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I’m a Jew Who Attended the Protests Where a Synagogue Was Vandalized, This Is What I Saw – Jewish Journal

Posted By on June 4, 2020

I was at the riots in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. So much important work was done that day. So much went rightand then there were the things that went terribly wrong. For many Jews, the worst news of the day was vandalism against a number of synagogues and other identifiably-Jewish targets. These scenes are so historically familiar and so clearly dangerous.

If there is one thing that I want to broader Jewish community to know about these riots it is this: There is a remarkably complex set of actors and stakeholders on the ground, and most of them are our natural partners and allies in liberation, not people to be feared.

Let me tell you what I saw.

There is a remarkably complex set of actors and stakeholders on the ground, and most of them are our natural partners and allies in liberation, not people to be feared.

I passed by Congregation Beth Israel around 5 p.m. on Saturday May 30. By then, the riots had already begun. As I approached the synagogue, I prayed that it would be unharmed. It was. All around it, buildings had been tagged with graffiti and windows had been broken. But people had known to leave the synagogue untouched. Sometime later that day or night, that changed.

I saw white protesters escalating in ways that were unwise and unhelpful. Black protesters bemoaned: Its always the white people who start sh*t, but you wont be the ones who get shot over it. I have heard second hand that this was also the way in which at least one synagogue came to be tagged.

Most of that day I wore a kippah and my friend carried a Jews for Black Lives sign. Everyone was supportive. Not once was I made to feel unsafe as I walked among people who burned police cars and shattered storefronts.

Protesters in Los Angeles. (Source: Adva Reichman.)

No, I didnt riot or loot. I have no temptation to do so. I have enough money and I have never been the personal target of police brutality. Thats a privilege that I have. For those who dont have that privilege, I respect what these acts mean to them.

In 1967, Dr. King spoke of what motivates a person to loot: Alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights.

As frightful as that reality may be to those of us who benefit from the American concept of property rights, we cannot deny that this is a natural response to a system that has made it impossible for communities of color to liberate themselves by peaceful means. After five centuries of unfathomable subjugation most especially of the native and black communities one would think that our society would recognize their undisputed moral authority to call attention to their own oppression. And yet, four white police officers in Minneapolis couldnt even summon the decency to listen to the words, I cant breathe.

George Floyd was lynched at the hands of police. For days, the American media and the white community equivocated. It was only when riots gripped the nation that consensus began to form around his death. Make no mistake: This consensus was a response to the riots. It took the form of, I agree with the protests, but the riots have to stop.

The irony of it is, this proves just how effective the riots have been at shifting the center of gravity of the national consciousness.

The irony of it is, this proves just how effective the riots have been at shifting the center of gravity of the national consciousness. Dr. King was right: Our society is prepared to pay lip service to human lives in order to protect property.

Now the Jewish community is perplexed, as we try to find our own place in this much larger struggle.

Synagogue Congregation Beth El on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles. (Credit: Lisa Daftari, Twitter)

The safety of our houses of worship is entirely connected with the alignment of our community on the right side of this issue and of history. We cannot expect others to honor our intergenerational traumas if we do not appreciate their contemporary ones. At this moment, it is crucial for white Jews to humbly listen to the voices of black Jews and other Jews of color.

It is also important to recognize our own role as a historically persecuted and vulnerable people, wherein we find common cause with the black community. Let us not forget that our ancestors, for thousands of years, were arbitrarily persecuted by the powers that be including law enforcement.

It has been tragically common to see the Jewish and black communities divided against one another. On Sunday May 31, I saw a picture that pained me. I do not know the full story, but the optics were that a predominantly white and highly militarized police force used heavy handed tactics to protect a synagogue from a predominantly black crowd. Such images do our community no favors.

This is the time for action and unity. Already, young Angeleno Jews are mobilizing to form Jews for Black Lives, an organization that will work for racial justice in a way that honors Jewish history, tradition, and contemporary practice.

Will you heed the call?

Yonathan Reches lives in El Segundo and is a member of the IKAR community in Los Angeles. This article does not necessarily represent the views of IKAR.

