On Saturday, March 30, Dr. Larissa Mann celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim by DJ-ing at a party in New York City. Every year, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, a social justice organization, throws a party in observance of Purim. This was the fourth year that Dr. Mann, a professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Klein College, has been invited as a musical guest.
"Not only do we celebrate the holiday, but we also celebrate the spirit of local communities and retell the story of Purim in relation to modern social justice movements," Mann said. "It's a good way to honor the tradition of solidarity with oppressed people within and across different communities."
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice is an organization dedicated to fighting for a sustainable world with an equitable distribution of economic and cultural resources and political power, inspired by Jewish tradition. Community events based in celebration like the Purim celebration deepen the bonds between communities in a joyful way.
The party is hosted in coalition with Domestic Workers United, an organization for Caribbean, Latinx and African domestic workers, as well as Aftselakhis, a group that performs the yearly reproduction of the story of Purim.
"There's music and there's drinks and dancing, then I DJ at the end," Mann said. "It's always really fun."
Mann started DJ-ing in the early nineties at the end of her college career. She started learning from a man she had been in a band with, and never looked back. Her love of DJ-ing grew out of her love of counterculture music scenes like punk and hardcore, as well as her love of dancing.
She connected with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice while she was living in New York City and DJ-ing for various nightlife events.
"I was a DJ at a lot of radical queer parties and nightlife events, and a good amount of events that had a message or were affiliated with some movement for social justice or racial and economic justice," Mann said. "I knew people involved with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and at some point a few years ago someone reached out to me and asked if I wanted to DJ this event. I did and it was beautiful."