A Message from Rabbi Joanna Samuels | Manny Cantor Center

MCC News & Updates

A Message from Rabbi Joanna Samuels

Dear Manny Cantor Center Community,

It has been an intense week in our city.

Fear, anguish, and violence fill our streets.

And also: solidarity, support, and strategic forward movement.

Led by African American organizers, New Yorkers of all backgrounds and ages are protesting, demanding that justice be served.

And also:

New Yorkers are standing at the sidelines of demonstrations, providing snacks, first aid, and face masks.

New Yorkers are organizing socially distanced vigils in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.

New Yorkers are bailing folks out of jail who have been arrested.

New Yorkers are texting and calling to repeal New York Civil Rights Law 50-a, which keeps police misconduct records secret from the public and makes it impossible to hold police accountable when they harm those they are sworn to protect.

New Yorkers are demanding a full review of our city’s budget, which allocates $6 billion to our police force while cutting significant services to afterschool, summer programs for children and teens, and city-wide recreational programming.

New Yorkers who are not African American are reading and learning and grappling with hard truths about our country’s past and its present.

New Yorkers together hold the hope that a new world will be born from these difficult days.

May our weekend be a peaceful one, and may our collective actions bring us closer to a just world.

Rabbi Joanna Samuels
Executive Director, Manny Cantor Center
Manny Cantor Center is joining many in the online community in the #elevatemelenatedvoices and #elevateblackvoices campaigns. We are pausing our planned newsletter and social media content for this week to share anti-racist work in our community, and to provide resources for supporting our black community members, family members, colleagues and friends, and the Black community across our nation. We hope you will join us in working to end systemic racism and police brutality.
We encourage you to start by taking action to contact your local representatives in support of the Brooklyn NAACP’s efforts to Repeal 50-a and end police secrecy in New York, and to support #8cantwait, a national campaign to impose eight measures that are proven to decrease police violence by up to 72%.
Black Voices:
These videos showcase local and national voices contributing to the conversations around race and policing in meaningful ways.
poignant video from local students at the Packer Institute in Brooklyn Heights. (Note: This video contains graphic content that many people may find disturbing.)
In this inspiring and powerful talk, Megan Francis traces the root causes of our current racial climate.
Ibram Kendi, the founding director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University talks about his book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” and explains how we can shift our thinking to work towards justice.
This list of Black owned restaurants in New York includes Las Lap, Gooey on the Inside Cookies, and others on the Lower East Side.
Resource Lists for Anti-Racist Education:
We encourage you to review these resources to further learn about systemic racism and unlearn biases.
Police Intervention Information:
The articles below explore data-driven solutions to reducing over-policing while improving community safety. We hope that you will read them and consider supporting legislations and reforms that will make our communities safer for Black people.
Talking with Kids About Racism:
A read-aloud of Jelani Memory’s A Kids Book About Racism
New York Times List of Books that can help start a productive conversation with children about race.
Join CNN and Sesame Street to talk about embracing diversity.
Access to Fitness from MCC Fitness:
Manny Cantor Center Fitness strives to keep our fitness memberships accessible to everyone regardless of income by offering low-cost memberships to older adults, students, and income eligible families. You can access our fitness classes virtually here, and read more about Democratizing Fitness spaces from Serenity Gibbons here.
Artists in Activism from Educational Alliance Art School:
This week we are highlighting the work of Black artists using their medium to think critically about systemic oppression.
Kyle Scott Lee is an Educational Alliance Art School faculty member and working artist in Brooklyn. This week, Kyle’s ceramic work was highlighted in Clever by Architectural Digest as a Black-owned business to support. @archdigest encourages you to use your spending power wisely, and invest in Black-owned business to effect social and economic change.
Glenn Ligon (b. 1960) is an artist living and working in New York. Through his work, he pursues an incisive exploration of American history, literature, and society across a body of work that builds critically on the legacies of modern painting and more recent conceptual art. Learn more about his work here
Kara Walker (b. 1969) is among the most complex and prolific American artists of her generation. She has gained national and international recognition for her cut-paper silhouettes depicting historical narratives haunted by violence and subjugation. Learn more about her work here
Theaster Gates (b. 1973) Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. In all aspects of his work, he contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist. Learn more about his work here.