Acceptance Without Exception
The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) is an organization that was founded in 1927 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. In the early 90’s our name was changed to accurately reflect the breadth and depth of our mission and the need to be more inclusive at a time of greater diversity in our country. The sole purpose of this organization’s founding was to fight bias, bigotry and racism and promote understanding and respect among all races, religions, and cultures.
Today, our mission is as relevant as it was more than 85 years ago. Issues of prejudice are prevalent in the workplace, in public discourse, in schools and in the multiplying channels of communication to which we are exposed. Individuals and organizations are in need of support to combat the many overt and even subtle acts of bias that wound. NCCJ has a long history of providing the tools to help recognized and overcome bias and bigotry…healing the wounds of bias, bigotry and hatred, as well as training community leaders, is our foundation.
It is our vision to develop people and communities that are free of judgment of one’s race, gender, abilities, the way they worship or who it is they choose to love. Although all of NCCJ’s programs work toward this vision, it is our youth programs for middle and high schools that are closest to our hearts, BRIDGES, ANYTOWN Leadership Institute, and YES! Youth Establishing Strength. Each program builds on the other, enabling NCCJ to educate and mentor students throughout their middle and high school years and even into college.
Bridges is a two-day anti-bullying and prejudice reduction program for middle and high school students. Through a series of activities, students develop critical thinking skills with a greater insight and view of themselves, an understanding of prejudices, a deeper tolerance of other cultures, and a deeper understanding for the racial, ethnic and cultural problems that confront our society.
ANYTOWN Leadership Institute is a yearlong program that begins with a weeklong residential experience held twice a year in May and August for youths ages 14 - 18. ANYTOWN brings together a diverse group of students to spend 6-days covering all areas of social justice e.g., racism,
sexism, anti-Semitism, heterosexism, classism and ableism) and gives students the skills to work to eliminate all forms of discrimination and become effective leaders in our global society.
Inevitably youth leave ANYTOWN wanting to stay connected to their new ANYTOWN family and continue their growth as change agents in our global society. The Anytown Leadership Institute takes a youth centered approach to social justice. Consisting of ANYTOWN and Bridges alumni, the Institute offers continual support to students in making change in their communities, through youth leadership training, mentoring and assistance in developing youth advocacy skills and implementation of community action plans.
NCCJ newest initiative, YES! Youth Establishing Strength, is a multi-year anti-bullying initiative, by and for youth, to transform school cultures into safe and welcoming communities for all students. YES! shifts the focus from fear and punishment to positive youth leadership and potential as a means to end bias-based bullying in our schools. NCCJ created this program for teens to develop innovative solutions to end bias-based bullying that targets ethnicity, religion, class, gender, real or perceived sexual orientation, and/or abilities. Respecting youth as experts on their own experiences (including social media and cyber bullying), this peer-led initiative respects high-school students as passionate leaders who can effectively engage their peers to take a stand, creating an environment where it is cool to speak up for those who have been silenced as victims or bystanders of bullying and ultimately changing the culture of their schools.
Thank you for helping us share the promise of opportunity in a democratic and multicultural society.