NJSJR August Newsletter

Elections: This is Primary Election Week … with early voting ending this Saturday and Election Day on August 2. Many of you will have or will be taking advantage of early voting (that ends this Saturday, July 28. It is critically important that everyone votes in this election (and every election). Please vote and encourage others in your family and friendship circles to do the same.

Community Oversight Board Charter Amendment: This week the Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable hosted and co-sponsored with The Temple Social Justice Committee a presentation from Community Oversight Now, a coalition of Nashville organizations supporting the creation of an independent oversight board to review citizen complaints concerning the police. Community Oversight Now is gathering signatures for a petition to have a referendum placed on the November ballot that will allow the voting public to decide whether to amend the Metro Charter and create a citizen’s oversight board. If enough signatures are gathered, the Charter Amendment will be on the November ballot.

The Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable encourages its members to sign and submit a petition that will result in this issue to be publicly discussed and voted upon in November. Community Oversight Now is gathering signed petitions which will be submitted the Davidson County Election Commission by August 2, 2018. The Election Commission will then validate that the submitted signatures (matching names and addresses to voter registrations) are equal to or greater than 10% of voters in the last general election. To sign on as a supporter of Community Oversight Board Charter Amendment being placed on the November ballot you should print the petition on legal size paper and mail it to Community Oversight Now at P.O. Box 280962 Nashville, TN 37228. Here is the link to the petition.

Background information: There are 200+ citizen review boards similar to the one being proposed for Nashville. Currently, the Metropolitan Police Department (MNPD) investigates all complaints internally through its Office of Professional Accountability (POA) and the Police Chief ultimately decides on discipline that complies with civil service rules. The OPA is funded and staffed by MNPD with no external accountability. What is being proposed is a Community Oversight Board (COB) that would be funded by the Metropolitan Government outside of MNPD and be independently staffed by trained investigators. The eleven Board members, confirmed by the Metropolitan Council, would review and investigate citizen complaints of alleged police misconduct and send its recommendations for action to the Chief of Police. If the Chief chooses not to apply the recommendation of the Community Oversight Board, he must issue a public statement explaining his decision. This process for community review will be a model of transparency and accountability that will greatly enhance the public trust of and confidence in law enforcement officials (particularly among those currently feeling disenfranchised).

Voter Mobilization for Immigrant Rights: Following the recent massive immigration raid in East Tennessee, the Legislature’s passage of one of the country’s most extreme mass deportation laws, State Legislators suing the federal government to keep refugees out of Tennessee, and another cruel defeat of tuition equality legislation, Tennessee is at risk of becoming one of the most hostile and unwelcoming states in the nation. These state level attacks are happening as the President and his Administration continue to advance unconscionable and draconian policies, dismantling our immigration system. In face of these actions, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (TIRCC) is launching a new effort to get out the vote in the upcoming 2018 mid-term election. TIRRC plans to register and mobilize thousands of voters who share our values and want to build a more just and welcoming Tennessee for all. This effort, called TIRRC VOTES, will be launched on Monday, August 13, 2018 at Plaza Mariachi, 3955 Nolensville Pike, from 6:30 – 8:30pm. We encourage Roundtable members to support this effort and attend this launch. You can RSVP here.

Deserved Recognition: The YWCA recently announced those women who will be inducted into its Academy for Women of Achievement. The slate is composed of women who have served our community with great distinction. Among those being recognized this year are two women who have long stood with our Roundtable in support of issues we champion … Kasar Abdulla, Valor Academy Diversity Officer, and Beverly Watts, Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Our Roundtable salutes all who were selected … with special applause for Kasar and Beverly. The recognition will take place October 11, 2018.