The Transformation of a Jewish Girl from Brooklyn: Reflections on the Meaning of Jacksonville and Other Life Experiences, Moving from Ignorance and Innocence to Awareness and Action
Keywords:social activism, racism , community organizing strategies, antisemitism, cultural divides, de jure segregation, de facto segregation
This essay is a reflection on my growth and development as a Jewish adolescent girl after unexpected encounters with segregation. It explores a series of events that transformed my understanding of systemic racism growing up in a virtually all-white working-class community in Brooklyn, New York. It also covers more subtle antisemitism that I experienced during that period without realizing its impact on me until years after. These deep and emotional remembrances surfaced in 2020 after the Republican party had chosen Jacksonville, Florida, as the site of their political convention. Ironically, the date was on the anniversary of the day that there had been a violent “lunch counter” riot years earlier as a result of Black customers being barred from a local diner. This reflection concludes with lessons learned as part of having chosen a career as a social work activist and professor of community organizing and policy.
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NARRATIVES OF PROFESSIONAL HELPING
Cleveland State University
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