Gun Lobby Appropriating Holocaust Imagery

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.

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Attend The Niles Trustees Meeting

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)

Let us know you are coming by clicking here!



Does Your Money Fund The Gun Industry?

June 12, 2014

As we witnessed this week the 74th school shooting since Adam Lanza opened fire on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 it is easy to feel overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness as to what we can do as individuals. With each school shooting it becomes less sporadic and transforms into a regular occurrence and a real fear for so many of us. We send our children to school hoping that they will be educated and now we also hope that they return home alive. JCUA works with our community partners throughout Chicagoland to address the root causes of gun violence. For example, we have been active recently with the coalition to bring a trauma center to the south side. There is currently no trauma center capable of handling gun shot victims anywhere on the south side of Chicago. In addition, to the work of addressing the systemic issues of gun violence, there is something very practical all of us can do to make an impact.

Since 2005 contributions from gun companies to the National Rifle Association (NRA) has totaled upwards of $60 million dollars. Gun companies funnel their money to fund the chief gun lobbying organization in the United States. Every gun purchase an individual makes helps strengthen the gun lobby. Yet, for those of us that do not buy guns, we also may be unwittingly funding the gun lobby. Do you know if your 401k or other retirement account invests in the gun industry? It is imperative that we divest our retirement money from the gun industry.

Unload401k_fb-share-590x400This week JCUA attended a workshop with the Campaign to Unload and People for a Safer Society to discuss the urgent need for all of us to divest our retirement accounts from gun companies. The Campaign to Unload has targeted three specific gun companies, three of the largest contributors to the NRA for divestment: Sturm, Roger and Co., Smith & Wesson and Olin Corporation’s Winchester Ammunition. Each of these companies are close allies of the gun lobby and have donated millions to fund those that work to block common sense gun legislation both federally and at the state level.

While contemplating the horrific loss of life every day to gun violence do not feel helpless. There is something concrete and quick you can do. Divest your retirement accounts from these companies and send a financial message that we will no longer tolerate this. As President Obama said after the latest school shooting in Oregon: “Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on Earth that would put up with this.”

Action Steps:

1) Visit the Campaign to Unload and People for a Safer Society websites to find out more about the divestment campaign.

2) Call your investment manager or bank and find out if your retirement accounts are invested in Sturm, Roger and Co., Smith & Wesson or Olin Corporation and ask for your money to be taken out of those companies.


Ban Guns in Houses of Worship with Or Tzedek

May 16, 2014

The culmination of activism for Or Tzedek and Beth Emet’s year round Jewish organizing program is taking place this Sunday, May 18th! Or Tzedek and Beth Emet teens have been diligently working on a gun violence prevention campaign, advocating for an amendment to the Concealed Carry Act that would ban guns in houses of worship.  

The campaign is focusing on moving Representative Carol Sente of the 59th district to support this amendment. 

On Sunday, we will be at Congregation Beth Am and Temple Beth-El, encouraging members to send postcards to Rep. Sente. During the concealed carry legislation debate, Rep. Sente supported concealed carry, saying that the issue was important to her constituents.

Now is the time to show Rep. Sente that as Jews, as Chicagoans, and as constituents, we believe it is important to ensure places of worship remain safe and secure spaces for healing and human development.

Join Or Tzedek and Beth Emet teens in action! 

If you live in the 59th district or are a concerned member of the Chicagoland Jewish community, please call Rep. Sente  at (847) 478-9909 on Sunday, May 18th. Below is a sample script. Make sure to include if you are a constituent of her district or if you are a member of a synagogue in her district.

“As a part of the Chicagoland Jewish community, I feel that my place of worship should be free of guns. Banning guns in houses of worship makes my congregation a safe place for me, my loved ones and my community. Representative Sente, please support gun violence prevention legislation and vote to ban guns in houses of worship. Join me in making Illinois a safer place.”

Click here for more action steps…


Tell Eric Cantor to Bring Comprehensive Immigration Reform to a Vote

March 24, 2014

eric-cantor-immigration-reformEveryday, 11 million people are denied access to basic freedoms in the U.S. It’s time to grant them access to America. So parents aren’t separated from their children. So bright students can go to college and realize their potential. So America doesn’t become a country with permanent second-class citizens.

