No More Surprises

Dear Tanenbaum Community –

Crosses, Shofars, and Christian flags were carried into the halls of Congress yesterday, as we witnessed Christian white supremacy at its purest and most dangerous. So what does it mean when the followers of someone who preached about “turning the other cheek” and “loving thy neighbor” stage an armed coup of an entire branch of government to disrupt the democratic process?

Many are “stunned” and “shocked” at the events which unfolded on the steps and in the halls of our Capitol yesterday, but we need to stop being surprised that white supremacists are among the most violent elements in America, so we can actually address and end the brutality.

While Christianity itself is not reducible to what happened yesterday in the nation’s capital, this invasion does add a chapter to the history of white Christian supremacy in the United States. Many faith leaders from around the world condemned these events and called for an end to the violence. However, this display of white power, and cultural and religious misappropriation is not without precedent. These practices have histories rooted in this country’s founding.

If we want to create a world that promotes justice and builds respect for all people, including those whose religious beliefs differ from our own, then we have to understand where these tactics come from, how they function, and why they still exist.

Below are resources to help better understand the ways in which white Christian privilege is impacting the ongoing events of the day:

Privilege, Race and Religion Tanenbaum Webinar Series

  • Mark Fowler with Dr. Khyati Joshi: Professor of education at Fairleigh Dickinson University, discusses Christian privilege, normativity, and hegemony in the United States.
  • Mark Fowler with Robert P. Jones: Ph.D., CEO and Founder, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) explores the relationship between American Christianity and white supremacy. Drawing on compelling historical analysis and Dr. Jones’ own research, this conversation illustrates the ways in which the long and fraught intersection of race and religion in the U.S. continues to shape the present.

White Supremacy: An Overview: A comprehensive fact sheet about the varied white supremacist movements and groups.

Religious & Spiritual Approaches to Anti-Racism: Religious and spiritual communities are actively engaged in anti-racism work. This fact sheet highlights organizations and initiatives working to move the needle toward justice.

We have to interrogate the structures that maintain white Christian supremacy in our houses of worship, in our schools, in our communities, in our homes, in our workplaces, in our health care systems, and most importantly, in ourselves. Our democracy needs us not to be surprised by the events of yesterday.

In solidarity,

Rev. Mark Fowler

 


Photo Credit: Win Mcnamee- Getty Images

Updated Hanukkah fact sheet – and a song!

Dear Friends,

It was brought to our attention there was an error on our fact sheet about Hanukkah, which is right around the corner.  While we try to avoid such mistakes, we also wanted to respond to it quickly. I’m happy to share our updated Hanukkah fact sheet with the corrected start date of the evening of December 10th. You can also find other holiday-specific resources for upcoming days including ChristmasKwanzaaand more.

However, I must say that the timing is wonderful, because I’m thrilled to share something else pertaining to Hanukkah. I’m delighted to celebrate our long time Corporate Leader Disney with their recent holiday bop “Puppy for Hannukah” by well-loved Hamilton star Daveed Diggs.

As you can imagine, the Internet is already buzzing about this song — both for its content as well as what it means to them. There are many pressures that would tell us to check our religious identity at the workplace door. There are voices that say we have to choose between different sides of ourselves. Like all of you, we at Tanenbaum know that simply is not the truth — that there are ways to fully incorporate our diverse identities, religious and otherwise.

In addition to passing on our updated resources, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hopefully add some brightness to your days as we wind down 2020 and draw closer to the Festival of Lights.

Warm regards,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum

 


 

Scheduling, decorations, and inclusivity: The December Dilemma

Dear Friends,

The winter holiday season often raises questions about how best to address inclusivity and accommodation in your organization. Whether your organization is considering which holidays to acknowledge and how, what holiday decorations are appropriate to put up, or how to host a celebration that’s inclusive for all, you’re likely to encounter the December Dilemma this season! Here at Tanenbaum, we believe this time is an opportunity to learn about and embrace our diversity.

Our December Dilemma Fact Sheet will address questions about time off and scheduling, decorations, and holiday greetings.

There are plenty of opportunities for education and celebration, beginning with Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and even Lunar New Year in early 2021.

In peace,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum


 

An Upcoming Festival of Lights

Dear Friends,

Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, is fast approaching! This year, Diwali will take place on November 14th. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists around the world celebrate this New Year festival. Diwali is also an official holiday in a number of countries in South Asia and around the world.

