How Rabbi-Led LGBT Clergy Are Supporting Black Lives Matter

Rabbi Debra Kolodny believes that Black Lives Matter is “one of the most critical movements of our day.” And she wants to transfer that belief into action.

So Kolodny next weekend will lead a nationwide conference of LGBTQ clergy from all faiths to explore ways to actively support the activist group that exploded onto the national scene after several high-profile deaths of black men and women in confrontations with cops.

“I’ve been active in the national LGBTQ religious movement for almost 20 years,” explained Kolodny.

“For all that time our leadership has spoken of the need to embrace complexity and understand the intersections of all of our identities, including race, class, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin and ability.”

Kolodny, the executive director of Nehirim, a national LGBTQ Jewish retreat and advocacy organization, says the four-day conference, starting next Thursday in Portland, Oregon, will look to coordinate and strategize with BLM leaders and alter the way religious voices talk about — or don’t talk about — race.

“There have been too few instances where we have acted upon this intention [to dialogue on race] in a concerted, strategic and ongoing way,” she said.

“Our hope is that this conference launches one such coordinated effort, as LGBTQ clergy gather from around the country, from multiple traditions, and work together to support one of the most critical movements of our day.”

Also co-leading the conference will be Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje, the provost and professor of cultural studies at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif.; and the Rev. Tara Wilkins, executive director of the Community of Welcoming Congregations in Portland.

Farajaje predicts a weekend in which clergy “reflect, activate and agitate around Black Lives Matter.”

“Black trans, black bisexual, black lesbian and black gay lives are also black lives, and they all matter,” he said. “We will walk away from this gathering with a plan and a path to engage and activate thousands of individuals across communities to better support the Black Lives Matter movement, for all of us.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Author

John A. Oswald

John A. Oswald

John Oswald is The Forward’s deputy digital media editor.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

How Rabbi-Led LGBT Clergy Are Supporting Black Lives Matter

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close