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I'm a Jew Who Attended the Protests Where a Synagogue Was Vandalized, This Is What I Saw - Jewish Journal

How Philadelphia’s creative Jews are handling the coronavirus pandemic – JTA News

Posted By on June 4, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) Before the social unrest erupted here in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Philadelphia struggled mightily with the coronavirus pandemic as one of the nations largest hot spots.

Like elsewhere in the country, this meant closing the citys theaters, performing arts venues and Jewish institutions beginning in mid-March. Even with some places, like outdoor camps and food trucks, set to reopen soon, the city is still dealing with the repercussions.

Here are some of the Jewish musicians, artists, clergy and others in the Philadelphia area who are finding ways to stay creative during this unprecedented time.

A creative shul gets more creative

Rabbanit Hadas Fruchter started the South Philadelphia Shtiebel synagogue in 2019 in a neighborhood storefront. (Courtesy of Fruchter)

Rabbanit Hadas Fruchter is a pioneering female Orthodox spiritual leader. Ordained in 2016 by the Orthodox Yeshivat Maharat, Fruchter established the South Philadelphia Shtiebel congregation less than a year ago in a neighborhood storefront that was previously the home of a scooter shop.

As she began navigating how to handle the pandemic for her congregants, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 herself.

Some of her family members and members of her community contracted the virus as well. She recovered, as did her mother, who was hospitalized.

The Shtiebel stopped in-person programming at its physical building on March 12, earlier than most Philadelphia institutions. However, Fruchter made clear to her followers that the institution wasnt closed.

Were just being creative now, she said.

In addition to a full schedule of online programs and events, Fruchter has been teaching every day. And not only has there been more time, but she feels the importance has increased of having one-on-one calls with members.

On the one hand theres programs, she said, but on the other theres a grieving Jewish community that needs support.

Lag bKlezmer

Philadelphia musician Dan Blacksberg leads a Lag bOmer klezmer dance party on Zoom. (Courtesy of Blacksberg)

Dan Blacksberg, a Philadelphia-based trombonist and composer, is known for fusing traditional klezmer music with other genres of music for instance, he was part of Deveykus, the worlds only Hasidic doom metal band.

He also had a band called Electric Simcha, which fused early-80s hardcore namely bands like Black Flag and the Minutemen with a repertoire of old-world Hasidic melodies drawn from weddings and other religious celebrations. In fact, Blacksberg dug up an EP that Electric Simcha had recorded in 2011 and released it on May 1.

Blacksberg teaches at Temple University, where he started the schools first klezmer band. He was able to move that work online, but he still acknowledged that hes lost a great deal of income from the lack of live performances.

Still, hes trying to make it work. He curated a day of the ACT4Music Online Festival, showcasing musicians that are associated with the international klezmer scene, on May 19. And before that, on May 11, he hosted an online Lag bOmer klezmer rock dance party in conjunction with Kol Tzedek Synagogue, the West Philly-based Reconstructionist synagogue.

For me it was a lovely thing to do and connect with the community, he said.

Netflix and Zoom

Matt Bussy, manager of the Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, shows off his challah during an online cooking class. (Courtesy of Bussy)

The Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival isnt merely a film festival it also runs screenings and other events throughout the year.

Matt Bussy, the festival manager, said that in the absence of this springs live screenings, the festival has been hosting weekly Netflix watch parties in which participants watch a movie together on Netflix and chat about it through a special Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party. The series started April 27 with Jenny Slates stand-up special Stage Fright and was followed by viewings of Menashe, They Are Everywhere and The Cakemaker, and The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch.

Each film is preceded by a virtual happy hour.

The festival also has hosted weekly online programming on Facebook and YouTube, most of it related to either food or movies.Bussy, who is in the process of converting to Judaism, hosts a weekly segment called Feed Your Face Fridays, in which he shares his attempts at Jewish cooking.

A virtual salon

The Old City Jewish Arts Center is showcasing some of its art online. (Courtesy of The Old City Jewish Arts Center)

Theatre Ariel is a theater company based in Philadelphia whose website lists its mission as to illuminate the rich social, cultural and spiritual heritage of the Jewish people.

