For The Future Of Our Democracy: Aug-Sep Resistance Report

A note from our CEO

This period in our politics is so momentous that people are collectively grasping for the terms to describe what’s happening. Tyranny of the minority. Failure of the Republic. Civil war.

The truth is that all of these descriptions have some validity, and our moral outrage at this very moment can’t be understated. I’m reminded again of what my friend and civil rights activist Valarie Kaur has said, “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country that is waiting to be born?”

However you’re describing this moment, and however you’re feeling right now, I want to say: I’m with you and you are part of a community with Bend the Arc that is never going to stop showing up with everyone threatened in this moment. Together, we will never stop working alongside our partners to transform our society with love and justice; to build the country wanting to be born.

It’s why Bend the Arc is mobilizing the largest grassroots Jewish campaign to flip the House and interrupt Trump in the midterm election. Not just to save the future of our democracy, not just to be a check on authoritarianism, but to bring into being a new era of representation in Congress that reflects all of us. One hundred and forty-eight years after people of color won the right to vote, and ninety-eight years after women won the right to vote, it’s past time we have a Congress that believes women, respects black lives, and recognizes the critical role immigrants have always played in our nation. It’s time we elect a Congress that IS us.

This is not the work of a single election, but we can make this election a turning point.

Already, hundreds of you have stepped forward to give your time, energy, and resources to this effort — thank you. If you haven’t taken action yet, there are so many ways to join us — read on below and sign up. The stakes couldn’t be more clear. Let’s get to work, and let’s win.


With gratitude,

Stosh Cotler

Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh marches in support of survivors and
against Brett Kavanaugh

Resisting Kavanaugh

We are profoundly pained by the Senate’s vote to appoint Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court —and what it means for the future of our democracy.

In the months leading up to the vote, Bend the Arc staff worked as part of a broad and diverse coalition to stop the confirmation, including by supporting the successful efforts of activists from Alaska, making the Jewish case against Kavanaugh, and joining actions in the Hart Senate Building.

In the final days before the vote, leaders from our Pittsburgh Moral Minyan drove to DC to confront Senators and to march on the Capitol and Supreme Court on Saturday.

To survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and to all those who have stepped forward in recent weeks to speak truth to power and share your stories in the bravest possible ways, we want you to know that we believe you, and we thank you. Your courage has laid the groundwork to transform our society.

This is a painful moment, but it’s not a time for despair. Instead, we will pick each other up, support each other, and redouble our efforts to flip the House and hold all of Kavanaugh and Trump’s enablers accountable.

Read our full statement


We're hitting the streets and picking up our phones to interrupt

Shmooze the Vote!

As part of the observance of Sukkot—when Jews all over the world build temporary houses—Bend the Arc held canvasses and phone banks across the country to build another house, the House of Representatives. Over a hundred volunteers went door to door and made calls in ten swing districts, reaching out to over 17,562 voters to replace members of Congress who enable Trump’s immoral agenda.

Together, we showed—and will continue to show—our solidarity with communities most under attack by Trump’s administration, including immigrants, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people and people of color. It’s all part of Interrupt Trump 2018, the largest Jewish campaign to flip Congress and stop the spread of Trumpism.

Now—with only four weeks left before election day—we've launched Shmooze the Vote, a series of phone banks you can join from home (no matter where you live) to talk to voters in the most critical districts. And we need everyone’s help to win.

Find a canvass near you, or join a virtual phone bank, to interrupt the bigotry and chaos of the Republican Party and build a future where everyone in our country is treated with dignity and receives the justice that is their inalienable right.

Join a phone bank


Meet the progressive candidates endorsed by Bend the Arc: Jewish
Action PAC

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action PAC Endorses Progressive Candidates 

Did you know that Bend the Arc: Jewish Action PAC has endorsed a slate of progressive leaders who are running in some of the most competitive House and Senate races across the country?

Our PAC is the only Jewish PAC in the country advocating solely for progressive domestic issues. The goal of our PAC in 2018 is to defend swing seats and flip competitive ones in the House and Senate, to check the growing authoritarianism of this President and the GOP.

Meet our diverse slate of endorsees for 2018 who are truly representative of an inclusive, multiracial democracy, from Lauren Baer (FL-18), who would be the first Congresswoman in a same-sex marriage, to Andy Kim (NJ-3), who would be the first Korean American elected to congress.

