Local wins & stories from Bend the Arc

Local wins & stories from Bend the Arc

June 06, 2023

“Good organizing, which builds from the ground up, is essential to defeating authoritarianism.”

— "Antidote to Authoritarianism," published last month by People's Action1

Organizing is an essential tool for creating change. In this email, we're excited to share wins and progress from Bend the Arc chapters across the country who are organizing for a more just and equitable country.

Please read and click updates from Pittsburgh on helping a progressive champion win her primary, New York’s advocacy for parole justice and growing the movement to expel George Santos, Ohio blocking a dangerous anti-immigrant bill, Champaign-Urbana protesting Ron DeSantis, and Atlanta on the fight to stop Cop City.

Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh helps progressive champion win primary race

Pittsburgh’s Bend the Arc leaders played a significant role in Sara Innamorato's election as the Democratic candidate for County Executive. Their organizing included voter contact and canvassing (over 1500 doors knocked!), partnerships with groups like 1HoodPower, and building public support locally and in the media.

“With the power of the County Executive’s Office, we can ensure that the moneys and programs in our County get to the people who have been left behind and neglected by decades of government disinvestment.”
— Sara Innamorato, “A Bernie Sanders Progressive Could Be the Next Leader of One of America’s Largest Counties”2

If elected—and it’s highly likely she will be—Sarah is committed to divesting from carceral systems and investing in community safety, especially reforming the Allegheny County Jail (an important campaign goal for the Pittsburgh chapter).

This is Bend the Arc’s first local endorsement, and we’re looking forward to applying the momentum and lessons learned from this election to upcoming races to advance our vision for Black liberation.

New York chapters join an Advocacy Day in Albany for parole justice

In May, leaders from Bend the Arc's Long Island and Riverdale chapters traveled to Albany with longtime partner Release Aging People from Prison (RAPP) for a lobby visit and vigil in memory of a recently deceased prisoner.

The trip was an opportunity to advocate for the passage of Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole — two bills that would reduce the number of aging people dying in New York State prisons. Leaders raised awareness on this often-invisible issue and drove over 100 calls to advocate for parole justice!

As a result of our organizing work with RAPP and partners, Fair & Timely Parole Act successfully passed out of the New York Senate Crime Committee, and both bills passed the Assembly Correction Committee. Now the legislative session is coming to a close, and these bills must be brought to the floor for a vote — New York residents, help keep up the pressure by making a call to the NY State Legislature for parole justice.

Upholding Jewish values: Ohio takes action on immigration

As Jews and allies, we have a deeply personal commitment to a fair and just immigration process. In Ohio, our chapter has lobbied Senator Sherrod Brown’s office for many years, and received his commitment to a more humane immigration system, including ending Title 42.

But right now, Senator Brown is a co-sponsor of S.1473, a dangerous immigration bill that would effectively end the legal right to asylum, create a new detention and expulsion regime, require mandatory detention of children and families, and further militarize border communities. We are shocked and disappointed and will hold him accountable to his promise.

If you are a resident of Ohio, please join Bend the Arc and the Defund Hate coalition to contact Senator Brown to change his position.

Champaign-Urbana protests Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' harmful policies

Like Trump and other MAGA Republicans, Ron DeSantis wants to rule over our country — not represent us. That’s why Champaign-Urbana leaders joined a bold, vibrant protest against his presence at a Republican event in Peoria, IL. The chapter, along with other allies, raised their voices against DeSantis' harmful and dangerous policies, including his anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.

Diane, a leader with Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Champaign-Urbana, expressed her thoughts with the chapter's participation in the protest, "After Covid isolation, it feels great to be back on the streets standing up for Black liberation, gender rights, women's rights, and justice for all. Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity."

Long Island builds the "Expel George Santos" movement

George Santos doesn’t belong in Congress, and Bend the Arc leaders on Long Island are on the ground floor of the efforts to vote George Santos out. Check out their latest media hits:

“Santos is no joke to our Jewish community in District 3: he’s directly exploited us for his benefit.”

— The Law Demands that Rep. George Santos be Expelled, The Jewish Pluralist


“While his latest antics and cheating are scandalous enough, leaving our Congressional District 3 on Long Island and in Queens without representation or representation by a grifter is unconscionable.”

— Readers Write: Santos takes the low road, The Island 360

Leaders also organized a lobby visit with Congressional Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries's staff with members from local chapters of Indivisible and MoveOn, and a call-in day targeting Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Opposing Cop City: Atlanta's Fight for Community Investment and Against Police Militarization

Bend the Arc’s Atlanta chapter is fighting the construction of Cop City, a $90 million project that would occupy over 85 acres of land near Atlanta, further militarize the police, and threaten the safety and freedom of marginalized communities.

During a City Council meeting in Atlanta in May, Ben, a leader with Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Atlanta, spoke out against Cop City — you can watch the video here.

As Jews, we're given a moral obligation to perform acts of tzedakah, taking care of each other … We need to use this funding to actually take care of each other: Addressing crises in our city like homelessness and the lack of affordable housing, food security, addressing root causes and what we know actually keeps us safe, which is not more policing.”

Thank you for reading these stories. Bend the Arc's chapters have been making significant strides in their communities to address the root causes of white supremacy, authoritarianism and anti-Black racism, while advocating for investment in measures that actually keep our communities safe.

And thank you for your ongoing support, which makes this work possible. You can chip in $18 here to power our Jewish movement for safety and freedom.

In solidarity,
The Bend the Arc team


  1. "Antidote to Authoritarianism," People's Action. May 2023.
  2. "A Bernie Sanders Progressive Could Be the Next Leader of One of America’s Largest Counties," The Nation. May 16, 2023.