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Panel discussion seeks better understanding, solutions

By La Prensa Staff


The Jewish Federation of Cleveland is hosting an annual panel discussion at a crucial time when discord in the United States is throwing multiple challenges at minority communities in Cleveland and elsewhere.


The virtual discussion is part of the 74th Annual Meeting of the federation’s Community Relations Committee (CRC) and Sidney Z. Vincent Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at 7 p.m. Victor Ruiz, executive director of Esperanza will be joined by Danielle Sydnor, president of Cleveland NAACP, and Erika B. Rudin-Luria, president of Jewish Federation of Cleveland.


The aim is to have these black, Latino, and Jewish leaders identify and explore various ways these communities can further collaborate to address unique and common challenges. CRC Chair Gregg Levine believes his committee’s mission, which, in part, is to “protect, preserve and promote a just, democratic, and pluralistic American society,” has never been more important.


“What we do in the CRC is work to establish collaborative relationships with other ethnic, racial, civic, and religious groups,” Levine said. “This annual meeting fits perfectly with our mission and our goal of growing relationships with other critical communities in Greater Cleveland to learn what we can do to help better society. Never has it been more crucial than right now.”


Keisha González, program manager, social impact investing and community development initiatives of Cleveland Foundation, will moderate the discussion. Attendees will also enjoy virtual performances by artists before and after the panel discussion.


“Our aim is for all of us to understand what are the critical issues in these three communities and where can we all work together in collaboration to help Greater Cleveland and to help so many who are challenged during these times of COVID, during these times of a world post-George Floyd and during these times of great uncertainty,” said Levine. “We’re really going to look at some of the obstacles that each of these communities are addressing, and how are these obstacles perhaps amplified in the times we live in.”


Organizers see the free, virtual format of the panel discussion as a way to possibly reach more viewers than the traditional in-person venue. While Gov. DeWine and public health experts discourage large gatherings of people, COVID has presented a unique opportunity.


“One of the findings about COVID is that we’re actually able to engage more people in this work, because people are able to engage via Zoom and learn more,” Levine explained. “While we miss connecting with people over coffee or dinners or in their home, but we are able to engage more people by this media and in so many ways it’s been a positive outcome.”


Levine expects each speaker to give specific “calls to action they think are critical during these times.” A follow-up email will be sent to viewers listing resources mentioned during the discussion and the calls to action issued by leaders.


“Each attendee will be able to listen and think ‘Well, this is what really resonated with me, this is where my passion lands, and this is what I want to get involved in,’” said Levine. “While our respective communities all face unique obstacles, we know that by continuing to communicate and collaborate we can address these issues together.”


See related article on page 12. For more information or to register for the panel discussion, visit www.jewishcleveland.org.




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Revised: 02/03/21 05:31:20 -0800.




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