With Hanukkah and the New Year approaching, and some members of the NJSJR Steering Committee traveling, we thought we would get our last newsletter of the year out to you a bit early … sharing with you some bits and pieces regarding this topsy-turvy world we live in.
There are a couple of events we are involved in that we just want to put on your radar … with more information coming as they near.
- Sometime in January the Roundtable plans to invite our members together for a conversation about the challenges faced by progressive candidates who run for office in Tennessee, especially in the non-urban parts of the state. We hope, through such a discussion, we can better position ourselves for elections in the future. We plan to invite at least four Democratic candidates in the recent election to tell us what they learned about Tennessee voters and offer guidance crafting our messaging moving forward.
- We will also be inviting the Roundtable membership to attend a Circle of Friends event at Congregation Micah on Jan. 22, 2019. Circle of Friends is a nearly ten-year old Muslim-Jewish dialogue group that would like to open its doors to others. The event will be music centered … with performances singing messages of peace and friendship. An invitation will be forthcoming.
Particular applause goes out to a couple of members of our Steering Committee.
- The ACLU of Tennessee honored Sally Levine with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her amazing portfolio of work in social and economic justice. Few among us have done more for the underserved and the underrepresented. Mazel Tov, Sally!!!!!
- Also, congratulations to Josh Segal, another Steering Committee member, who, along with other young Nashvillians, created the WE REMEMBER NASHVILLE initiative to promote awareness, education, and public reckoning around racial terror in Nashville and to establish a permanent memorial to those who have suffered from it. To learn more about this effort, possibly join it, contact Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One action item you can stay abreast of is any further Senate action on the Administration’s controversial nomination of Thomas Farr for a lifetime judicial appointment as a United States District Court Judge in North Carolina. After Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-Ari) announced their opposition, the Senate delayed a full vote because the GOP did not think it had enough votes to confirm. The vote has now been delayed and we are not certain when it will take place … but it will very soon. Farr has a legacy of working to disenfranchise black voters and restrict access to the polls. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Farr’s connection to hate groups and his record of fighting advances in black political participation spans decades. We urge you to contact Senators Corker and Alexander and urge them not to support his nomination:
If you are looking for another critical but easy to take action step in December … here’s something else you might want to do. Despite Republican control of Congress (until January), the Administration has failed at pushing through major legislation it wanted adopted that would dramatically reduce legal immigration. To accomplish the same goal, the Administration is now trying to use the regulatory process to bypass Congress by proposing regulations, known as the “public charge rule,” that will force families to make devastating choices between accessing essential public benefits they are by law entitled to or advancing their immigration status. The proposal will expand the list of public benefits people need or receive that immigration officers can consider in denying whether individuals can enter this country … or whether those here can request a change in their current legal status. This is one more effort by the Administration to limit that gets to come and stay here. If the “public charge rule” is enacted the use of programs like SNAP or Medicaid could harm immigration applications and status. We are already witnessed disenrollment from nutrition assistance and fewer medical visits. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is accepting comments from the public on this proposal until December 10.
- This is your opportunity to urge DHS to abandon this harmful policy and instead to protect immigrant families. Please consider making your voice heard by registering your concerns at http://cqrcengage.com/reformjudaism/app/act-on-a-regulation?0&engagementId=491505.
- For an easy to read review of how our asylum system, in place for decades, actually works read this piece from the American Immigration Center … http://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/research/asylum_in_the_united_states.pdf
Locally, the citizens of Nashville approved an amendment to the Metro Charter to establish a Community Oversight Board (COB) with respect to police activities. Please communicate with your Council representative and Councilpersons at Large that you support all efforts to establish the COB.
As we head into the New Year there are seemingly endless issues and concerns ahead that keep us awake at night and deserve our attention and action … nationally and locally. We worry about how refugees are being treated at the border and the future of DACA children awaiting our protection. We toss and turn every time we hear leadership minimize the climate dangers we face. We stir wondering if new Farm Bill mandates will be passed that will force thousand upon thousands struggling to survive to loose food and health benefits. Here in Nashville we wonder how a city that continues to boom can’t do more to provide opportunities and assistance for those in the greatest need. The list is seemingly endless and each of you can easily add your worries to it.
But we can be hopeful as well. With new leadership in Congress and an electorate that seems to be waking up, we can dream of more reasonable actions ahead. The Steering Committee is grateful that there is a Roundtable membership willing to let our city and beyond know that there is a Jewish voice in Nashville committed to advancing social and economic justice.
Soooo … as 2018 winds down we want to thank you for partnering with us. We wish you a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year and we look forward to another year of activism in the fight for justice. In the year ahead we will continue to call on you to raise our collective Jewish voices through newsletters, calls to action, and occasional educational forums. The Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, in just a few years, has risen to be a respected voice in our community and we thank you, our membership for that. May the year ahead be a good one … for ALL of us.