Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh works to enrich the community by creating an environment that strengthens the physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being of individuals and families. In March of 2014, JCC President & CEO Brian Schreiber and eight other JCC staff members attended a workshop with one of America’s leading male activists; Jackson Katz. Katz is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in the field of gender violence prevention education and critical media literacy.
The messages struck a chord with Brian. He eagerly agreed to sign the Fathers Day Pledge To End Gender Violence. As he thought about the commitment he had made, he realized that thousands of community members come through the doors of the JCC every year, and that he had the opportunity to engage them in a real conversation about violence prevention. And that is exactly what the JCC has done:
- The Jewish Community Center Board of Directors agreed that the issue of gender violence would become a clear advocacy priority for the year.
- JCC printed wall-size banners and set a goal to enlist 500 men from the Jewish community and the community at large to sign the Pledge to End Gender Violence. He visited congregations and summer camps. Within a month, and in time for the JCC Annual Meeting, he had met his goal and needed to print new banners.
- The JCC Annual Meeting was redesigned to incorporate a speaker on why communities—and particularly men—should take an active role in preventing violence against women and girls. Attendees who had not already signed the Pledge were invited to participate.
- The JCC submitted a Resolution on Gender Violence to the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. This group of volunteer leaders from all local Jewish organizations unanimously approved its adoption
- Anticipating that this new attention to gender violence prevention might lead to disclosures from abuse survivors, senior staff of the Jewish Community Center met with victim service agencies to learn about local resources available to survivors.
- JCC has renewed its commitment as a member of STANDING FIRM: The Business Case to End Partner Violence and is in the process of reviewing personnel policies to better support victims and hold offenders accountable for their actions.
- The JCC also presented a Coaching Boys to Men training session for volunteers and professionals in its youth basketball program.
- The JCC offered the Mentors in Violence Prevention training. Starting in spring 2015, more than 30 men participated in this leadership training program for men committed to integrating domestic and sexual violence prevention strategies into their organizations’ work.