By Pamela Klier-Weidner
JCUA Director of Development and Organizational Advancement
Whoa JCUA. What’s this whole, ‘Just’ Eat: A Progressive Dinner thing? Where’s our gala? Who’s the honoree? Why do you always serve chicken? All great questions. I hope I can answer them here. But first…
When I was a teenager, I loved the movie, “Footloose.” You’ve seen it, right? Without getting into too much detail, due to a horrific tragedy, a rural town has a strict ban on dancing and listening to rock/pop music. Throughout the film, you can see how hungry people are to dance; to be lifted up by sheer fun. Ultimately, Kevin Bacon’s character successfully organizes his community and there’s a super happy ending where everyone is dancing and rocking out to loud music. A victorious organizing campaign for sure. JCUA’s work can be weighty and we are all serious about it. Each day, we tirelessly pursue social and economic justice here in Chicago, working shoulder to shoulder with our JCUA members and coalition partners on the root causes of poverty, racism and other deplorable injustices that run rampant throughout our city.
In the past our large fundraising events have represented the heft of our work and our heroes. They’ve also been extremely successful, especially last year’s 50th anniversary gala where we honored JCUA’s incomparable founder, Rabbi Robert Marx. After I came down from the event high I experienced last year, I knew JCUA couldn’t follow our blowout 50th gala with another gala this year.
In our 51st year, there’s new energy in our growing staff, a thriving membership program, new membership-driven campaigns, newly appointed awards and new directions for some of our programming. So, in “Footloose,” it became time to dance again. For JCUA in 2015, it’s time to “cut loose” and remind ourselves that while the work is serious, we have an immense amount of fun together.
On June 15th at the Bridgeport Art Center, we aim to channel more of the fun we experience each day in JCUA’s work. It’s time to dance, so we are certainly going to kick up our culinary heels by eating and drinking the best fare our city has to offer. And ‘Just’ Eat isn’t only about food and drink. It’s an opportunity for you to “progress” through all aspects of our work, from our current campaigns to our extraordinary programs.
This may sound hokey, but this year’s honorees are all who seek justice here in Chicago. If you’re at ‘Just’ Eat or you contribute to the event in some way, you should consider yourself an event honoree. Congratulations! