Registration for Fall classes will be open as of August 1, 2023.
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The Stolen Beam Series: A Study of Reparations for Descendants of African Slaves in the U.S.
October 17 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDTFree
The Stolen Beam Series is a 5-session course of educational engagement and personal reflection on the topic of reparations for African Americans, with a focus on the legacy of African enslavement and 400 years of anti-Black racism. We consider what was stolen, what may be owed, historical examples of reparations, current challenges and controversies, and faith-based reparations statements and examples. The class materials offer participants a fuller perspective on US history, one that many of us never learned, that centers on the historical and lived experience of African-Americans. The class asks participants to consider the case for reparations as a remedy for past injustice and continued harms to descendants of enslaved African people, and as a concrete response to the ongoing racial wealth gap in this country. Finally, the Stolen Beam series offers participants an opportunity to engage heads and hearts, in a spirit of deep listening and reflection, honest and respectful sharing, that for some becomes a journey of discovery and transformation. The class offers an opportunity to study and reflect on some of the writings of prominent thought leaders on the topic of reparations for African Americans as a path to restorative justice. It reviews the case for reparations, arguments against reparations, various definitions of reparations, U.S. House Resolution 40, faith-related cases for reparations, perspectives including post-Holocaust history, and various models of reparations programs, past, present and future. The Stolen Beam has been offered throughout the U.S., including in Evanston, IL, Cotati, CA, Longmeadow, MA, Pelham, MA, Amherst, MA, Northampton, MA, and Charlotte, NC. It was placed on the Reconstructing Judaism website for use by congregations interested in learning more about reparations for African Americans, and was used by their Board of Governors. The Stolen Beam has been co-sponsored by the African Heritage Reparations Assembly (AHRA) of Amherst, MA as part of their educational campaign.
Andrea Battle is a retired high school teacher, teaching Participation in Government, Constitutional Law, Feminist Thought and Women of Color, and AP Government. She previously spent 10 years in the corporate world, in advertising sales. Although she was successful, Andrea decided to return to her first love: TEACHING! She has been involved in fundraising by running “Relay for Life” at her high school on Long Island, N.Y., as well as for organizations concerned with the treatment of Lupus, Juvenile Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease. She was awarded “Long Island Secondary Teacher of the Year” just before she retired. Andrea came to New England to be close to her 3 grandchildren. She gives service to various town and other organizations. She has the distinct honor to work with Jeff Gold and the Jewish Community of Amherst (JCA) in helping to present The Stolen Beam.
Jeffrey Gold is a (mostly) retired clinical psychologist who worked with traumatized children, adolescents, and their families for the past 25 years. He is currently co-chair of the Reparations Committee of the Jewish Community of Amherst (JCA). Along with several other JCA members, he helped to create The Stolen Beam course and its accompanying manual. Jeff has facilitated multiple Stolen Beam courses and, with Andrea Battle, recently facilitated a Stolen Beam course with members of the League of Women Voters in Amherst, MA.