The short answer is OY!, said Deborah Baer Mozes, the theaters artistic director, when asked how theyre doing during quarantine. We spent much time planning and preparing, then in a flash it went poof! The result is a loss of significant income.

Philadelphia Jews, ranging from Hebrew school students to active seniors, took part in the theaters programs and workshops. Thats in addition to the performances that had been lined up from March until the summer.

Theatre Ariel went virtual. So far, it has proven to be very successful, Moses said.

Its had livestream performances of the plays Ethics of the Fathers AKA the Gangster and The Grandpa, which are showing on both the theaters Facebook and YouTube pages and been streamed to thousands of viewers. This was followed by a pair of lecture-performances on Crypto-Jewish stories in theater.

The Old City Jewish Arts Center, based in the historic Old City neighborhood, is dedicated to exploring the universal messages of Judaism through the universal language of the arts. It, too, has transferred its content online. This spring, the center held a virtual show featuring art hung in the gallery and a virtual tour.

Over the past 15 years we [have] always been a place where people from all walks of life gather to enjoy the warm embrace at our community monthly art exhibitions, said Rabbi Zalman Wircberg, the centers executive director, who is known as Rabbi Zash. Im not sure we can do that every month, but we plan to transition ourselves into a virtual gallery for as long as the current situation requires.

A singer-songwriter-cantors music video for the times

Jessi Roemer walks in the video for her song Walk With You. (Screenshot from Vimeo)

In early April, singer-songwriter and cantor Jessi Roemer recorded and released a music video for Walk With You, a song from her 2019 album Praise. The video features Roemer in her home and walking alone down an empty West Philadelphia street. Several friends and musical collaborators sing along in what resembles a Zoom call, although in reality the participants sent in videos of themselves from home that were edited together.

The song, with lyrics that draw from the biblical book of Isaiah, was inspired by Roemers wish for racial justice and to express solidarity with those suffering in recent years. But once the pandemic hit, she said, the words took on a new meaning, with a whole other message of solidarity that needed to be layered on top of that. Of course, in the wake of the protests over the killing of George Floyd, another layer of relevance has been added.

Roemers life, as a performer and as the cantor for Philadelphias egalitarian Society Hill Synagogue, has seen a big shift. Her album, she says, was written specifically for communal singing. Her responsibilities at the synagogue, including what she calls the ritual part, the pastoral part and the educational part, have moved online. Some of her congregants have been likensing the last two months to when the Jews lost the Temple.

Musical artists, and Ill say ritual artists as well and prayer leaders, had to very quickly start shifting and really thinking about, and reinventing, how do we go about creating intimacy and connection, in these gatherings that were creating with people online, she said.

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Finegold Alexander Architects completes Temple Beth Tzedek; New Sanctuary in the Woods unites two Congregations – New York Real Estate Journal Online

Posted By on June 4, 2020

Amherst, NY Finegold Alexander Architects (FA) celebrates the completion of Temple Beth Tzedek. Inspired by the metaphorical connection to the wooden synagogues of Poland and the congregations wish to worship in the woods, the design conceived an all wood structure, the sanctuary having an exposure to the East and the wooded site.

The project represents the merger of two conservative congregations, Congregation Bnai Shalom (CBS) and Temple Beth Tzedek (TBT), and the new 10,210 s/f addition, including a 300-seat sanctuary, community court, and administration space links to the existing CBS building, whose spaces were repurposed for assembly.

Though modest in size, their vision for their new home was not, and we aspired to achieve that in the openness of their worship space and the connection to the outdoors which is boundless, said Tony Hsiao, principal and director of design, at FA. We took to heart their mission to foster a nurturing, inclusive and caring community in the design of this synagogue.

