November 27, 2019
On a beautiful Friday evening in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, REALITY alumni braved rush hour traffic to gather at the yet-to-be-formally-opened, members-only social club Reserve Vault City Club (RVCC), to participate in a group-oriented racial justice problem-solving experience set around Shabbat dinner. Hosted by the Purple Aisle, a nonprofit leadership accelerator that produces pop-up labs for civic leaders, and the Schusterman Foundation, REALITY LA Hub alumni of all backgrounds gathered to challenge each other to establish better practices for working together. They addressed the question, “How might people of color and allies prevent racial injustices and meaningfully reduce disparity in their communities?”
The evening was brilliantly led by keynote moderator Gamal Palmer, SVP of Leadership Development the Jewish Federation and Founder of Global Eye Entrepreneurs, a network for male entrepreneurs of color. Attendees were encouraged to interrogate the inequities of their personal and professional landscapes in order to work as a team to develop strategies to combat issues of injustice and inequity. The group was divided into cohorts where they dove into an innovation-driven design sprint to address the lab challenge.
Later that evening, the cohorts reconvened to soft pitch their solutions to the group. The cohorts generated a multitude of implementable ideas for community projects and policies that would be helpful in establishing more equitable communities. A highlight was developing an American version of the MEET program we learned about in Israel, where Jewish and Arab Israeli youth are brought together in an effort to create dialogue and foster connection between disparate groups of youth that would otherwise not be exposed to each other.
It was a productive evening and heartening to be in the presence of so many energized and impassioned people dedicated to creating positive change and repairing the world. Event organizers Orie Ward, Mollie Lehman and Shane Eli are working on creating a longer-form version of the Action Lab to take place next February during Black History Month, and are actively seeking volunteer help and funding. They can be reached at [email protected].