African-American History, mid-19th & 20th century Black Radical Organizing Traditions. Marco brings his strong background in training and education and a true passion for the work of the Center.


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Wed, May 12 2021 1 Sivan 5781