This is a guest post written by our Rosh Yael Horowitz:
Wednesday August 9th was an incredible and powerful day for all the kids at Machaneh Moshava. In the morning, we split up to go do different service projects. The amelimot and chotrimot went to First Fruits Farm, which is a volunteer farm that provides fresh produce to soup kitchens and food pantries all throughout Maryland. At First Fruits we picked Zucchini, some of them were half the size of us!
The bonimot went to Darley Park in Baltimore where we partnered with a group called The 6th Branch, a non-profit set up by veterans who “serve with a shovel.” The chanichimot spent time beautifying a park that was built from reclaimed wasteland. The Bogrimot went to an Urban Garden on Duncan Street and learnt about food deserts and food justice.
Later that day, we had an incredible guest speaker – Carolivia Herron, the author of the children’s book Always an Olivia. Carolivia was active during the Civil Rights Movement and came to tell us incredible stories about her family and herself. She told us a really powerful story about attending the March on Washington and all of the excitement and trepidation that people felt beforehand. She talked to us about the power of protesting and all the different ways to be an activist.
Later that evening, 37 kids from the upper shetach went to a community rally at City Hall in Baltimore. The event was open to all the kids in the upper shetach. They were introduced to the cause and the idea a week before it was going to happen and we embarked on a two-tiered opt-in process. Campers needed both parental consent and to opt-in in order for it to participate. We also went through a lot of preparation to make sure it was safe to go, for example Yael Horowitz, our Rosh, went to the protest the week before to check it out. Throughout this process of deciding we had many meaningful sichot (conversations) about what it means to go to a protest and why sometimes it is not the right decision to go and all of the various forms of activism that are possible outside of protests and rallies.
Once the decisions were made we got on a bus and attended what turned out to be a very meaningful experience. The kids heard speeches from different community members about what it means to be white and use white privilege to change systemic racism, about the power of the youth to change things, and about the experiences of being a part of a community that is deeply affected by police brutality. The kids left feeling empowered and invigorated with lots to think about and process together.
Back at machaneh, the chanichimot were continuing the conversations they had started about food justice, etc. The amelimot were lucky enough to have Carolivia visit their peula to help them write a song about all the things they felt were unfair about being the youngest at machaneh, the song is called the Amelim Blues and we are eagerly awaiting a performance this Shabbat. The older kids continued their conversations about race in America and Food Justice.
At machaneh we often think about the ideas of community service, acts that help the community, and revolutionary service, acts that change community. In many ways the service projects we did in the morning were great examples of community service and the education and activism participated in by all were acts of revolutionary service. Today was a day that made me proud to be a Moshnik!
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