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JHM fellow to speak on social justice for COC

Ariel Goldberg

Editor’s note: This article was updated Jan. 30 to clarify Goldberg’s volunteer work in the social justice realm.

Ariel Goldberg, Zuckerman Fellow and curator of community engagement at the Jewish History Museum, will present “Social Justice Through Writing and Curating” at Congregation Or Chadash on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.

Goldberg, 36, will talk about how the JHM seeks to relate current and historical social justice events in the context of a museum setting.

“I’m going to start my presentation and structure it around how the people in the room think about the words, ‘social justice,’” Goldberg says.

They plan on engaging audience members in an open-minded discussion of what they believe social justice means while also presenting how social justice is intertwined with their own life. Goldberg also is an author whose published works include “The Photographer,” a poetry collection, and “The Estrangement Principle,” a book of essays.

Their work at the Jewish History Museum has been an ongoing process of challenging audiences to see the parallels between the past and present, but Goldberg doesn’t stop there.

Goldberg will extend the presentation past the Jewish History Museum’s role in the social justice community and describe their personal experience as a witness to a bond hearing at the Eloy detention center.

Eloy is a private prison in Arizona that is under contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and houses upward of 2,000 immigrants.

By discussing how they have facilitated volunteerism in their personal life, Goldberg hopes to show audience members how they can make small steps towards joining a social justice movement.

“My hope is that everyone in the room will engage in that level of reflection so that they can go back out and, if they aren’t already active in an organization, they can become active in an organization in a realistic way that is doing frontlines work,” Goldberg says.

Among other events, Goldberg curated a gallery chat with Karolina Lopez for the end of the Jewish History Museum’s exhibition “Invisibility and Resistance: Violence Against LGBTQIA+ People” that was on display September 2017-May 2018 in the Allen and Marianne Langer Contemporary Human Rights Gallery in the Holocaust History Center. Lopez is an activist for the transgender community and runs the Amig@/xs de Mariposas Letter Writing and Visitation Program for Mariposas sin Fronteras, a group that aspires to end systematic abuse towards LGBTQ prisoners in immigration detention centers.

Lopez suffered gender-based discrimination and repeated violence during her three years and six months of incarceration at the Eloy immigration detention center. 

Marc Sbar, chairman of Or Chadash’s social justice and action committee, which is sponsoring the event, says, “The Jewish History Museum in the last couple of years has really stepped up in taking on the stronger position in our society by [creating] the Holocaust museum and by thinking about social justice.”

Goldberg’s presentation, Sbar hopes, will create small waves of social justice change in the Tucson community.

“They are not dryly presenting history, they are talking about what’s going on today, what was going on before and how we support people,” says Sbar.