A Partnership between Brandeis Black Students Organization (BBSO), Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee (BIPAC), and Martin Luther King & Friends (MLK)
Brandeis Bridges is a student-led initiative to bridge the gap between the Black and the Jewish students at Brandeis. This initiative is a partnership between the Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee (BIPAC), the Brandeis Black Student Organization (BBSO), and Martin Luther King and Friends (MLK). Brandeis Bridges will be composed of 5 Black and 5 Jewish fellows.
The idea for Brandeis Bridges originated out of MLK & Friends and BBSO with the help of Amanda Dryer '13. In 2012-2013 the partnership grew to include all three clubs: BBSO, MLK & Friends, and BIPAC.
Brandeis University’s history offers a unique approach in addressing relations between Black and Jewish students on college campuses. Originally founded because elite institutions placed quotas on Jewish applicants, Brandeis since its inception has been dedicated to promoting the virtues of equality and social justice. In addition, the institution has passionately continued its efforts to bridge the gap between diverse communities and peoples.
The founders of Brandeis Bridges saw that the Black and Jewish communities at Brandeis have been for the most part distant, disengaged, and uninformed about each other’s respective passions, and cultures. Students from non-Jewish descent feel that they are at a disadvantage because they are not fully aware of Brandeis’ Jewish roots and the campus culture that emantes from those foundations. The Jewish community at Brandeis has generally seen little organized interaction with Black students, and therefore has not been exposed to the community's passions, ideas, and culture.
Dating back to before the civil rights movement, there was a robust bond between the Black and Jewish communities. Leaders of both communities marched together at Selma and fought alongside on many other issues. Brandeis Bridges looks back to this period as a sign of great acheivments that can be had through cooperation and mutual understanding.
A joint pilgrimage to the South with a delegation of 5 Black and 5 Jewish students will aim to fill the gap between the two communities. The goal of the trip is to cross cultural boundaries together, create an environment in which the participants understand each other better, and bond over what brings us together, rather than what separates us. We believe strongly that Brandeis Bridges can begin to transform the campus environment between the two communities.