On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, Temple B’nai Abraham’s Social Action Committee, in partnership with the Sisterhood—The Women’s Connection, sponsored the annual Women’s Interfaith Forum, celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy at the temple. Since 1994, the Women’s Interfaith Forum has gathered women from greater Essex County’s houses of worship and faith-based groups to share a vegetarian meal prepared by the women of TBA’s Sisterhood, followed by a discussion of issues of interest to women of all backgrounds. Many of the over 175 guests this year were repeat participants who had attended this event over the decades. Acquaintances have become friends as many attendees look forward to this yearly event. Janet Penn and Ruth Ross, TBA Social Action Committee co-chairs, along with TBA Sisterhood Co-Presidents Donna Ellenbogen and Deborah Jacob, spearheaded this year’s event. The topic this year, Diversity: Embrace It, Share It, Celebrate It. explored what local communities are doing to address diversity.
A four-woman panel shared what their communities are doing to address this topic. The panel participants were: Saba Laeeq Khan, Livingston Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (LCDI) who discussed her personal journey to Livingston and the Township of Livingston’s diversity initiatives; Tammy Williams, Realtor, Chair of West Orange Human Rights Commission who shared her perspective of diversity as well as how West Orange embraces diversity; Mila Jasey, NJ State Assemblywoman for Essex County who explored her personal experiences as resident of South Orange as well as how Essex County handles diversity, and Kaity Assaf, Rutgers-Newark 2020, Political Science Student, Organizer of Women’s March NJ who spoke on her experiences at Rutgers Newark and how the University is in the forefront of supporting diversity on campus.