The wooden building is inherently sustainablewood has the lowest embodied carbon of major structural materials. Large arches shape the Sanctuary and make direct reference to the post and beam interiors of the Polish synagogues and were constructed by Unalam of Unadilla, NYa sixth-generation family business. The exterior torrefied wood cladding came from Canada, and the torrefication treatment a careful drying and reinjection of controlled moisture into the wood, provides a decades long warranty the beauty of the cladding is the wood itself. The interior surfaces and liturgical furniture are made of white ash, supporting the luminosity of the eastern wall and surrounding clerestory windows. The Ark is designed to admit natural light through translucent glass.

12 glass panels from the original TBT synagogue were relocated to this East wall above the Ark, an interpretation of the polychromatic interiors of the synagogues historic antecedents, said Rebecca Berry, AIA, LEED AP, president and sustainability director at FA, noting that a connection to TBTs former space was important. The glazed wall brings the congregation into the woodsboth visually and metaphorically. Now they can feel connected to the natural world while focused on worship and study.

The eastern European, and particularly Polish, synagogues were almost entirely destroyed in the Holocaust, said Moe Finegold, FAIA, senior principal. Mostly square in plan, their wooden exteriors quietly blended into their surroundings; their interiors, however, were a riot of color and text. We wanted to create a contemporary synagogue that honored those traditionshence a synagogue constructed of and clad inwood.

While the congregation desired to worship in the woods, said Berry, wetlands, tree conservation and site restraints rendered locating the synagogue within the trees impossible.

The community court, a space conceived of by FA and integrated into all our synagogue designs, is as a gathering space before or after services, and in this instance, due to space restrictions, combines the library, gift shop, Judaic collection, and memorial plaques together with space for study , creating a vibrant, meaningful arrival. The books and memorial walls face each other surrounding the congregants with a special texture of memory and celebration. The whole structure is surrounded by a garden wall establishing a sacred precinct and featuring plantings that reference the seven species of ancient Israel.

We are thrilled to have the privilege of designing a sanctuary that honors the past, respects TBTs values, and will inspire the congregation for many generations, said Finegold.

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Finegold Alexander Architects completes Temple Beth Tzedek; New Sanctuary in the Woods unites two Congregations - New York Real Estate Journal Online

Montreal synagogue vandalism one of the worst incidents in Canada, says Bnai Brith – Globalnews.ca

Posted By on June 4, 2020

The break-in at a small Montreal synagogue is being called an outrageous display of anti-Semitism and one of the worst incidents in Canada in recent years by Bnai Brith Canada, a Jewish rights advocacy group.

Torah scrolls were found on the floor and other religious items were stuffed in the toilets at the Congregation Sepharde Kol Yehudaa in Cte Saint-Luc, according to Bnai Briths CEO, Michael Mostyn.

Torah scrolls are considered extremely sacred in Judaism, to the extent that damaged scrolls are typically buried in a cemetery, rather than being disposed of in any other manner, the organization.

To desecrate the most sacred object we have in the Jewish faith is outrageous, Mostyn told Global News.

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It is quite rare we receive a report as disturbing as this.

It is not clear when the incident happened. The synagogue had been closed because of the pandemic but according to the organization, a congregant had gone into the place of worship to collect some items ahead of the Jewish holiday Shavuot, which marks the time that the Jews were given the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Its doubly disturbing for the community, Mostyn said.

Mostyn said the incident has been reported to Montreal Police. Police wouldnt confirm or deny the report to Global News but a police car could be seen at the synagogue on Thursday afternoon.

We hope its treated as a hate crime, Mostyn said.

Bnai Brith says its seen a rise in anti-Semitism during the novel coronavirus pandemic as some conspiracy theories tie the Jewish community to the outbreak.

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Were not connecting this in any way to what happened in the synagogue because its up to the police to determine, Mostyn said. We do know there are elevated levels of anti-Semitism and it needs to be taken seriously.

2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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He was a combat pilot. Hes married to a rabbi. James Mackler is breaking the Jewish political mold. – Forward

Posted By on June 4, 2020

James Mackler has been thinking a lot about certain words from the Talmud during his long-shot run for U.S. Senate in Tennessee: In a place where there are no worthy people, strive to be a worthy person.