To learn more about Diwali and its potential workforce implications, please consult our Diwali Fact Sheet.

Warm regards,

In Friendship,

Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum

 


 

More than just a day for trick-or-treating

Friends –

More than just a day for trick-or-treating and parades, Halloween may have origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It’s also far from the only important holiday that occurs during this time of year. Holidays such as Day of the Dead, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day also have a great deal of meaning for those who celebrate.

Learn more about the importance of these upcoming holidays in Tanenbaum’s new Halloween Fact Sheet.

In Friendship,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum


 

Read Our New Fact Sheet on Death & Mourning

In times of ongoing uncertainty, workplaces are not immune from the impacts of COVID-19 and end of life experiences. To support you and your colleagues as you support one another, Tanenbaum’s newest resource is available for all. Addressing the rituals of death and mourning across religions, with an emphasis on the ongoing impact of COVID-19, our fact sheet can provide you with information and ideas in handling difficult conversations around death and mourning in the workplace.

Read, download, and share our Death & Mourning fact sheet today!

 


 

Jewish Holy Days are Around the Corner

Dear Tanenbaum Community,

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) will take place this year September 18 – September 20 and September 27-28, respectively. Together, these are known as the High Holy Days and are often regarded as the most important of all Jewish holidays.

Employees observing these holidays may require time off to attend services and celebrate with family and friends. Holidays like these are amazing opportunities to learn about traditions with which we may not be familiar! Learn more about both holidays and a few other seasonal holidays in Tanenbaum’s Jewish Fall Holidays fact sheet. Shana tova and a sweet new year to all!

In peace,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum

 


 

Healing as a Community

Dear Tanenbaum Community –

On August 11 and 12, 2017, a “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally was held in Charlottesville. Violent factions of the neo-Nazi movement converged with a new generation of internet trolls, spilling onto the streets of Charlottesville, Va., in the largest gathering of white supremacists the United States had seen in two decades.

In the last few years, activists and faith groups have worked to find ways forward, while continuing to reflect on the long history that led to that tragic day. At Tanenbaum, we’d like to offer some resources for that work and reflection:

Listen/Watch:

Read:

  • Charlottesville Case: Sines vs. Kessler: Learn about the “once in a generation, trial that will fundamentally change our nation.” Integrity First for America is taking on the leadership of the violent white nationalist movement – sending a clear message that violent hate has no place in our country.
  • White Supremacy: An Overview: Learn more about the varied white supremacist movements and groups.
  • Anti-Semitism: What, Where and Why: Understand the historical impact of Unite the Right protestors chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”

Act:

  • Religious & Spiritual Approaches to Anti-Racism: Religious and spiritual communities are actively engaged in anti-racism work. This fact sheet highlights organizations and initiatives working to move the needle toward justice. Consider joining efforts to engage with anti-racism work beyond social media.
  • Five Ways to Counter Extremists on Social Media: A “How To” resource sheet for rising above social media extremists and right-wing hate groups. During this extended period of physical distancing, the power of social media is greater than ever before! Learn how to disrupt these hashtag echo chambers!
  • Five Ways to Combat Anti-Semitism NOW!: A resource for learning about and combating anti-Semitism.

We are all responsible for building a world that promotes justice and builds respect for people of all religious beliefs, together.

In Solidarity,

Rev. Mark E. Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum


Photo: Clergy marching in Charlottesville, VA. Image: Jordy Yager

Eid al-Adha: A Day of Significance

Dear Friends,

Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) celebrates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son when ordered to do so by God. In 2020, this Muslim holiday will be observed in the U.S. between sundown on July 31st and sundown on August 3rd. The date may be different in other countries, as the sighting of the new moon will determine the start of the holiday.

Eid al-Adha is of great significance within Islam and employees may request time off. Please review and share Tanenbaum’s fact sheet for more information on the holiday’s workplace implications, appropriate greetings, and more!

In peace,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum


 

Learn More about Pioneer Day

Dear Friends,

Did you know that July 24th is Pioneer Day? This holiday is one of the major holidays of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The day commemorates the arrival of Brigham Young and his followers to Salt Lake Valley and is often observed with parades, fireworks, and Old West reenactments. Check out our Pioneer Day Fact Sheet to learn more about the holiday’s history, its significance, and how the holiday may impact the workplace,

In friendship,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum

 


Photo: Pioneer Day at Liberty Presbyterian Church