Today the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs is joining forces with a coalition of Jewish organizations because we’ve got a real chance to open a pathway to citizenship for those 11 million people– a chance that may not come again for years.

On April 3, we’re delivering a united message to Majority Leader Eric Cantor, urging him to schedule a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. He has the power to do so tomorrow, and we can push him to act, but only if thousands of us speak up together.

Sign now and tell Majority Leader Cantor to finally bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote in Congress:

► http://entrydenied.org/jcua

Eric Cantor has been clear about how crucial immigration has been for our families: If today’s laws had been in place in the past, many of our own families would have been denied access to the freedoms that have made our history in America possible. But so far he’s held firm against bringing comprehensive immigration reform to a vote.

A bill already passed the Senate last year, and despite its imperfections it is a huge step forward. In the House, there are enough bipartisan votes for the bill to pass, but politicians have been too afraid of the vocal — and extreme — fringes of their own party to take a stand.

Now we have a rare opportunity to break through the gridlock. In just a few days, Majority Leader Cantor is set to meet with Jewish constituents to hear why they support comprehensive immigration reform. Let’s send them in with the support of thousands of Jewish voices united with one message.

Join Bend the Arc, Ameinu, HIAS, JALSA, JCA, JCUA, NCJW, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Uri L’Tzedek and Workmen’s Circle to send a powerful message:

It’s time to grant access to America for 11 million people.


Can You Step Up Against Gun Violence? Lakeview Meeting On 11/19

November 13, 2013

no to gunsblue boxGun violence is continuously harming Chicago communities, and disproportionately harming people of color and women. Unfortunately, in June of 2013, the Illinois General Assembly passed an overly permissive law that allows citizens to carry concealed weapons with few limitations.

It’s time for the Jewish community to step up in the fight against gun violence. And we need your help.

JCUA is joining a coalition of diverse communities in a campaign to begin taking back gun legislation in Illinois.

This campaign’s goal: to ban guns in houses of worship. 

It won’t be easy, which is why we need YOUR help. JCUA is holding a first meeting for people who may be interested in stepping up in this campaign and being leaders.

Together we can build a Jewish response to gun violence, and be strong partners for our allies throughout Chicago. But it won’t happen without people like you, who are willing to step up. I hope to see you on November 19.

Contact: 
Asaf Bar-Tura
JCUA Director of Operations
asaf@jcua.org

P.S. You’re welcome to bring your dinner to the meeting (Whole Foods is next door, and Milt’s BBQ is a couple of blocks away).



A JCUA Board Member Explains: Why I Decided To Break The Law

November 6, 2013

by Sidney Hollander
JCUA Board Member

On Wednesday, November 6, 2013 JCUA board members, staff, and lay leaders will participate in an act of civil disobedience, in protest of ongoing deportations that are tearing apart immigrant families and in a call to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. 125 people will block streets surrounding the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Building in downtown Chicago, and thousands more will serve as witnesses. Sidney Hollander is a JCUA board member, past president of the board, and a member of JCUA’s Immigrant Justice Action Team.

Sidney Hollander

Sidney Hollander

I do not undertake civil disobedience lightly.  Law is a foundation of civilization, and is absolutely central to Judaism.  Jews are commanded to welcome the stranger.  The commandment is repeated more than thirty times, the most of any commandment in the Hebrew bible.

Unfortunately, for nearly four years the U.S. government has operated in flagrant disregard of that commandment, visiting a reign of terror on 11 million families who seek only to live peacefully and productively in their adopted country.

We are all dragged into this regime of discrimination and deportations.  We depend on immigrant labor but refuse to grant enough visas.  Worse, we then pretend that we bear no responsibility for the presence of undocumented workers among us.

I can no longer take refuge in the self-deception that blinds us to the terrible injustices perpetrated by our government.  We need fundamental reform of our immigration system.  Until it is enacted I will feel obligated to interfere with the “normal” life that is built on this hypocrisy and these injustices.

We can do better.  My small act of civil disobedience is a call to all of us to rediscover our humanity and welcome the stranger among us, as we are commanded.