They were especially prescient on Monday, after a weekend of nationwide protests against racism and police misconduct sparked by the alleged murder of an African-American man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

George Floyd and his family deserve justice, said Mackler, reflecting on what it means to be worthy. It took too long for Officer Chauvin to be arrested. And he had harsh words for President Trump as well: Inciting violence is not leadership.

An Iraq War veteran who served both as a combat pilot and as a military lawyer, Mackler said he would fight for reforms to the criminal justice system, including increased federal oversight of local police departments and the universal use of body cameras.

His perspectives on these and other issues are unique not only because of his law and military training, but also because of his Jewish faith. And while hes not the only Jewish candidate running for Senate, hes the only one married to a rabbi: Shana Goldstein Mackler, who helps lead Nashvilles largest congregation, a Reform synagogue called The Temple.

Theyve both struggled during the coronavirus pandemic to engage with and help people without physically being in their presence.At The Temple, a Reform synagogue, attendance at Zoom services is up compared to normal times, Goldstein Mackler said.

Mackler said hes had some success with campaign events over Zoom, and that it actually helps him to talk about his faith. In Tennessee, people want religiosity in their leaders.

Mackler felt the call to serve after 9/11, and left his law practice at age 30 to join the Army. After his first deployment to Iraq was over, he felt a similar internal call as well as a nudge from his mother to visit a synagogue. The couple met at The Temple on Simchat Torah. I thought I was going to introduce him to people and talk about the young adult community in Nashville, and he thought we were dating, she recounted.

The two decided to become an official couple after going to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to repair damaged buildings with the Jewish disaster relief organization Nechama. We went on that trip together, sitting there covered in mud and gross old water, and realized that we both had this passion for helping people, she said. I was really moved by his commitment and willingness to put his whole self into something that he believed in.

Indeed, one of Macklers goals as a senator is to incentivize young people to participate in public service programs either in the military or in civilian programs like AmeriCorps. This president, for three budgets in a row, sought to reduce or zero out service programs, he said.

Those programs should have been seen as down payments on a more robust civic system. We should be encouraging more people to serve their communities.

Goldstein Mackler said that her husbands candidacy potentially a polarizing topic wasnt affecting her work in her synagogue. Theyve known for 16 years now that I have a voice, and that a message that I speak of is often of social justice and advocacy, and so that wasnt going to change, she said.

It likely helps that Mackler frequently cites Jewish teachings on the trail and he gets much more specific than just citing tikkun olam, the repair-the-world phrase that is the limit of many Jewish Democratic politicians knowledge.

He did, however, tie the phrase to another Talmudic citation he frequently thinks about: It is not your obligation to finish the job, but neither are you free to desist from it. The fact that I cant fix everything doesnt relieve me of the obligation to go to Washington and try, he explained.

But in order to do that, he must first get elected. He will probably get the Democratic nomination in August because he has the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which gives him access to more donations and resources. But hes facing a tough general election, likely against Trumps former Ambassador to Japan. Political prognosticators rank the state Solid Republican. Tennessee hasnt elected a Democrat to the Senate in 30 years, and when well-regarded Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen ran in 2018, he lost 55%-44%.

Mackler said he still liked his chances, noting local dissatisfaction with Trumps trade war and his response to the coronavirus. We only need 6% more in a presidential year when voter turnout will be in high tide, he argued.

And in the midst of it all, Mackler and Goldstein Mackler are also supervising their two daughters online classes. Having more time at home has been an opportunity to teach them life lessons as well, he said.

We have the devices, we have high speed internet, he said he told his children. But throughout Tennessee, there are so many families who cannot do what were doing. The reason Im running is to make sure every child has access to high quality education.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at pink@forward.com or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

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He was a combat pilot. Hes married to a rabbi. James Mackler is breaking the Jewish political mold. - Forward

Facebook shuts down far-right group planning to bring weapons to protests – KMOV.com

Posted By on June 3, 2020

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ADL Says Anarchists, Nonideological People Are Behind the Violence at the George Floyd Demonstrations – Jewish Journal

Posted By on June 3, 2020

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism Associate Director Joanna Mendelson said extremist groups are participating in the protests over the death of George Floyd.

