Bend the Arc: Bay Area’s second Pursuing Justice Party in San Francisco sold out eight days early. The overwhelming excitement for the event affirmed what we already know about this committed community: a diverse and vibrant progressive Jewish constituency in the Bay Area stands for — and stands up for — justice.
The Pursuing Justice Party — the pre-party for Bend the Arc’s first national conference Pursuing Justice 2016 — brought together honoree and board member Rabbi Sydney Mintz, partners in the progressive movement, and a beautiful mix of donors and activists.
On the evening of March 31, Californians had much to celebrate. Earlier that day, California passed legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next several years. This historic news generated even more enthusiasm and brought extra joy to the gathering.
Jennifer Kim, Director of Programs at the Ella Baker Center and a national leader in the fight against mass incarceration, opened the event with a powerful speech. She spoke about the urgency of our work together changing policies that harm incarcerated youth, and about how deeply the Ella Baker Center values their partnership with Bend the Arc. Mollie Costello, a nurse who retired to create the Alan Blueford Center for Justice and is a prime mover behind the interfaith committee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, also took to the podium, as did influential youth poet Isaiah Stark.
Throughout the night, attendees honored Rabbi Sydney Mintz, as a leader and a boundary-crosser whose humor is a form of love that keeps us together and taking action when we are overwhelmed and uncertain. Upon receiving a special gift — a limited edition Bend the Arc ‘shofar-phone’ — Rabbi Mintz took to Facebook to share her excitement with a photo and the following caption: “1-800 Call God and reverse the charges!”