July 28, 2014
JCUA’s budding membership program is only the first step in a much larger process of effectively and actively engaging in social justice from a Jewish perspective. In fact, it is a part of a larger organizing model that ends with JCUA members leading vibrant, unique campaigns that address the root causes of racism and poverty in Illinois.
Click here to read more about JCUA’s organizing process
The first step is getting to know our members’ passions and invest in them as leaders. That’s the step we’re engaged in currently. This stage is centered around meetings with individual members and regular, larger-scale member meetings. Our next meeting is coming up on Thursday, Aug. 7. Through these get-togethers, we’re learning what issues motivate the JCUA community. We’re also growing the capacity of individuals to lead and implement future campaigns.
Sign up here to be a part of the upcoming meeting!
As we invigorate JCUA’s base, our campaign work will become increasingly strong and more effective. At our last meeting, we shared an outline of questions JCUA asks when shaping actions around a specific issue. Among other things, we assess whether our involvement stems from the needs of a community directly impacted by the issue and whether the action addresses root causes. We also ask what we as JCUA can best contribute and how the potential campaign will inspire our Jewish community to take action.
Finally, as we commit to campaigns, JCUA continues to hold our core values closely. We ask ourselves how our continued work remains inclusive of individuals and communities directly impacted by the issue, how our work strengthens relationships between communities, individuals and organizations involved, and whether our campaign has a clear, time-bound goal.
For more information:
July 21, 2014
There are debates over policy that are civil and there are debates that are fueled by disrespect, racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism. The new gun store and firing range being proposed in the Chicago suburb of Niles has generated conversation on both sides of the issue. People can have differences of opinion but it is never acceptable to utilize images of Nazis and the Holocaust to make one’s point. One of the largest online gun lobby media outlets, AmmoLand, published a call to action for their supporters that included explicit and offensive Nazi images along with misogynist anti-women language. AmmoLand, along with the Illinois State Rifle Association, are urging their supporters to attend the upcoming Niles Trustees Meeting (Tuesday, July 22nd, 7:00 PM at 1000 Civic Center Drive, Niles, IL) to voice their support for this store and firing range at the final vote on the matter by explicitly attacking women and labeling those who support sensible gun policies as Nazis.
Example of gun lobby Holocaust imagery
The establishment, if opened, will be next door to several schools, including Niles West High School. Business owners have gone on record stating that it will negatively impact their livelihoods and community members testified to the emotional and psychological toll it would take on them hearing bullets being fired all day during business hours. JCUA was present for the second hearing for the special use permit at the Niles Plan Commission Meeting and testified against opening the store in the proposed location. Nonetheless, the Plan Commission voted 5-2 to send the proposal up to the Niles Trustees for a final vote. It is imperative that those who support our kids having a safe neighborhood to go to school in and those who support stopping the flow of guns into the City of Chicago from neighboring suburban gun stores come to this meeting tomorrow and voice their opposition to this gun store. The gun lobby is using fear mongering, hateful and anti-Semitic rhetoric to rouse their supporters to the meeting. We must be present with common sense, clarity and civility. Please attend the meeting tomorrow.
What: Final vote on new gun store and firing range
Where: Niles Municipal Building (1000 Civic Center Drive, Niles, IL)
When: Tuesday, July 22nd at 7:00 pm (come early to get a seat)
July 9, 2014
This past Monday night over two hundred people packed into an auditorium in Niles for a meeting of the Niles Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. The issue that brought out people from all over Chicagoland was the proposed opening of a new gun store and firing range at 6143 Howard Street. The location proposed for the store is next to multiple schools including New Hope Academy, a school for children with severe emotional needs, and Niles West High School.
JCUA, in partnership with the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence and People for a Safer Society, attended the meeting on Monday night. Rabbi Ben Greenberg, Director of Programs, offered testimony to the commission opposing the gun store. Rabbi Greenberg stated what should be the obvious that “[it is] in the best interest of our children to not place gun stores and firing ranges especially ones that allow children to enter, near our schools.” A petition of more than 1000 signatures from people all over the Chicago area was presented to the commission. Nonetheless, the commission voted 5-2 to approve the special use permit and send it up to the Village Trustees for a vote.
There were several disturbing pieces of information that became clear during the commission meeting that must be publicized: Read the rest of this entry »
July 2, 2014
A little less than a year ago, JCUA embarked on a new initiative of developing a membership program. Membership in JCUA costs nothing because it is about investing your passion, desire and time for a more just and equitable Chicago. It is about standing up and saying like the great individuals throughout Jewish history, “hineni – here I am,” and I am ready to do my part in the work of social justice. Since February, nearly 300 hundred people all over Chicagoland have stood up and said they wanted to be involved and take the next step. A major step occurred this past Monday night as we held our first member meeting.
[The next step is being planned now! Please fill out the Google Form indicating your interest.]
While the storm raged outside nearly 40 people gathered at the Spertus Institute to further their commitment to combatting poverty and racism in Chicago. The meeting began with a welcome by Judy Levey, executive director of JCUA, who discussed the importance of building a Chicago based Jewish movement for social justice together. Read the rest of this entry »