Hi, my name is Aaron Welcher. I have recently started at the JCRC as the Programs & Communications Coordinator. I want to skip the typical life biography stuff (you can find that in the Meet our Staff section) to present to you a new way of getting to know me, by my intersectionality.
Intersectionality is the theory that our identity is not broken down into parts but is a collective unit that shapes the way we think, feel, and view the world. For me, my intersectionality comes as a Jewish American homosexual man. These all have shaped the core of my being. The importance of focusing on intersectionality is that it makes every individual’s story important. Every person views the world through a different lens. Life lens just like everyday glasses are made for only one person’s eyes. While you may be able to try them on you will never truly grasp that person’s sense of place in the world
My Jewish identity is a driving force in my call to social justice and action. The principle of Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) drove me to dive deeper into my religion and spirituality. When I think of Judaism my first thought isn’t of Saturday morning temple but of working to promote equality for all, volunteering, and sharing in others experiences. I work every day to leave the world a better place than I found it.
Like a tree, my identity has many roots that ground my being. My sexual identity doesn’t make me less Jewish or less American it just makes me connect with these other parts in different ways. My sexuality made it so I searched for gay Jewish heroes like Harvey Milk. Biblical characters had different narratives and meanings. Take the story of King David and Johnathan. Many see their relationship as a great friendship. To me, they are a love story, two great men who happened to love each other. In my confusion of youth and being in the closet, their story gave me hope to turn to. An idea that showed me that even though I was gay I could be a great leader. For others, this view cannot be seen at all. Intersectionality morphs the ridge world into a new world of fluidity, with many diverse ideas, emotions, and relations to it.
My sense of duty to my country runs deeper because of intersectionality. I find democracy vital to protecting rights (though there is much work to be done), ensuring I can take a stand for what I believe in, and most importantly gives me the power to run for office no matter my identity. Without the different parts of my collective being, I would not view the importance of democracy in the same way.
Intersectionality is not about finding common ground (though that is important) it is about looking at a person in the individual sense and understanding how they connect to the larger picture. To be able to engage in this type of knowing someone takes a different approach, not one where resumes and bios inform, but by asking questions and taking the time to try on some different lens. I hope during my time at the JCRC I will get to know many of our community members through their own intersectionality. I am excited to take this journey together and see how we can make a collective impact.