—————

immigration group photo 1

In photo (left to right):
Maria Medina, Sidney Hollander,
Rebecca Katz, Peggy Slater.

Participants in the civil disobedience on behalf of JCUA include: Peggy Slater (JCUA Board President), Sidney Hollander (JCUA Board), Maria Medina (Chair of JCUA’s Immigrant Justice Action Team), and Rebecca Katz (JCUA’s Director of Teen Programs).

Other Jewish community leaders attending the rally include: Rabbi Fredrick Reeves (KAM Isiah Israel), Rabbi David Russo (Anshe Emet), Rabbi Brant Rosen (Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation), Kalman Resnick (immigration attorney and JCUA lay leader), and students from Chicagoland Jewish High School.


Tell Your Rabbi: Join the Fight for Economic Justice in IL

November 5, 2013

No one really likes taxes.  However, those same taxes that we grumble and complain about do what many of us cannot do on our own.  They provide the infrastructure to care for the elderly, educate our children, dispense healthcare and assist in keeping our communities safe.  The tax code serves as a moral document of our collective values.

stop giveawaysYet, Illinois is only one of nine states that insists that everyone be taxed at the same rate (a “flat” tax), as if we all have equal ability to pay.  Part of striving for justice is recognizing and fighting against systems and structures that create and perpetuate inequality.  Our tax system is one of them and it is time that we fight for a change.

JCUA has partnered with the “A Better Illinois” campaign to ask our General Assembly for a constitutional amendment to create a more just tax system.  Right now, the campaign is calling on leaders of faith to endorse the campaign, recognizing that our lives are lived for others, most specifically the widow, the orphan and the vulnerable.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To help JCUA and A Better Illinois make an impact and create change, we need you talk to your Rabbi about the continued inequality and offer the chance to change it.  Ask your Rabbi to add their voice to our online petition asking for a constitutional amendment to create a fair, just and progressive tax.

A fair tax would:

  •  Allow for higher rates on those with higher incomes, and lower rates for those with lower incomes.
  • Provide resources for our schools and ensure that services to the vulnerable in our communities are maintained.
  • Stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and provide a means for Illinois to repair our crumbling infrastructure.
  • Provide desperately needed revenue for our state that has been lost because corporations have used loopholes to avoid paying their fair share.

TAKE ACTION:


Be part of the Solution to Gun Violence in Chicago

October 16, 2013
Fierce Women of Faith at peace vigil

Fierce Women of Faith at peace vigil

Violence in Chicago is a problem, but we believe that working together, we can reach a solution. But we can’t do it without you.

Knowledge and collaboration is power, so join JCUA and our partners in attending the Fierce Women of Faith Training Symposium on Friday, October 18, 2013.

Details:

  • WHEN: 8:30am-12:00pm, Friday October 18, 2013 (registration opens at 8:00am)
  • WHERE: Chicago Theological Seminary, 1407 E. 60th St (map it!)
  • DIRECTIONS: If you are taking public transportation, CTS is just a five minute walk from the 6 bus. There is also free parking in the lot on the South end of the building as well as street parking near the entrance at the North end.
  • CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Suggested Donation: $20-$30

Young JCUA leaders at vigil with Fierce Women of Faith

Young JCUA leaders at vigil with Fierce Women of Faith

What to expect?

  • Engaging with topics of advocacy, awareness and community building.
  • Learn about addressing violence from a legislative perspective with the Illinois Council on Handgun Violence’s Campaign Director, Mark Walsh and Senator Jacqueline Collins.
  • Recognize vital aspects of community engagement including working with youth and other community partners like hospitals and the CPD.

Find the JCUA group at the event:

At the event look for JCUA staff (particularly Rebecca Katz and organizing intern Beth Filipiak) with our blue JCUA logos during registration.  Rebecca will hold a brief gathering after the symposium to discuss JCUA’s next steps in our anti-violence campaign. She will be holding a JCUA sign to help everyone gather.

Help Stop the Violence:

  • Tell us more about your interest and RSVP here.
  • For more information about Friday, contact Rebecca at rebecca@jcua.org
  • For more information about all of our anti-violence work, contact asaf@jcua.org

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