Tzedek Circle is a space for music, learning and action opportunities, and a chance to connect and reflect with Tzedek Box users across America. Join us live on Zoom each month!
Attorney, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice
Based in Baltimore, MD
Dena Robinson is a daughter of the warm Caribbean seas between Jamaica and Barbados. She is a first-generation Black, Jewish, and queer woman who organizes, educates, lives, works, and plays in Baltimore, MD, and the DC Metro area.
Dena is passionate about collective and individual liberation and healing, storytelling (in all its forms), and centering joy, play, and pleasure in everything she does. Leading from her values and lived experience, Dena has worked as an organizer around the areas of race equity, education, and campus sexual assault, taught immigrant and refugee students English, designed social justice and race-equity focused curricula, taught students how to tell their stories in front of the camera, and facilitated workshops around race, white supremacy, and identity.
When she's not busy working as a civil rights attorney and enforcing Title VII, Dena can be found nurturing her passions. Dena runs a DEI facilitation and consulting practice, Radical Roots, alongside her co-founder, a fellow Jewish woman of color. Through her DEI work, Dena has facilitated or consulted with BBYO, Avodah, the Safety, Respect, and Equity Network (SRE), Netflix, and Reddit, among others. She also is the DEI Manager for the Revolve Community, a peer-led Jewish community. When Dena isn't wearing multiple hats, you'll find her hiking all over Maryland with her partner, Tia, and their two dogs, Moose and Stanley, lifting heavy things while training for Strongwoman competitions, cooking, or reading good books.
Professionally, Dena graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law with a healthcare law certificate. She has over 10 years of experience in community organizing around race equity, education, and campus sexual assault. Dena also holds an M.S.Ed. from The Johns Hopkins University. Currently, Dena works as a Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
Darin Lim Yankowitz
Vice President for People and Performance, Teach For America
Based in Hawai'i
Darin Lim Yankowitz grew up in the Bay Area, where he attended some of the best and worst public schools in California. One of his most vivid childhood memories is his father sitting him down in the fourth grade to say, “If you want to get into college, you need to earn straight As. And even that might not be enough. Because an A in Oakland isn’t even worth a C in Piedmont.” When Darin’s family later moved from Oakland to Piedmont, it changed his life—and demonstrated to him with utter clarity how racism and poverty shape educational opportunity, setting children with equal potential on vastly different life trajectories. Those experiences, alongside the Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam, motivate Darin to make educational equity his life’s work.
Darin works for Teach For America, leading human capital for their national recruitment team. He graduated from UC San Diego with highest distinction, writing his undergraduate thesis on our moral obligations to the global poor. Darin also holds an MA from Teacher’s College at Columbia University in educational leadership, and he is in the final year of doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University, where he is researching how quantitative analysis can be used to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in multicultural organizations. Outside of work, Darin enjoys high-altitude trekking, practicing handstands, and learning about nutrition science.
Darin lives in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, with his partner, Naomi, their two children, Akemi and Takashi, and their dog, Genki. He is acutely aware of the fact that he is the only one in the family whose name does not end in the letter “i”.
Prior Tzedek Circle Events
October 2022: What are the respective roles of empathy and sympathy when pursuing change? (With Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger)
November 2022: How do you navigate the inevitable ups and downs on the road to equity and justice? (With HIAS)
December 2022: How do we approach the needs of Jewish communities in relation to other needs? (With the ADL's Education Project)
January 2023: How do you respond to calls for moderation while working to make urgent change? (with Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg and Yavilah McCoy)
February 2023: How do you balance simplicity and nuance when pursuing complex issues? (with Wendy Seligson)
March 2023: How do you speak the truth to people who benefit from obscuring it?
April 2023: How do you take responsibility for your part in a systemic problem?