Jewish and Black Students Address Hatred and Genocide

Conversation

Today, a diverse group of religious and issues advocacy organizations in Sarasota County announced the launch of the Impact Theatre, a program that seeks to educate younger generations about the common history of oppression and persecution among Jewish and Black people. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s relationship, 16 Jewish and Black high school students are serving as Agents of Impact, where they are interviewing Holocaust survivors in addition to Black elders who lived in the segregated South. The students will then apply what they’ve learned to educate others and stand against all forms of hatred. As part of their roles as Agents of Impact, the students are leading one-on-one interviews with their paired elders. They will then prepare presentations that recap their elders’ stories, express how the experience affected them, and describe what course of action they plan to take as a result. The students will be surveyed at the start and end of the project to measure changes in their perceptions and attitudes. The entire project will be filmed to produce a documentary upon its completion. The organizations at the forefront of the project are the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Temple Sinai, and Newtown Alive. Zaret and her co-founders Walter Gilbert and Bethany Leinweber hope to spread the messages of Impact Theatre far beyond Sarasota County, with the documentary film and through the students as they impact others throughout their lives.

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