AJWS Los Angeles: What’s Happening

September 2017

At a time when voices of intolerance and bigotry are growing louder, I am grateful that the AJWS community has never wavered in its commitment to building a more just and equitable world. Your generous investment in social change continues to change the lives of the most vulnerable communities in some of the poorest countries in the world.

As summer draws to a close, please find our AJWS Los Angeles Newsletter below with recent highlights of our work to address some of the world’s most pressing problems, and ways that the AJWS LA community’s support is fueling action and transformation in people’s lives—from India to Guatemala to Kenya.

With your support, AJWS continues to address the devastating humanitarian and food crisis in East Africa and to stand with communities on the frontlines of climate change, who face increased natural disasters and unbridled economic development projects that exploit human rights. Throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, our investments also empower local leaders fighting discrimination and violence against women, girls and LGBT people and helping minorities to exercise their rights to vote and participate in the political process.

Without you, AJWS would not be able to stand with local leaders from over 450 social justice organizations who have dedicated their lives to pursuing equality and justice for those most in need.

We truly can’t thank you enough for your commitment to our work together! If you have any questions or would like to learn how you can get more involved in AJWS, please email me at eholm@ajws.org or call me at 310.843.9678.

Wishing you a lovely fall and meaningful High Holidays,

Emma Nesper Holm
Director, Southern California

Visualizing Change in India

Check out our new, interactive data story that tackles the deeply complex issue of child marriage in India and shares AJWS’s strategy to empower women and girls to choose their own futures.

Frontline Disaster Response

In February 2017, AJWS brought together 34 activists from 17 organizations based in Nepal, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Burma for a four-day disaster response workshop in Tagaytay, Philippines. These activists have served on the frontlines of relief efforts in the wake of devastating earthquakes, typhoons and floods, despite having little prior training in relief work.

AJWS’s workshop offered them training to better prepare them for future threats and to ensure that they can effectively aid people in their communities—especially the most vulnerable people—if disaster strikes again. They returned home committed to sharing what they learned with their communities.

Reel Action/Real Change

SAVE THE DATE for our special annual film event, Reel Action/Real Change, on Thursday, November 16th at the WME Screening Room. We will explore powerful films that expose human rights abuses and document the stories of courageous activists. The program will include a VIP cocktail reception, a screening of film clips and a panel discussion with the filmmakers, as well as remarks by AJWS President and CEO Robert Bank.

For more information, contact Lila at lglick@ajws.org.

Global Circle Scene

Global Circle, AJWS’s network of young professional supporters, is gathering on Tuesday, September 19th at the Hipcooks Kitchen for A Taste of AJWS: Sriracha Social, a private Thai cooking class with AJWS Trustee Bill Resnick. The group will prepare fragrant curries and noodles, sample craft Thai beer and gain insight into the critical work of AJWS grantees from Thailand, Cambodia and Burma who are defending their rights to land and water and political participation.

RSVP or contact Lila at lglick@ajws.org if you want to learn more about Global Circle.

Your Voice Matters

In response to the ongoing violence, injustice and oppression around the world, AJWS is gathering messages of hope for the Jewish New Year. We’ve gathered the wishes and aspirations of thought leaders, celebrities, writers, rabbis and, of course, supporters—in 18 words or less—as we work to repair our very broken world. AJWS President & CEO Robert Bank’s #18words are:

“A new world is coming. One without hate. One with dignity for all on a healthier planet.”

Want to join the conversation? Share your own wish or aspiration for the Jewish New Year and read the rest of the submissions here!

AJWS in the News

We celebrated one year with Robert Bank as our President and CEO in July! In a piece for Medium, Robert shares what he’s learned in his first year at the helm of AJWS.

The powerful video “Attacked for Activism: How do we protect activists in Latin America?” features interviews with the leaders of two AJWS grantees, Tlachinollan and UDEFEGUA. As the act of defending human rights in Latin America becomes increasingly more dangerous, listening to and supporting grassroots organizations is critical to their safety and success. We support these organizations as they strengthen their responses to security threats and work to keep human rights defenders safe.

May 26, 2017 marked a historic land rights victory for the Ogiek people of Kenya, made possible by the tireless activism of AJWS grantee Ogiek Peoples’ Development Programme (OPDP). Read these articles in Al Jazeera and the AJWS blog illustrating how this victory sets an important legal precedent for how other governments in Africa have a duty to protect the natural resource rights of indigenous peoples.