NJSJR December Newsletter

As the year comes to an end we wanted to write this note of appreciation as well as share some upcoming plans.  To begin with, thank you for joining us as members of the Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable to stand up for domestic social justice.  Given the outcome of our national elections and the impending start to the State’s legislation season we will certainly not be without opportunity to raise our collective voices.

Most importantly, we want to share our warmest wishes for a chag sameach – a Happy Hanukkah, and to wish you the happiest and healthiest of years ahead … filled with great strides in our working together to make our country and community more just for far more people.

There are a couple of important news items to note:

  1. First, please block off January 19th (7:00 at West End Synagogue) for our next Roundtable Membership Meeting. Given that we will be called to respond to a full plate of social issues we thought it important to anticipate what experts believe we will be called on to respond.  To this end we invited three extremely knowledgeable and courageous social stalwarts and political strategists to share with us what they envision will be on the forefront of issues in the months ahead.  Joining us will be:

Lisa Quigley, Congressman Cooper’s esteemed and long-serving Chief of Staff.  Lisa, currently in her third stint as a Congressional chief of staff, will give us insight into the current situation in DC, how Congress works, and what issues she believes we will need to address.  Congressman Cooper is slated to be in Washington but if plans change he will join us as well.

Senator Jeff Yarbro and State Representative John Ray Clemmons, who have both courageously led the fight, often uphill, for just issues.  Jeff and John form an impressive team.  In addition to helping us understand the direction the State legislature is headed in they will help us better understand how laws and policies get adopted in our state and how we best can use our voices to impact on the outcome.

PLEASE CIRCLE this date on your calendars and plan to join us!!!

  1. On December 6, the Metro Nashville Council passed without objection Resolution No. RS2016-486 in support of Native American opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.  The pipeline, which is routed through Native American treaty lands, including sacred sites, has also been slated to go under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for the Standing Rock Reservation and others, raising the specter of contamination from leaks. Although the Army Corps of Engineers recently denied the final permit needed for this project, there are reports of continued drilling by Energy Transfer Partners, which also has initiated legal action to overturn the Corps’ permit denial.  Thus the struggle is far from over.  In its Resolution, the Metro Council noted the pipeline’s environmental dangers, the residency here of thousands of Native Americans, and the city’s legacy of activism. The Resolution encourages Nashvillians to support the Standing Rock Native Americans in their “efforts to stop the pipeline and to otherwise raise awareness of this struggle.” The NJSJR commends and supports this Resolution.  “For additional information on supportive action steps you can take contact Steering Committee member Kitty Calhoun at KCalhoon103@aol.com.
  1. The NJSJR Steering Committee, with advice from our membership, continues to develop justice platforms to guide our work ahead. New ones are regularly added.  They can be found on our blog at http://jsjrnashville.org/.
  1. Monday, January 16th is Martin Luther King Day. There are a number of events community members can participate in, both in and out of the Jewish community in which we encourage you to participate.  Please be alert to announcements forthcoming through a variety of media.
  1. On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, an alternative event is being held in Nashville called the Silent Inauguration in large part to serve as a reminder that there is much just work ahead to do in light of the recent election. Participants will gather at the band shell in Centennial Part at 10:45am for the singing of our National Anthem and to recite our Pledge of Allegiance, followed at 11:00, the time the National Inauguration is slated to begin, by 15 minutes of silent contemplation.

That’s it for this month.  Please share this update with others you know and encourage them to join us at: www.JSJRnashville.org.  And once again, please accept our best wishes for a chag sameach and a happy and healthy year ahead.

Avi Poster, Irwin Venick, and the NJSJR Steering Committee