kendrick looks forward to deepening learnings among the global staff about tackling white supremacy culture and colonialism.
New York, NY — Today, American Jewish World Service President and CEO Robert Bank together with Executive Vice President Venus Devnani McClelland announce the promotion of kristen kendrick into a new leadership position, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Racial Justice (DEIRJ). In this role, kendrick will lead AJWS’s ongoing efforts to become a fully inclusive, multi-cultural and anti-racist Jewish organization.
kendrick’s appointment marks a name-change from Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Racial Justice to better align this function with AJWS’s mission and to reflect a commitment to rooting out racism and eliminating policies and practices that perpetuate power imbalances.
“AJWS was founded to shine a light on the link between Jewish values and the inherent dignity of every human being,” Bank said. “By specifically naming that this role includes racial justice, we want to signal the inextricable link between this country’s painful history and the oppression AJWS fights around the world. I am heartened that kristen will continue to partner with our global staff and grantee partners as we explore how our values align with the fight against the effects of colonialism both in the U.S. and abroad.”
“kristen’s liberation work at AJWS has already been deeply meaningful and resonant within our organization and has positively influenced so many aspects of our work, including the way we communicate about our incredible grantee partners,” Devnani McClelland added. “Today, AJWS is a more diverse and inclusive organization and that is large measure due to their efforts. We are so fortunate to have them at the helm of this division.”
kendrick joined AJWS in 2014 as a graphic designer in the Marketing and Communications division. In 2017, they spearheaded the creation of the DEI program and most recently served as its director.
“I loved being on the design team and communications is in my blood. But anti-racist work, specifically around Black liberation, has always been a core part of me,” they said. “It is important to me that AJWS reflects internally the work that we do externally. And I have such gratitude for the flexibility to step into this role, continue to learn and grow, and have the space to make it what it needs to be to succeed.”
kendrick also expressed thanks for the many staffers who have led and supported this journey, from the DEIRJ working group members to the subgroups and organizational facilitators. They hope to continue deepening this work across the organization.
“I’m thankful that because of the work we have done, folks at AJWS regularly engage in learning and conversation around white supremacy culture and colonialism,” they said. “I feel fortunate to work with people who are intentional about and committed to dismantling those systems to work toward our collective liberation.”
kendrick also teaches Thai boxing, studies Croatian language and is a longtime volunteer with New York Cares.
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