Sid Jacobson JCC’s Empathy Walk unites Asian-American and Jewish teens to promote solidarity – community news
Local teens put the words “hate has no home here” into practice on June 13 during the first empathy walk of Sid Jacobson JCC’s Center for Community Engagement, a social justice and advocacy program. leadership.
The march brought together 30 teens from high school Asian American culture clubs and Jewish teens from SJJCC’s adolescent service programs to create action against the recent increase in acts of prejudice, hatred and intolerance.
State MP Gina Sillitti partnered with the JCC for and participated in the program, marching in solidarity with local teens.
“I am incredibly proud of the students who participated in our Empathy Walk pilot project,” said Sillitti. “These young people took the time to learn about each other’s cultures, prejudices and experiences. We hope that through this program we can learn that we are more alike than different and begin to end hatred, prejudice and violence in our country.
Participants were paired up during the walk and given a list of questions to ask their partner while embarking on a scavenger hunt to locate shoeboxes hidden along the route. Inside each shoebox was a shoe and several accessories that the groups could discuss. The goal was to try to find out the history of the person.
At the end of the discussion, the leaders revealed the other shoe and the story. Each story touched on relevant issues, including questions of anti-Semitism, Asian hatred, race, gender and LGBTQ prejudice, and mental illness. By the end of the exercise, participants learned about unconscious bias and judgment and were more comfortable sharing their own stories and experiences.
“The goal of our Empathy Walk is to create a safe space where young leaders can listen to and learn from each other,” said Susan Berman, Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Sid Jacobson JCC. “We ask them to take a moment to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
The SJJCC Community Engagement Center plans to organize future Empathy Walks for various age groups and communities to help raise awareness and understand which will result in positioning actions among participants.
To learn more about the Sid Jacobson JCC Center for Community Engagement, visit sjjcc.org/communityengagement or contact Susan Berman, Director of the Center for Community Engagement at [email protected] or 516.484.1545 ext. 202.