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!
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.
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)
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 »
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 »
The Chicago City Council Public Safety Committee today (June 18) unanimously adopted an Emanuel administration proposal that would tighten restrictions on gun retailers while still allowing gun sales in the city.
The committee vote followed a hearing at which the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and several organizations spoke in support of the measure.
“We urge the City Council of Chicago to be bold enough to enact this common sense ordinance to reduce the supply of and access to illegal guns in this city, in an effort to reduce easy access to guns and resulting fatalities,” said JCUA executive director Judy Levey in her testimony to the committee.
“It is far too easy for gun traffickers and violent offenders to get their hands on guns that were stolen or purchased illegally, destroying lives, families, and far too much human potential. JCUA worked on gun titling legislation in Springfield last year, which did not pass. We endorse the ordinance and urge our City legislators to respond urgently and responsibly in order to protect Chicago’s families from the devastation of gun violence,” Levey testified.