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.
Yet, 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.
January 25, 2013
Jane Ramsey has led the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs courageously and energetically for over three decades. Jane has been at the forefront of many critical issues affecting Chicago and the nation. Throughout the years, her leadership enabled the JCUA to become one of Chicago’s most active and important organizations speaking on behalf of human and civil rights issues.
As Jane retired from JCUA in September 2012, here is a tribute video to her work and legacy. It is up to us all to carry this torch forward, as is said in Perkei Avot (2:21) -
“You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.”
Thank you, Jane.
October 22, 2012
JCUA takes action in solidarity with the Muslim community in the face of hate speech and ignorance, and participates in media campaign to reclaim the meaning of the Islamic concept of “Jihad” from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike.
In late September, 2012 the anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller put up inflammatory ads in the New York City subway stations, which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad” (see here). New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority at first refused to put up such hateful signs, but was forced by a court order to oblige Geller.
Many in the New York Jewish community have responded strongly, including a counter-campaign by Rabbis for Human Rights – North America, who put up subway signs reading “Choose love.”
Here in Chicago, the Muslim community has decided that a significant point has been overlooked on both sides. At the heart of the problem is the blatant misuse of the word “Jihad” as if it were an acceptable synonym of say “terrorism.”
Indeed, many Americans remain confused about the meaning of the concept of Jihad in Islamic tradition. Led by the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), the Muslim community has decided to reclaim the meaning of Jihad from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike.
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December 12, 2011
JCUA’s Jane Ramsey and Rabbi Robert Marx were the “special honorees” at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network’s end-of-year dinner, Dec. 11, 2011. This is Ramsey’s acceptance speech, along with a video message from Rabbi Marx, who was not able to attend in person.
On behalf of Rabbi Robert Marx and myself, and all of us at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, I am deeply honored and moved to accept this extraordinary award from you and the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. [Ramsey's remarks continue below video link.]
I think back 10 years ago, when IMAN and JCUA became partners, recognizing that we shared a common vision for a just city and nation, and of working from the grassroots up to tackle poverty and inequities, and to build bridges across racial, religious, ethnic and class lines.
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November 1, 2011
Chicago Jews and community groups held an action on Oct. 11, 2011, outside a meeting of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Chicago, demanding a Sukkat Shalom (“shelter of peace”) for Chicago families. The action was sponsored by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and A Just Harvest.
Outside the conference, the group constructed a sukkah, inside which Sukkot-related rituals, an interfaith clergy press conference, and community testimonies took place.
February 1, 2011
Watch as these Chicagoans share their interpretation of some powerful lines in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” on which JCUA’s Black History Month project, “Garment of Destiny,” is based.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” wrote Dr. King. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
December 16, 2010
There was an electric energy in the air the night of the New Chicago 2011 Mayoral Candidates Forum.
About 2,900 Chicagoans, representing 27 community organizations, showed up to hear top mayoral candidates Rep. Danny Davis, Gery Chico, City Clerk Miguel del Valle, Carol Moseley Braun, State Sen. James Meeks and Rev. Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, state their views on issues of housing, immigration, violence, job creation and education.
[JCUA's Brian Gladstein talks about the importance of the 2011 municipal elections]
Get a glimpse of what happened that night in this video:
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December 3, 2010
Each year at the Rabbi Robert J. Marx Social Justice Awards Dinner, JCUA honors socially conscious individuals who act on the values that Rabbi Robert Marx, founder of JCUA, lives and teaches. This year, the Saks Family received the award.
Esther Saks, lifelong social activist, and her late husband Alan Saks dedicated their days to fighting for causes they believed in, and in their 50-year marriage, raised four daughters who’ve devoted their lives to working on issues of human rights, women’s rights, race, hunger, and equitable business practices.
In this video from the dinner, Rabbi Marx talks about the impact oppression has on society and the choice we have as human beings to do good in the world.
Rabbi Marx makes reference to the days of creation as described in the book of Genesis.