The Power of We

3 people sitting on bench in front of massive display of multi-cultural images of people

Introduction by Joshua Schwartz from The Jewish Education Project.

In this powerful article, Yavilah McCoy explores the usage of the word “we” and examines how it can inadvertently alienate marginalized members of a classroom and, more widely, of a community. She writes about the power that language holds and illustrates how deeply words affect community building. This article made me stop in my tracks and consider: how have my words impacted the members of my communities? How can I do better?

This resource is part of our Racial Justice Collection: Responding to the Moment and Beyond and in featured in the section for Educators, Teens, and Our Community.

The article was originally published in Gleanings, the eJournal of the Leadership Commons of The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of JTS, and was reprinted with permission. in eJewish Philanthropy.



Yavilah McCoy

Yavilah McCoy is the CEO of DIMENSIONS Inc. in Boston.  She has spent the past 20 years working extensively in multi-faith communities and partnering specifically with the Jewish community to engage issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yavilah is an educator, activist, and spiritual teacher.  She is a Jewish woman and a person of color and has designed numerous tools and methods that enable students and educators to be better citizens of the world through exploring differences and reaching for tangible solutions in allied engagement. Yavilah brings a wealth of wisdom and experience in DEI consulting, non-profit management, philanthropy, and engagement to this project and has worked with numerous partners to build strong, healthy organizations with measurable commitments to racial justice, equity, and anti-oppression strategies. Yavilah is a certified trainer for ADL’s World of Difference Institute, National Conference for Community and Justice, and the National Coalition Building Institute. She is a certified coach for the Auburn Theological Seminary Pastoral Training program and is a renowned speaker, educator, and spiritual practitioner.

Yavilah was also a presenter at our 2018 Jewish Futures Conference, Power to the People: How Shifting Power Impacts Jewish Education.



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