Judy Levey, JCUA’s chief executive officer, was a featured speaker at our recent “Acts of Change” event (June 20, 2012). She identifies JCUA’s main issue areas as immigration, housing, Jewish-Muslim community building and empowerment of Jewish teens. The event honored immigration attorney Kalman Resnick and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia with the Rabbi Robert J. Marx Social Justice Award.
It is an honor to be here, following the great tradition of Rabbi Marx, Jane Ramsey, and others have led this organization. Our honorees, Kalman and Chuy are role models for social justice. They, together with our community partners, and all of you – are Actors of Change.
I would like to illustrate several of the ways JCUA, with your help, makes our world more just. These examples make clear what a group of committed and focused people can accomplish when we work together.
Proposed Crete Detention Center
Let’s begin with the dramatic recent events taking place in the Village of Crete. The Corrections Corporation of America was hoping to construct a private immigration detention center there. But the CCA has a bad track record, and their profit incentives lead them to skimp on food and health care. Private detention centers in general are notorious for violations of basic human rights.
JCUA has been working in Crete since late last year, joining forces with the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, of which we are a founding member. With our help, the residents of Crete got organized and fought to make their voices heard.
There were some setbacks, but a couple of weeks ago the Village Board of Crete voted to kill the project.
Did it happen overnight? No, it was the result of the sustained efforts of the residents of Crete, JCUA, and allies, working together, building relationships, and persevering even in the face of what looked like defeat.