Nexus of race and religion focus of discussion

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KINGSTON – Influential black and Jewish women shared their experiences of solidifying their identities during the Kingston-based Reher Center’s Being Black and Jewish, The Nexus of Race and Antisemitism” virtual panel discussion, Wednesday evening.

Randi Zinn of the “Going Beyond” podcast, filmmaker and wife of Representative Antonio Delgado, Lacey Schwartz Delgado, and clinical social worker Ahvegyil Skolnick spoke to an audience of over 100 regarding their search for their identities, as well as the identities of their children who are mixed-race and Jewish.

Zinn said it was important to her and her husband to have their mixed-race children have an identity that included that heritage, while at the same time fostering their Jewish principled upbringing.

“Our kids in the eyes in most people, all people, they’re going to be black, so let’s infuse in them their own personal connection to their Judaism because people won’t see it at first, but they’ll be able to feel it because of what they know and because of how they feel connected and that’s proven to be true,” said Zinn.

“There are issues that come up that people take as an excuse to close down the conversation, rather than open up the conversation and we’ve seen those issues and there have been a variety of them that have come up in Jewish spaces that where people cross the line and the conversation is over,” said Delgado. “When somebody crosses the line, that’s exactly the moment to open the conversation up, to never back away from it, to double down on that resilience,” she said.

Panelists agreed that making the identity pathway easier for the next generation to navigate is key and multi-ethnic people should be able to comfortably carve out these distinct identities with the confidence of being accepted by those around them.