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Civil Rights

Ordinary Role Models: Going Beyond Pop-Culture

We continue looking at pop culture and role models with this post from one of our Rising Voices Fellows. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.

I’m no “gleek,” but from time to time, I confess, I’ll catch an episode of Glee. In a recent show, one of the main characters, Marley, was told to portray a pop singer whose behavior was completely different than her own. When she refused, she was suspended from rehearsals for not being a team player.

My first reaction was, “You go, girl!” Glee portrayed this girl as strong—someone who was willing to pay the price for remaining true to herself.

Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Sonia Pressman Fuentes graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University in 1950 and first in her class at the University of Miami School of Law in 1957. She had a 36-year career as an attorney and executive with the federal government and multinational corporations.

Heather Booth

Heather Booth has been building and consulting with large-scale volunteer efforts for 40 years. In 1963, at Yad Vashem in Israel, she made a commitment that in the face of injustice, she would work for justice/tikkun olam.

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht

November 10, 1938

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht.

50 Years On: 5 Things I Learned About the March on Washington

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March tomorrow, I would like to share 5 things I have learned about the March on Washington that you may not already know—one for each decade. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to check your assumptions and look more closely at this monumental, game-changing event.

Dayenu. Dayenu. Dayenu.

This past year, I took a group of seven teens on a tour of the American South. The trip was inspired by my desire to infuse young people with a sense of history and context as it relates to Judaism in the South and Jews in the Civil Rights Movement.

We began in Atlanta, then drove to Alabama, stopping in Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and many places in between. We met with people who had lived through segregation and fought against it. We saw the Rosa Parks Museum, experienced history, and talked about what it means to be an American Jew from the Northeast.

Birth of Vera Weisbord, Radical

August 19, 1895

Birth of Vera Weisbord, Radical

Judy Wilkenfeld, 1943 - 2007

When Judy Wilkenfeld died after a protracted battle with pancreatic cancer, the world lost more than one of its most important tobacco control leaders. Judy's contributions to tobacco control were extraordinary, but what made Judy Wilkenfeld unique were the ways she brought people together, made everyone with whom she came into contact better, and became a close and trusted friend, confidante, mentor, and role model to so many people with whom she worked—young and old, from different continents, cultures, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and world views.

How Do We Use Our Privilege?

The struggle for social justice involves going beyond what is easy, taking actions that are often risky.  I find it helpful to have role models to remind me of the work that needs to be done and often is done by people of privilege. The Jewish Women's Archive website is brimming with just such role models—hundreds of examples of women who did not let their privilege positions keep them from taking courageous action. JWA gives us a look at how our foremothers reconciled the complicated relationship between privilege and activism.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Civil Rights." (Viewed on July 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/civil-rights>.

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