By Judie Wexler October 30, 2018

Dear CIIS Community,

Last week, a week of stunning violence and hatred, we saw the murder of 13 Jewish and African American citizens, pipe bombs sent to prominent political figures and news organizations, a plan to eliminate civil protections for transgender people, and the continuing fueling of fear and hatred against immigrants and poor Central Americans walking thousands of miles toward the U.S. border seeking sanctuary.

Today there is talk about an executive order that would end birthright citizenship in the U.S., a right guaranteed by the 14th amendment.

Each one of these cries out for a statement, a vigil, an action of condemnation. Coming as they did together, we are left reeling and fearful about our safety and the future.

As I tried to make sense of all of this, to figure out what to say to the CIIS community, and to deal with my own intensifying feelings of vulnerability as a Jewish American, I kept coming back to some words from the Reform Jewish prayer book:

[T]here is a better place, a promised land;
that the winding way to that promise
passes through the wilderness.

That there is no way to get from here to there
except by joining hands, marching

As a community of people committed to the promise of social justice and the core values of diversity and inclusion, we need to hold on to that vision and walk together toward it. To build the kind of world we want, we must take action alone and in community.

Get involved. Attend vigils and protests. Volunteer with organizations seeking to create a more inclusive society. Vote next week. Use social media to support your values. Be a voice for the well-being of all.

Reach out to those communities and individuals who have been threatened. Let Jews and Muslims know that you care about them and condemn the attacks on their communities. Reaffirm that Black lives matter and stand against racism and misogyny. Refuse to accept the vilification of immigrants and xenophobic nationalist rhetoric. Uphold and affirm the lives and rights of our transgender family.

Recommit to yourself, your values, your passions, and your work in the world-as we as a University community recommit to ours. Participate in the events being held at CIIS and elsewhere in the Bay Area. Please contact Dean of Students Yunny Yip or Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Denise Boston if you wish to sponsor an event.

As a community, CIIS is planning a Year of Action for 2019 starting in early November..

Remember to take good care of yourselves in whatever way you find nourishing...meditate, exercise, practice yoga, get out in nature, play, laugh, take joy in those you love and who love you. And at CIIS, take a break in our Wellness Center.

Upcoming Events at CIIS

  • November 1, 7pm, We Can't Breathe, a conversation with Jabari Asim and Denise Boston, sponsored by Public Programs
  • November 5, 2pm-3pm, in Namaste Hall, Circle of Radical Solidarity, sponsored by ODI, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and SADI
  • November 6, 7pm, The Rise of Latinx America, a conversation with Ed Morales and Antonio Ramirez, sponsored by Public Programs
  • November 7, 11:30am-12:30pm, Post-Election Circle, sponsored by the Student Union and the Wellness Center
  • November 12, 4pm-6pm, CIIS Teach-In, sponsored by the CIIS faculty
  • December 13, 7pm, On Being Unwanted, a conversation on immigration, with Eileen Truax and Gisele Fernandes-Osterhold, sponsored by Public Programs


Former President, Faculty News, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, School of Consciousness and Transformation, School of Professional Psychology and Health, School of Undergraduate Studies, CIIS, Community, Wellness

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