Mendelson told the Journal that although most of the protests around the country have been peaceful, there are some extremists attempting to take advantage of the situation to further their agenda. We are seeing a host of extremists rhetorically try to insert their violent agenda into this national crisis, she said.

Mendelson cited the neo-Nazi group Nationalist Social Club, whose members were handing out stickers during demonstrations in Boston over the weekend. An individual also allegedly shouted Heil Hitler! during a peaceful protest on May 29 in Denver.

According to a June 1 ADL report, right-wing anti-government groups, militias and antifa (anti-fascist) groups also have participated in protests. However, Mendelson said the ADL hasnt seen antifa behind any of the recent violence.

She noted the ADL has documented some instances of anarchists perpetuating the violence. [Anarchists] view it as a chance to destroy what they perceive as this corrupt system, Mendelson said. So, theyre not motivated by the cause [of police brutality] and much more interested in wanton destruction of society.

We are seeing a host of extremists rhetorically try to insert their violent agenda into this national crisis. Joanna Mendelson

Other instances of violence during the protests have not been ideological, Mendelson said. There are some who are interested in the thrills of the confrontation. Theyre not necessarily ideologically oriented.

She added, Were closely monitoring the rhetoric and are concerned for extremist groups to also fully embrace and engage [in the protests].

These protests emerged out of an expression of despair and anger about the perceived systemic racism and inequality, and unfortunately the violence that is devolving in protests around the nation are distracting from the clarion call for change.

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ADL Says Anarchists, Nonideological People Are Behind the Violence at the George Floyd Demonstrations - Jewish Journal

15 Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest – Education Week

Posted By on June 3, 2020

By Sarah Schwartz and Madeline Will

As nationwide protests against police brutality continue, teachers in their virtual classrooms areonce again searching for ways to help their students process the killings of black people in police custody in the United States.

Speaking with Education Week on Monday, teachers said that they and their colleagues have a responsibility to address these protests, which erupted when George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

"Teachers cannot be silent during this time," said Patrick Harris, a 6th and 7th grade English and social studies teacher at the Detroit Achievement Academy. "Teachers have to take a stand. Students are absorbing this, [and] they're going to ask themselves later on in life or even now, 'What was my teacher doing during this time?'"

Talking with students about these events, as they experience them, is top priority right now, saidAbdul Wright, who teaches 8th grade language arts in North Minneapolis."I have to find a way to make meaning of this in a way that creates a better society for them," he said.

Some teachers whose classes have already ended for the school year are reaching back out to students, particularly their black students, giving them space to talk about their emotions and ask questions.

Other teachers in schools still in session are seeking materials and resources to teach about this moment,such aslesson plans that engage students in conversations about racism, policing, and protest.

On Monday, Chicago Public Schools released "Say Their Names," a collection of lessons and materials designed "to help foster productive conversations about race and civil disobedience."

The toolkit linksto other organizations' resources on supporting black students' mental and emotional health, discussing the Black Lives Matter movement, and talking about anti-black racism with non-black students. And it encourages teachers to educate themselves on racism in the U.S. before broaching these topics with students.

In California, theLos Angeles Unified School District posted a collection of resources for teachers,fortalking about race with children and addressing trauma. The superintendent of education in the state, Tony Thurmond, said the California Department of Educationwill also be releasing online materials and trainings.

For teachers looking for more classroom resourcesfor themselves and their studentsEducation Week has compiledthe following list:

PBS NewsHour Extra released a lesson plan for grades 6-12 about the death of George Floyd. The plan includes a news video (that omits the footage of Floyd's death) and discussion questions about the protests, police brutality, and media literacy.

The New York Times' Learning Network shared an article about the protests, along with discussion questions, and opened comments for students to share their opinion.

The Anti-Defamation League has created a short lesson on Floyd's death and police killings of black people, which includes a reading, discussion questions, and action steps for students aged 11 and up.

