Justice, Politics

Inside the Activists' Studio: "Cleaning Up Your Own Backyard"


If you’re looking for both inspiration and practical skills, register now for Inside the Activists’ Studio 2010 and get yourself to Joanna Kent Katz’s interactive workshop.
During the day, Kent Katz is an urban farmer in Philadelphia, working with a group of ten high school students from a neighborhood which is mostly Jamaican and African American. Together, they address issues of food sovereignty, building leadership and knowledge and holding two markets a week in the “food desert,” meaning  there are no fresh, green vegetables available for purchase within a mile of the neighborhood.
“It’s not just about making healthy choices.” says Kent Katz, “It’s about creating healthy options.”  She, her coworkers and their team of students have also built a food justice curriculum, addressing racism, the legacy of slavery and how it plays out in the community, undermining the connection between people and where their food comes from and moving towards a reclamation of  the wisdom and action of growing food.
Kent Katz is also a social justice educator in the Jewish community, where she works with young Jewish adults around issues of liberation and oppression. “Cleaning up your own backyard” refers to bringing work done outside the Jewish community back home, helping Jews connect to their own isolation from one another, the result of internalized anti Semitism, sexism, and the roles imposed by privileged identity.
Kent Katz cites her mentor, Barbara Love, as helping her learn how to teach anti oppression with tools that will actually free the world, as opposed to approaching the work within the context of blame and guilt. “It has been work towards liberation,” Kent Katz says, “not just anti-oppression.”
At this year’s Inside the Activists’ Studio, Kent Katz will share her skills as a practitioner of the  Theatre of the Oppressed. “That’s my gem,” she says. “We’ll get into our bodies.”  This framework presents the possibility for folks to both understand how oppression works on a cultural and institutional level and to think about what the world could look like. “I’m only interested in talking about oppression without shame, blame and guilt. I invite people to try it out with me, learn together.”
For an innovative, genuine encounter with politics, your body and social justice, join Joanna Kent Katz  and other dynamic folks on Sunday, December 5th at the 92nd street Y in Tribeca.  Inside the Activists’ Studio 2010 is hosted by Purse: Action for a Just World, a project of Avodah and American Jewish World Service, and  is co sponsored by Jewschool.

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