Introducing Define America 2010, the First Coordinated, Multi-City Voter Engagement Effort of Its Kind Mobilizes the Jewish Community, Voters and Volunteers in Seven Major Metro Areas
OCT. 4, 2010 — In recognition of the importance of this year’s midterm elections, five members of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable (JSJR) are joining forces to launch the Roundtable’s first major initiative: Define America 2010.
This collaboration is the first national coordinated voter outreach effort of its kind from the Jewish community. Working across lines of race and faith, the Roundtable’s Define America 2010 initiative will give people opportunities to register voters, talk to people about the issues they care about, and turn out to vote.
“Through Define America 2010, the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable member organizations are promoting our vision of an America that reflects Judaic values of democracy and justice,” said Jane Ramsey executive director of the Chicago-based Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.
“We are alarmed by the recent escalation of Islamophobia, racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric,” said Ramsey, whose organization is a member of the Roundtable. “This election is an opportunity — an obligation — for voters to define the type of America they want. We see America as a society that celebrates its many races, religions and cultures, ensuring human and civil rights for all.”
In such metropolitan areas as New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Roundtable organizations will work with local coalitions committed to social change and nonpartisan civic engagement, including One Nation Working Together, “a social movement of individuals and organizations committed to putting America back to work and pulling America back together.”
The initiative has been rolling out locally in the past several weeks. Participating Roundtable leaders are Jane Ramsey, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (Chicago); Vic Rosenthal, Jewish Community Action (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn); Simon Greer, Jewish Funds for Justice (New York); Jacob Feinspan, Jews United for Justice (Washington, D.C.); and Elissa Barrett, Progressive Jewish Alliance (California). These organizations, and other Roundtable partners, are inviting their members, supporters and allies to visit the Define America 2010 website to pledge their time to spreading the word about what’s at stake in this year’s midterm elections.
Between now and Election Day, Roundtable organizations will offer multiple non-partisan ways for Jews to engage in the political process. Working with partners across race and faith lines, Roundtable organizations are working to educate and energize voters, fight pessimism and fear with hope and progress, and rally support around Jewish social justice values on Election Day.
The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, which cultivates greater collaboration and partnership, is working to build a robust Jewish social movement. Composed of 18 major Jewish organizations, the Roundtable is generously supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
Jewish Social Roundtable Organizations
- American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
- AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
- B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) / Panim
- Jewish Community Action (JCA)
- Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
- Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC)
- Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)
- Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA)
- Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ)
- Jewish Organizing Initiative (JOI)
- Jewish World Watch (JWW)
- MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
- New Israel Fund
- Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA)
- The Rabbinical Assembly (RA)
- Repair the World (RTW)
- Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)/ Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) / Just Congregations