Black Lives Matter at School, a national coalition, created an anti-racist curriculum guide with English/language arts, math, social studies, and arts materials. The guide has lessons for early childhood through high school students that align with the principles of the Black Lives Matter movement.

D.C. Area Educators For Social Justice, an initiative of Teaching for Change, has a collection of lessons, videos, readings, books, and general teaching guides for students in early childhood through high school.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture launched an online portal called Talking About Race that's designed to help steer conversations about racism, racial identity, and the way these forces shape every aspect of society.

The Pulitzer Center partnered with the New York Times to turn the 1619 Project, a collection of essays and literary works observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, into a curriculum for teachers of all grade levels. The curriculum includes reading guides, activities, and other resources about the history of race in America.

In addition to addressing race and racism in lesson plans, experts and advocates have urged teachers to build a diverse classroom library with protagonists who look like their students.

The group Embrace Race compiled a list of 31 children's books that address race, racism, and activism. And the nonprofit Teaching for Change put together a list of social justice books for teens.

Joe Truss, the principal of Visitacion Middle School in San Francisco Unified and a consultant on racial equity in schools, has curated a list of books for teachers who want to engage in anti-racist work.

Starting these classroom conversations can be uncomfortable and challenging. But for black teachers, talking about police brutality and anti-black racism can be particularly emotionally draining. The Practice Freedom Project, founded by Atlanta educator Tamara Pearson, is hosting virtual meditations and reflections for black educators.

Image:Hundreds of people gather in downtown Benton Harbor, Mich., on May 31 during a peaceful protest march held concerning police brutality and the death of black men, including George Floyd. Don Campbell/The Herald-Palladium via AP

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Here’s why some of the armed counterprotesters at the Alamo wore Hawaiian shirts – mySA

Posted By on June 3, 2020

Military-style groups brandished firearms to protect the Cenotaph in front of the Alamo.

Military-style groups brandished firearms to protect the Cenotaph in front of the Alamo.

Military-style groups brandished firearms to protect the Cenotaph in front of the Alamo.

Military-style groups brandished firearms to protect the Cenotaph in front of the Alamo.

Here's why some of the armed counterprotesters at the Alamo wore Hawaiian shirts

On Saturday, protestors marching in memory of George Floyd faced off with counterprotesters armed with assault-style rifles and sporting tactical gear.

Some of the armed group wore baseball caps or cowboys hats. Others wore something more unusual: Hawaiian shirts.

The men wearing the shirts Saturday were among those organized by groups like Texas Freedom Force, which urged its members to "defend the Alamo & Cenotaph if the need arises."

READ ALSO: Police investigating after graffiti was found on Alamo Cenotaph

The day before, anti-white supremacy slogans had been sprayed on the white-marble Cenotaph. Police formed a barrier between the armed protesters and the Floyd marchers.

Why were some of the armed group wearing Hawaiian shirts? The sartorial choice is the signature look for the "boogaloo" anti-government movement.Such shirts and leis became commonplace in crowds protesting COVID-19 lockdown orders.

The loose movement uses the name of a 1984 movie, "Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo," as a code word for a second civil war, the Associated Press reports. Another derivation of "boogaloo" is "big laua" hence the Hawaiian garb.

"Whereas the militia movement, radical gun rights activists typically promote the boogaloo as a war against the government or liberals, white supremacists conceive of the boogaloo as a race war or a white revolution," according to The Anti-Defamation League.

While some boogaloo followers maintain they arent genuinely advocating for violence, law-enforcement officials say they have foiled bombing and shooting plots by people who have connections to the movement or at least used its terminology.

A 36-year-old Arkansas man whose Facebook page included boogaloo references was arrested on April 11 by police in Texarkana, Texas, on a charge he threatened to ambush and kill a police officer on a Facebook Live video.

I feel like hunting the hunters, Aaron Swenson wrote on Facebook under an alias, police say.

Mark Dunphy is a breakingnews and general assignment reporter for MySA.com |mark.dunphy@express-news.net|@m_b_dunphy

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Here's why some of the armed counterprotesters at the Alamo wore Hawaiian shirts - mySA

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Posted By on June 3, 2020


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