JCPA: From New Orleans to Birmingham

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which is the national organization of Federation Jewish Community Relations Committees, will hold its annual African-American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission in Birmingham this year.

This is the third year that JCPA is organizing the mission. The previous two times, New Orleans was the destination. There, the groups explored issues of poverty and race with the backdrop of Katrina recovery, developing action strategies for participants to bring back to their own communities.

The Birmingham mission, which will be June 20 to 23, will include visits to Kelly Ingram Park, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, as well as a day trip to Selma and Montgomery. There will also be volunteer opportunities.

The Birmingham Jewish Federation’s JCRC will help the JCPA develop the framework and itinerary for the trip. BJF Associate Executive Director Joyce Spielberger participated in the 2009 Mission, along with Marquita Furness Davis, Commissioner for Children’s Affairs for the State of Alabama.

The Federation plans to focus on programs such as Sisters/Chaverim, which were initiated to promote stronger ties between women of different faith groups and ethnic backgrounds. Sisters/Chaverim was recognized by the Birmingham Urban League and the JCPA as a model program.

“We are honored to have been chosen as this year’s site for this very important experience,” said Spielberger. “This will give us a great opportunity to showcase our wonderful community and the ways that we, here in Birmingham, work together to make life better for all.”