To prepare for the Riverdale Y’s annual gala, we will close at 4:30pm Sunday, March 26, 2023. Thanks for your understanding!

RJCP Anti-Racism Book Club

Dear Riverdale Community Member,

The Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership is working together to play a role in combating racism and prejudice in all of its forms in our society.

In these trying times, we must create spaces to raise awareness and inspire initiatives to address racism in our local and broader communities. After much exploration, and understanding that there are many important action steps to take, we decided that an issue of this magnitude needed a forum for real, ongoing learning and conversation. Even as we are supporting responses from each partner institution, we deeply feel the need to engage as our entire community, and we want to begin by reading a shared text. We are, therefore, creating and facilitating Riverdale community book groups.

While some may want to simply read and discuss with their families, we strongly encourage everyone to join a group to engage in communal conversations. Book groups will consist of 8-12 people who will read the book of their choice, and they will take place on the platform of their choice.

After a process of discussion and consultation with African American leaders, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo has been recommended as our first shared text from among an array of important books (see a few other options below), and they will take place on the platform of their choice.

Click here to join a group so we can begin our important work together.

We hope reading, learning, and sharing with others in our community will lead to more personal and communal reflection and inspire more action toward a better tomorrow.


Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership

white fragility

A book on challenging racism by working against and understanding what the author terms “white fragility”, a reaction in which white people feel attacked or offended when the topic of racism arises. The book discusses many different aspects and manifestations of white fragility that DiAngelo personally encountered in her work as a diversity and inclusion training facilitator.

New Yorker Article about White Fragility

just mercy

Just Mercy tells the story of the Equal Justice Initiative (nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned), from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies and culturally powerful issues of our time. Dr. Eberhardt exposes racial bias at all levels of society – in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and the criminal justice system. Yet she offers tools to address it and shows us how we can be vulnerable to bias but not doomed to live under its grip.
how to be an antiracist

Kendi describes concepts of racism such as scientific racism, colorism and their intersection with demographics including gender, class and sexuality. He summarizes historical eras such as the scientific proposals of polygenism in Europe in the 1600s and racial segregation in the United States. The book also covers contemporary history such as the O. J. Simpson robbery case and 2000 United States presidential election. He also details experiences from his own life, including his change in beliefs over time, and observations from classes he has taught. Kendi comments on internalized racism and disputes the prejudice plus power model of racism. He suggests models for anti-racist individual actions and systemic changes.