February 2019 Newsletter

Roundtable Members,

We are alerting you to three terrific learning opportunities and conversations that we hope you will attend. Please consider each and mark them on your calendars. Feel free to contact us for more detailed information. Here’s the scoop:

Opportunity One: The Immigration Crisis: Where Have We Been/Where Are We Going?

Clearly at or near the top of national concerns is what so many consider an immigration crisis. A forum open to the community is being convened on Thursday evening, February 28th, at West End Synagogue, that will examine the history of immigration in this country, the immigration community in Nashville, the struggles immigrants and refugees face, and what is needed to improve a system in great need of repair.

The Immigration Crisis: Flyer

Opportunity Two: Strangers in Our Own Land

On Sunday afternoon, March 31, at 2:00 pm, at Congregation Micah, the Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable is hosting a program called Strangers in Our Own Land. The purpose of this program is to better understand why voters in a state like ours vote as they have in the most recent state and national elections. While Davidson County remains largely blue … we often find it challenging to connect with our neighbors, particularly those who live in rural counties, who seem to support candidates and policies out of step with our values and their apparent self-interest. Rural voters often see urban voters trying to protect everyone but them … and often frame their decisions based of their fear of government intrusion. If we are to reach any reasonable agreement across the state, we first have to better understand why those outside of Davidson vote the way they do. Join us for a moderated discussion with candidates who ran for office in Middle Tennessee to hear what they heard from voters told them.

Opportunity Three: Nashville Rising – Work, Wages, and the Future of Nashville

It is unfortunate that while Nashville witnesses a rapid surge in development and opportunity, a large segment of our community is not enjoying the benefits of this growth. Wages for many have remained substandard and stagnant, neighborhoods are being rapidly gentrified, opportunities for advancement remain limited, the cost of housing has become increasingly out of reach. On Saturday, April 6, from 9:00am-11:30am, at the Avon Center on TSU’s downtown campus, the Voice for Poverty in Nashville is convening a forum, Nashville Rising Forum: Work, Wages, and the Future of Nashville, to examine how we can build a culture of “decency of work” for all who live and work in our community and create a shared vision and a community covenant that will serve as standards for what constitutes an ethical and fair workplace in Nashville.

Nashville Rising: Flyer

Some other bits and pieces …

On the health care front … as you know, the Tennessee Justice Center is the leading organizer voice supporting the expansion of health insurance for those without coverage. Our Roundtable is a proud supporter of its work. Recently members of our Roundtable Steering Committee attended a forum convened by TJC at which they learned that nearly 1/3 of Medicaid recipients in Tennessee will potentially lose coverage if they cannot meet the proposed stringent new work requirements included in Tennessee’s request for a Medicaid waiver. This is egregious. Please link on to the TJC’s Call to Action and sign its petition calling for legislative acceptance of federal funds to cover the 300,000 working Tennesseans without insurance and, thereby, stop the hemorrhaging of rural hospitals … https://www.tnjustice.org/petition/.

On the immigration front … it is getting really cantankerous out there … to say the least. In addition to the President’s all out effort to build a needless and expensive wall (paid by U.S. taxpayers), Tennessee Representative Bruce Griffey has filed several bills to bolster the President’s agenda. HB0562 seeks to impose fees on money transfers from Tennessee to Mexico and to create a fund to help support the construction of the President’s border wall. He coupled this bill with a resolution affirming that Tennessee supports the end of birthright citizenship. In addition, he has filed bills to deny vital prenatal care and supplemental nutrition assistance to undocumented, pregnant woman and place additional barriers on securing work. Along with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, NJSJR will monitor these mean-spirited measures and inform you of any action steps we think prudent.

On the poverty front … President Trump is trying to circumvent Congress on this front as well by working to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps). A new proposed rule released by the Trump administration would weaken SNAP and makes it harder for families to put food on their tables. This proposal would take assistance away from 755,000 people by making it harder for jobless workers and people who can’t get enough hours at work … a proposal that came just a year after the Administration cut taxes for the very wealthy. Tell the Trump Administration that every American deserves access to food by linking in to this site. By law they are required to read every unique comment made in the next 60 days … and we need to be among those comments. It only takes a minute or two to submit your own personal comments at https://handsoffsnap.org. If for some reason this link does not work, cut and paste the link to your browser.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you at the programs described above. Thanks for joining in action with us. Please feel encouraged to share this newsletter with others and ask them to join our mailing list at www.JSJRnashville.org.

On behalf of the Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Steering Committee,
Avi and Irwin