[Jan/Feb] Taking new risks

A note from our CEO

“We will build this world with love.”

We began this year on the floor of the Senate’s Russell Rotunda, 82 Jewish leaders, engaging in civil disobedience to demand a Dream Act, singing with our entire souls: “Olam chesed yibaneh… we will build this world with love.”

Our voices carried through the halls of power and broke live onto cable news. We were surrounded by Dreamers, young immigrants who’ve been courageously lobbying Congress for months (over a decade, really) who witnessed our action with fists in the air and hands on their hearts.

A few weeks later, to prepare for their own act of civil disobedience in the Senate, a group of Dreamers and allies asked to learn that song. As I watched footage of their action, I was moved to tears hearing their voices ring out with the same powerful words: “Olam chesed yibaneh...We will build this world with love.”

We haven’t yet won permanent protections for Dreamers. We’re not giving up anytime soon. Nor are we stopping our other critical work to resist, win local progressive victories, and train the next generation of diverse Jewish leadership.

These times we live in demand more of us than we’re accustomed to — we’re going to have to get a little uncomfortable and take new risks. This is going to take all of us, working together in a movement that is collaborative, multiracial, cross-denominational, and intergenerational.

That’s what I’ve seen these past two months. It’s why I believe that, despite the setbacks, despite the daily threats, if we build this world with love we will win.

With gratitude,

Stosh Cotler
Stosh Cotler

UPDATE FROM BEND THE ARC: JEWISH ACTION

ICYMI: historic Jewish action for Dreamers

On January 17, over 100 rabbis, Jewish leaders, and activists travelled from all across the country to the Capitol to demand permanent protections for Dreamers.

We occupied the Russell Rotunda and refused to move. Over 80 of us were arrested. We were surrounded by Dreamers, some moved to tears on seeing this public show of support for their demands. Millions of people watched online or saw breaking news coverage.

The action helped put additional pressure on Congress and sparked weeks of rallies and vigils, planned by Bend the Arc leaders and our 17 partner organizations, including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Reconstructionist Movement, and many more.

Watch the Video

UPDATE FROM BEND THE ARC: JEWISH ACTION

One leader’s journey for the Dream Act, from DC to SF

For Bay Area leader Nicoll Mischel, whose mother is a Jewish immigrant from Mexico, the fight for the Dream Act is personal.

It’s what inspired her to help start the Bay Area Chapter’s Solidarity Team, and it’s why she traveled 3,000 miles to participate in our civil disobedience at the Capitol on January 17. Nicoll said, “A country where my neighbors are unable to participate fully and safely in public life is unacceptable — and because of my family's story, it’s personal to me.”

When Nicoll returned from DC, she helped plan a Jewish vigil in solidarity with the Bay Area’s immigrant community, which inspired a week of daily vigils, followed by a community rapid response training to help allies respond to threats of ICE raids.

Nicoll wasn’t alone in channeling the energy of January 17 in DC into local actions. Leaders from Bend the Arc’s Chapters and Moral Minyans in Pittsburgh, Champaign-Urbana, Atlanta, Southern California, and New York, along with our affiliates and partner organizations, planned two dozen vigils, rallies, and phone banks to say “Let My People Stay.”

Read More

UPDATE FROM BEND THE ARC: JEWISH ACTION

We can win bail reform in California and New York

No one deserves to be incarcerated for the crime of being poor — but that’s exactly the cycle of injustice that the money bail system perpetuates.

Our Jewish values tell us that when a law is unjust, when it perpetuates racism, it’s our responsibility to change it. That’s why Bend the Arc leaders in New York and throughout California are advocating for money bail reform alongside powerful coalitions through legislative meetings, phone banks, community education events, a petition to the legislature, and more.

We’re making significant progress. In California we helped win the support of Governor Brown for legislation this year. And just last month, California's court of appeals ruled that "A defendant may not be imprisoned solely due to poverty."

Bend the Arc leaders are not only helping to correct this historic wrong in their states — they’re directly refuting the dystopian ‘law and order’ agenda of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Learn More and Take Action

Writings from the resistance

“My tallit is folded neatly in my closet, waiting for its next chance to make an appearance in the Jewish revolution.”
Marianne Glaser, Bay Area Leader — JWeekly

“Many Jews, like myself, recall our own immigrant forebears. We must not betray our ancestors or our American ideals by abandoning children or separating families.”
Rabbi Barbara Penzner — The Forward

“For one day, at least, we were a part of this movement, a movement that is so much larger than ours, but to which we could at least contribute with love.”
Stosh Cotler, CEO — Haaretz

 

Upcoming Events, Meetings and Trainings

Sun

Mar

04

Manhattan, NY

Training: How to Make An Impact on the 2018 Elections

Mon

Mar

05

Washington, DC

Jews for Dreamers join March 5 Day of Action

Mon

Mar

05

San Francisco, CA

Stop Deportations: Rally and March to Defend Immigrants

Wed

Mar

07

Los Angeles, CA

LA Criminal Justice Committee Meeting

Thurs

Mar

08

San Francisco, CA

Starting With Ourselves: A Jewish Open Space for Anti-Racism

Thurs

MAR

08

Los Angeles, CA

LA Immigration and Solidarity Team Meeting

Sun

Mar

11

Richmond, CA

Let Our People Go Rally at ICE

Mon

Mar

12

San Francisco, CA

Bay Area Criminal Justice Reform Team Meeting

Thurs

Mar

15

Online

Bend the Arc Orientation Call

Mon

Mar

26

Los Angeles, CA

LA Housing Justice Committee Meeting