Jews of Color organization launches

Edot HaMidwest, a newly launched project based at the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Human Ecology, is working to reduce prejudice while increasing the leadership of Jewish people of color.

The project is based at the School of Human Ecology because human ecology is the discipline that studies human beings and our environment, according to the project director of Edot HaMidwest, Shahanna McKinney-Baldon.

Shahanna McKinney-Baldon is project director of Edot HaMidwest.

Edot HaMidwest is funded by a grant from the national Jews of Color Field Initiative. Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Cleveland are their three focus communities.

Edot HaMidwest has already had a few successful events since its launch in August, according to the group. Yehudah Webster, a Jewish political activist, spoke for the group at Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center.

Kai Gardner-Mishlove, the director of community engagement for Edot HaMidwest Milwaukee, has held brunches and evening meet ups in Milwaukee, McKinney-Baldon said.

Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz spoke at The Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She spoke about her experience as a Jew of color.

“We are really excited for the ways our programs are going to be able to provide new ways for folks to engage in Jewish community who might not be currently engaged,” McKinney-Baldon said.

For the spring, the group is planning a Midwest regional Jewish diversity event. Their goal is to provide heavily subsidized opportunities for participation. They anticipate participants from all over the region.