Cotton, Steeg honorees at Avodah Partners in Justice Awards

The New Orleans location of Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps will honor Deborah Cotton and Pamela Steeg at this year’s Partners in Justice jazz brunch, April 23 at 11 a.m., at Temple Sinai.

The brunch was established to honor “individuals who emulate our vision of a Jewish community in which members devote themselves to building a more just world.”

Founded in 1998, Avodah is a network of Jewish leaders who fight domestic poverty and promote social justice. A group of young adults make a one-year commitment to Avodah, where they are paired with non-profit agencies in the city, boosting those non-profits’ ability to serve.

In New Orleans, Avodah has partnered with 30 local agencies on a wide range of issues, from women’s advocacy to disaster recovery, and continues to work closely with organizations like the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and MacArthur Justice Center.

Over half of the Avodah alumni have remained in the area, many continuing to work at the agencies where they were paired while in Avodah.

The participants live together and have weekly educational programs to explore their work through a Jewish lens.

The New Orleans Avodah house was established in 2008 to contribute to the long-term recovery after Katrina. Other Avodah communities are Chicago, New York and Washington.

Cotton is a New Orleans-based writer, videographer and activist who covers indigenous street culture, such as second line parades, brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians. She also covers criminal justice reform and advocacy and is known as “Big Red Cotton.”

A self-published author and an award-winning freelance writer who moved to New Orleans just before Katrina, Cotton was one of the 19 victims of the Mother’s Day second line parade shooting on May 12, 2013. She is now a prominent and often unique voice for victim’s rights and restorative justice in New Orleans.

Steeg currently serves as chair of the Planned Parenthood LA Leadership Advisory Council, and sits on the Oschner Health Foundation board and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast board. She has also served as the board chair of the Oschner Clinic Foundation Pediatric Board of Councilors, a board member and board treasurer of Agenda for Children, a member of the Women of the Storm delegation to Congress, and Mayor Landrieu’s Task Force on Youth and Families.

Tickets to the brunch are $60, $36 for age 35 and under. Sponsorship levels that include a listing in the program book start at $100, reserved tables are $1,000. Reservations can be made here.

The kosher brunch will include a jazz performance and silent auction.