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Originating from Tufts Hillel's Social Justice Initiative, Keeping Democracy Alive is Tufts Hillel's social justice speaker series, hosted by Rem Hellmann A22, highlighting organizations and figures throughout the world who work tirelessly and selflessly to help others. Oftentimes their work goes overlooked, so it is our mission to give them the honor and acknowledgement that they deserve.


Episode 17- Ft. Ricardo Fernandes, Activist

This week’s conversation is facilitated by Dr. Fahlberg, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Tufts, who conducted an interview with a Brazilian activist named Ricardo Fernandes. Ricardo was born and raised in a favela, an area of a Brazilian city that is typically deemed a ‘slum’ or a ‘squatter territory.’ The history of favelas and their relationship to other parts of the city is long and complicated, but this conversation with Ricardo precisely details and debunks the commonly associated stigmas about favelas and their inhabitants, ‘favelados’. In doing so, Professor Fahlberg and Ricardo talk about the long reigning history of racism and classism that swells within Brazil’s social structure, the often disregarded beauty within these communities, and the way forward.

Episode 16- Ft. Reginald Crossley, Fulton County Youth Commissioner Coordinator, Department of Housing and Human Services

Reginald has played a crucial role in helping the homeless in Atlanta, helped create a multitude of school programs intended to help disenfranchised students and has successfully worked within the government, serving a key role in introducing new curriculum to our school systems. He continues to be a guiding light for students across Georgia with FCYC and has hopes for expanding his homelessness program.

Episode 15- Ft. Billy Planer, Founder, Etgar 36

Etgar 36 is a cross country summer program that integrates travel and sight-seeing with learning and conversation. Billy's intention with the program has always been to teach the program’s participants how to engage politics from a non-partisan point of view. Etgar 36 now runs year-round Civil Rights Journeys to Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham for teen groups as well as for adult groups.

Episode 14- Ft. Rashid Nuri, Urban Agriculturalist and Founder of Truly Living Well

Mr. Nuri is a leader in the field of Sustainable Living,  a believer and an advocate for a new way of living that is influenced by collective societies centered around small farms and urban agriculture. Mr. Nuri also founded the Nuri Group, an organization dedicated to advocating for reimagined agricultural practices in both local and national communities. His work now engages legislators and educators to introduce new curriculum to students, while also hosting summer programs that help people reconnect to mother nature. 

Episode 13- Ft. Sierra Weiss, graduate student studying disability scholarship and ethics

At a young age Sierra noticed how much work needed to be done in order to have a truly inclusive society and devoted herself to the fight for the inclusion of people with disabilities. In this episode you will learn about Sierra's research ranging from inter-abled relationships to the parallels between eugenics and the terminology surrounding the medicalization of people with disabilities.

Episode 12- Ft. Mehra Rimer, Co-Founder and Chair, B8 Of Hope

B8 of Hope is based out of Geneva, Switzerland. Their mission is to promote people-to-people connections between Israelis and Palestinians in an effort to help catalyze peace efforts. Mehra and her partners believe that humanization is the best approach to the seemingly endless conflict that has plagued the Israel/Palestine region for over a century and that peace will come from bottom up. With this in mind, they work to promote and support any Israeli, Palestinian, or joint Israeli-Palestinian peace-building efforts.

Episode 11- Ft. Dave Cavell, lawyer and community advocate, ran for Massachusetts 4th Congressional District

Dave Cavell, a former Tufts student, public school teacher, speechwriter for President Obama, and assistant to Massachusetts’ Attorney General Healey - now is running as a candidate in the run-off for Massachusetts 4th Congressional District. The Dave Cavell for Congress campaign is one based on conversation and dialogue between himself and his potential constituents. He utilizes technology in ingenious ways to have this conversation and he is dedicated to doing whatever he can to make people’s lives that much better.

(Note: this episode aired before Cavell withdrew from the 2020 Massachusetts Congressional Race)

Episode 10- Ft. Becca Rausch, Massachusetts State Senator, representing Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex districts

This special episode we get a glimpse into the life of a mother, politician, and Massachusetts State Senator, Senator Becca Rausch. Senator Rausch was elected in November 2018 and is the first Democratic Jewish Woman to hold her position. Due to her background of being a lawyer and the granddaughter of a Holocaust Survivor, she’s committed to improving our communities through providing fair opportunity and pinpointing specific laws that are abused and allow certain individuals to neglect our founding principle of oversight.

Episode 9- Ft. Jeffery Hicks, Vice Chair, Fair Housing Public Policy Committee, NAR

Mr. Hicks is the Immediate Past President, National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). NAREB is the oldest and largest minority real estate trade association in the country. Currently, Mr. serves as Vice Chair of the Fair Housing Public Policy Committee for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In this episode, Rem and Mr. Hicks' conversation touches subjects ranging from the history of segregated housing, to democracy in housing, to intimate interpretations of the society that we live in.

Episode 8- Ft. Michal David, Lead Organizer, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

Bend the Arc is working to organize Jews across the country to build a multi-racial and multi-ethnic democracy and economy in which all can live and thrive. Listen to Michal’s reasoning as to why as Jews it is so important to fight for all of our fellow Americans.

Episode 7- Ft. Madeline Mardiks, Co-Communications Director, Not My Generation

Not My Generation is a nonprofit organization committed to gun violence prevention and advocacy for young adults. In this episode Rem and Madeline will speak about the organization's mission, their energetic creative strategies, and their impact.

Episode 6- Ft. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO, Anti-Defamation League

Prior to Jonathan’s time with ADL, he was a former Tufts’ Student and Special Assistant in Obama’s White House as the Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Since joining in 2015, Jonathan has helped ADL expand its reach in extraordinary ways through modernization, organization, and forming partnerships with various organizations throughout the world such as the European Jewish Congress.

Episode 5- Ft. Shiri Sandler & Mauri Honickman, Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Rwanda

This week’s episode features Shiri Sandler, Managing Director, and Mauri Honickman, International Visitors Fellow, from Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) in Rwanda. Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village's mission is to empower orphaned youth through a holistic approach that touches upon healing, love, and education. Learn more about Shiri’s role with the village and Mauri’s experience as a fellow.

Episode 4- Ft. Eric Jacobson, Executive Director, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

Rem speaks with Eric Jacobson, Executive Director of Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, about a social justice subject that is often overlooked by the general public – helping those with developmental disabilities.

Episode 3- Ft. Udi Nir, Israeli Film Director

Rem interviews Udi Nir, an Israeli Film Director from Jaffa. Udi and his partner, Sagi, have to date produced two films – Uploading (2016) and Golda (2019) – and are currently working on three more films. Rem and Udi discuss his films, the inspiration behind them, and how they uncover and explore the complexity of Israeli Politics.

Episode 2- Ft. Judi Bohn, New England Special Projects Coordinator, Facing History and Ourselves

Rem speaks with Judi Bohn, New England Special Projects Coordinator for Facing History and Ourselves, about the history of Facing History and Ourselves and her passion to combat racism and antisemitism.

Episode 1 - Ft. Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director, Integrity First for America

Amy Spitalnick, Tufts Alumnus, former Tufts Hillel student president, and now Executive Director of Integrity First for America, talks with Rem about her work to combat white supremacy.