For the second time in July, Or Tzedek and Jewish Student Connection joined ONE Northside’s Voter Registration campaign to register 5,000 people in Lakeview, Edgewater, Uptown and Rogers Park. Six Or Tzedek participants interned with ONE Northside during Advanced Activism and Or Tzedek youth have continued to work on the campaign throughout the summer. So far, Or Tzedek has registered almost 200 voters with ONE Northside!
In less than a week, our Or Tzedek Advanced Activism participants will start their four day internships with Growing Home, Inc., ONE Northside, and Centro Autónomo! These organizations have graciously welcomed us in and will show the Or Tzedek teens different approaches to creating systemic change in Chicago communities.
The joint Jewish organizing teen program of Or Tzedek and Beth Emet is working on a campaign to ban guns in houses of worship. Under the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act, the only legal safeguard against guns in houses of worship (as well as businesses and institutions) is a small “No Guns” sign.
As a community of young, Jewish Chicagoans committed to social justice, we must ensure places of worship remain safe and secure spaces where communities can come together to create solutions for root causes of violence.
As the focus of our campaign to ban guns in houses of worship, we decided to work on moving a decision-maker in the northern suburbs, state Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) to publicly support gun violence prevention legislation.
- During the concealed carry legislation debate, Rep. Sente supported concealed carry, saying that the issue was important to her constituents. On July 9, 2013, Rep. Sente voted to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of the concealed carry bill that authorizes an individual to carry a concealed firearm, effective immediately.
With many synagogues in her state legislative district (59th), this is a powerful opportunity to organize a strong Chicagoland Jewish voice against gun violence.
Act now to show Rep. Sente that as Jews, as Chicagoans, and as constituents, we support gun violence prevention legislation.
>>> To keep up with Or Tzedek and Beth Emet’s campaign, like us on Facebook!<<<
Joel has been a leader in Or Tzedek, participating in Or Tzedek’s “Activism and Community Organizing” in summer 2012 and “Advanced Activism” in summer 2013. Joel is currently running for precinct committeeman in Buffalo Grove and is a senior at Stevenson High School.
In his acceptance speech, Joel named Or Tzedek as one of his major influences, stating, ” I wouldn’t not be here today if it weren’t for Marc Sender, Joan Smith, and Rebecca Katz of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs continuing to push me to be the very best I can be.”
Joel has a gift for engaging people with a diversity of backgrounds and connecting across both similarities and differences. His genuine interest in people’s experiences allows them to open up and share their perspective. He is truly a community builder.
Joel models the inclusive and supportive behavior necessary for a powerful community. He has the important, but too often rare, leadership quality of offering the support and guidance necessary for others to step out of their comfort zones and discover their own leadership capabilities.
Mazel Tov, Joel!
>>>Want to be a part of Or Tzedek? Learn more and register for Or Tzedek’s summer programs.<<<
Our time-bound goal will be to move Rep. Sente to vote for the gun control legislation.The tactics we will be using are canvassing (going door to door and engaging residents in her district) and planning a town hall meeting.
The next step will be to split into action teams, in charge of different components of the campaign from outreach and communications to planning actions and connecting with our community partners.
As a part of Or Tzedek and Beth Emet’s joint Jewish organizing program, thirty-six teens came together over the weekend to learn about JCUA’s two social justice campaigns about gun violence and economic justice. At this overnight retreat, the participants’ passion for creating change in their city and thoughtful approach to choosing a campaign demonstrated their power as a community of powerful Jewish youth.
We hear stories of gun violence and poverty in the media and see food deserts and homelessness on the streets of our city. Over the course of Or Tzedek’s summer sessions, many of us have built relationships and acted in solidarity with Chicago’s directly impacted communities. Organizers, teens and religious leaders from different neighborhoods organizations, like Growing Home, Imagine Englewood If.., Fierce Women of Faith, Immigrant Youth Justice League, took the time to meet with us and teach us about their social justice work.
Learning about systemic oppression and institutionalized racism during Or Tzedek, many of us can often feel powerless in the face of these entrenched systems of inequality. But this year long program is opportunity for us to act, as Jews, as Chicagoans, and as young people, for justice in our city. Choosing and working on one of JCUA’s critical campaigns over the next five months is the opportunity to make a real difference as joint, powerful community. Read the rest of this entry »