Meet our endorsees


Bend the Arc: Southern California leaders lobby the state
legislature for bail reform

The Fight for Cash Bail Reform Continues

No one deserves to sit in jail while they await trial only because they’re poor. The current system of money bail and pretrial detention is unjust, predatory, and disproportionately harmful to black, brown and low-income communities.

That’s why Bend the Arc leaders in California and New York have been working to pass meaningful bail reform for the past two years—through phone banks, working with state legislators, reaching out to new partners, hosting film screenings, and more.

Unfortunately, the bill we we originally championed in California, the Money Bail Reform Act (SB10), was altered at the last minute and became almost unrecognizable. A series of amendments transformed SB10 into legislation that entrenched the discrimination and bias of the current system while granting even more power to the judges that oversee it. Following the lead of our partners, Bend the Arc pulled our support. Despite the objections of dozens of community organizations, SB10 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown this August.

Californians deserve a stronger bill in the next legislative session, and Bend the Arc leaders in our Bay Area, South Bay, Southern California and San Luis Obispo chapters are continuing to engage their local lawmakers to lobby for transformative change to the state’s money bail system. We’re thankful for our leaders who are staying the course, undeterred in their efforts to make real change.

Meanwhile, the battle for bail reform continues in New York as well, as local leaders gear up to renew the fight to end unjust incarceration when the legislative session starts in January 2019.

Find a local chapter and join the fight


We've kicked off a community organizing "night school"
for people interested in forming Moral Minyans in their

Diving into Community Organizing

On August 26th, Bend the Arc kicked-off “Moral Minyan Night School,” a multi-week online orientation program for new leaders who are interested in forming a Moral Minyan — a community of action and Jewish resistance — in their city. The night school, led by our staff organizers, is a deep dive into community organizing.

Through this series of trainings, our new and veteran volunteer leaders are learning an impressive mix of concrete organizing skills, political education, and practical next steps to assembling a new Bend the Arc group to join the expanding network of our Moral Minyan project.

Keep an eye out for our next night school. Meanwhile, to find out more about how to start a Moral Minyan near you, contact us here and find out how you can engage your Jewish community in the fight for racial and economic justice, immigrant rights, bail reform, and accountable and moral government.

Join a Moral Minyan


Activists in Southern California rally against family separation
and the indefinite detention of immigrant families and children

Jews Reject The Terrorizing of Immigrants

It’s been months since the Trump administration began separating thousands of immigrant parents and children. And it’s been months since the administration missed the court mandated deadline to reunite all the families. With more than 13,000 children still in detention facilities, our country remains in a state of moral emergency.

Bend the Arc is committed to fighting this administration’s heartless efforts to threaten, deport, and inflict suffering on immigrants. We continue to fight family separation, which has morphed into a policy of indefinite detention of immigrant children and families — financed only by diverting millions of dollars from crucial government programs.

In September, we mobilized alongside our partners to successfully stop the administration from increasing the budget for ICE to terrorize immigrants, with our leaders also organizing against ICE in their communities. In Nassau County, as part of our ongoing partnership with Make The Road, Bend the Arc supporters helped flood the County Executive’s office with calls to to protect immigrants by ending the County’s collaboration with ICE and closing the ICE office at the Nassau County Correctional Center.

Most recently, the administration announced a cruel revision to the ‘public charge’ rule, which will punish immigrants who use public assistance programs to help provide for themselves and their families.

The immigrant experience is deeply woven into our Jewish identity, and we will continue to unite with our coalition partners, in solidarity with immigrant communities, to oppose the unrelenting persecution of the Trump administration.

ICYMI: Video of #FreeOurFuture action


Writings from the resistance

“I think we’re all united in the knowledge that we have to flip the House to make Trump and his administration accountable. We realize that whatever protests we do, we have to take the practical steps of electing Democrats to Congress.”

Madeline Ritter, Bend the Arc: New York—The Riverdale Press


"It actually expands the tools of detention so that more people could be locked up before trial for longer periods of time. Certainly, ending the abhorrent cash bail system is a positive thing, but replacing it with something even worse is not positive."

Barry Price, Bend the Arc: San Luis Obispo—New Times SLO


“This is a test of character for everyone involved. Government of the people, by the people, for the people is in danger of perishing. This is not about partisan politics. This is a direct challenge to the integrity of our government.” 

Rabbi Joshua Chasan, Bend the Arc: Portland—Munjoy Hill News