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ADL-Plains States CRC Unravelling Racism Project

In 2021, Adam contracted with the Anti-Defamation League of the Plains States / CRC to plan, implement and facilitate a project called “Unraveling Racism.” Working closely with staff from the ADL, the Omaha Jewish Federation, and several local synagogues, the project was based in my North Omaha History project. In addition to the lead-up to the events, I facilitated, spoke at, and participated in seven different structured activities and several informal ones over the course of four days, all focused on identifying white supremacy, addressing white privilege, and naming racism throughout the Jewish community in Omaha and beyond into the city’s white population. Approximately 500 people throughout Omaha attended the events.

Adam Fletcher Sasse with "Unravelling Racism" by the ADL-Plains States CRC Unraveling Racism Project, December 9-12, 2021
Adam Fletcher

Project Description

ADL-CRC’s Ruby Platt Allyship Initiative presents, Unravelling Racism, a 4-day series of events inviting attendees to join others in the work of challenging our perceptions about the meaning of racism, about our Black/Jewish shared history in North Omaha, and the overall concepts of white privilege and white supremacy. Each day will focus on a different topic, or thread, as our Jewish community wrestles with how to understand and reconcile its past to actively engage in anti-racism work and allyship today.

Project Agenda

Event 1: Educator Speaker Series: Addressing White Privilege and More

In this interactive workshop, educators, will explore the role of white privilege and white supremacy throughout education in both formal and informal spaces. Focusing on the history of education and current realities, we will identify characteristics of white supremacy in education and explore how to dismantle white privilege in learning and teaching. Focused on personal exploration and group conversation, this workshop will gather participants’ thoughts and ideas while focusing on practical, meaningful action each educator can take immediately. Thursday, December 9, 2021 (4:30 PM – 6:00 PM) | JCC Community Engagement Venue.

Event 2: HISTORY: The Framework of Our Legacy

As Jews, many of us bury our loved ones in North Omaha but live our daily lives elsewhere. Pulling this thread first gives us context to understand the historic balance of power in our community and the impact that our unique history has had on Omaha’s development. Thursday, December 9, 2021 (4:30 PM – 6:00 PM) | JCC Community Engagement Venue.

Event 3: HISTORY: Meeting the Elders (limited seating)

For anyone who has a story to share about their family’s history or their own personal account of the journey of the Jewish Community in North Omaha, this event is for you! Adam Fletcher Sasse we will be on hand to listen and share with members of our community who have had a front row seat to the stories and lessons of the past. Friday, December 10, 2021 (12:00 PM – 2:00 PM) | JCC Wiesman Room

Event 4: WHITE SUPREMACY: Unravelling What We Don’t Know

White supremacy influences every corner of American life. This thread (and the implicit power it represents) does not unravel easily, but when it does, every other knot begins to loosen. Friday, December 10, 2021 (6:00 PM – 7:30 PM) Temple Israel

Event 5: PRIVILEGE: Owning It & Putting It to Work

Power is not simply a pejorative term when dealing with race—this strand, when properly untangled, can be re-woven into something transformative: an opportunity to understand our role in the essential mitzvah of being of service to others and becoming an ally. Saturday, December 11, 2021 (12:00 PM – 1:30 PM) | Beth El

Event 6: PRIVILEGE: The Power of Youth Voice in Action

Youth voices are not only essential to empower—but to listen to. The ability of the next generation to seed, grow and own their unique brand of activism is essential to carrying on this fight. This workshop engages young people as peers and uses reciprocal learning to explore meaningful ways of challenging oppression and injustice, and to deepen their skills as leaders in every facet of their lives. Saturday, December 11, 2021 (6:30 PM – 8:30 PM) | JCC Community Engagement Venue

Event 7: APATHY: Benign Neglect & White Flight

The often overlooked and (to some) seemingly invisible thread of passivity has created entrenched segregation, generational imbalances of power and wealth, and fueled misconceptions and perceptions about entire sections of our city and the people who live here. Sunday, December 12, 2021 (2:00 PM – 4:00 PM) | CULXR House (also streaming via Zoom)

Project Artifacts

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Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.