Sermon from Beth Am’s Juneteenth Shabbat

A drawing from my comic Repentance and Reparations

Women are the real experts on women’s rights, black activists are experts on anti-black racism, and any attempt to solve a social problem must be shaped and led by those affected.

I often draw on the Jewish framework of Teshuvah to anchor my work supporting Black Sovereignty. I find Jewish support for reparations in Teshuvah.

Massive harm created the current disparities in our economy. Racism and white supremacy have shaped who has access to wealth. The practice of Teshuvah offers us clues and a framework for what it looks like to work towards repair and return.

This has been a long learning journey for me. When I was growing up, when we would drive from Pikesville to Shul, I didn’t have a strong historical sense of why we were traveling from a Jewish neighborhood to a Black Neighborhood to go to synagogue. I knew that when we parked on Linden Ave and walked over, I felt out of place, but I also knew that my great-great-grandmother had an apartment at Eutaw Place a stone’s throw from here.

I didn’t understand how my privilege and opportunities were connected to the poverty and violence I saw locally and globally.

I didn’t see how the lack of resources in city schools and court systems were connected to bigger patterns of white flight and redlining. I didn’t see how racism was connected to who has access to wealth and whose wealth is stolen.

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Tiffany Brown and Kate Poole, Chordata Capital

Tiffany Brown and Kate Poole, Chordata Capital

Tiffany Brown and Kate Poole are working in community with inheritors and movement partners to transform investment portfolios as Chordata Capital.