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.
Long-time lay leader Kalman Resnick introduced the work of immigration reform, Danny Kaplan, community organizer, and Ben Greenberg, director of programs, presented on JCUA’s involvement in gun violence prevention and economic justice along with bridge building programs like the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative (JMCBI). Key activities during the past six months were highlighted such as our involvement in the actions to bring a trauma center to the south side, participation in the Mayor’s task force on the new City of Chicago gun shop ordinance, the upcoming 9th annual Iftar in the Synagogue and our active participation in the coalition of A Better Illinois to change the state income tax structure in Illinois.
Following the presentation on where we have been, Danny and Ben introduced JCUA’s organizing model, which is the foundation for all the issue based campaign work that JCUA becomes involved in. A lively conversation followed where participants offered feedback for further growth and engagement.
Topics such as criminalization and race, economic inequality being the root cause of almost all issues, environmentalism and the need to continue actively building a base within the Jewish community were at the top of the agenda of many of the people present.
- Please fill out the Google Form and indicate your interest and availability for building the momentum. We look forward to working with you all!