Progressive Jewish leaders from across the US gathered in the halls of government this week with a clear message: justice can’t wait, and neither can we. Convened by Bend the Arc (where I am a National Organizer), our meetings with Cecilia Munoz, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Wade Henderson, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)–among other policy leaders–represented the culmination of half a week of training, strategy sharing, and planning among social justice activists and organizations from 17 states.
The response from those policy leaders was unanimous appreciation for our presence and our collective efforts across the country to advance the causes of racial and economic justice and immigrant rights.
What can a renewed Jewish commitment to an explicitly domestic, unapologetically progressive, and unmistakably political agenda do for America? We hardly yet know, as the bulk of our “representative” institutions have given up on trying–despite the fact that the majority of American Jews care deeply about progressive, domestic, political causes.
What we do know is that we’re not a moment too soon. Even as you read this, Bend the Arc activists are leading the battle for voting rights in North Carolina, police accountability in Missouri, immigration reform in Colorado, affordable housing in Tennessee, labor rights in Wisconsin, progressive taxation in Washington, DC, and numerous other fights across the country. That’s what it takes to defend America’s progressive heritage, and that’s what we exist to do.
We are rapidly expanding our federal reach as well as grassroots work, and it won’t be long until every lawmaker in the country knows where progressive American Jews stand when it comes to the most critical social justice fights of our day.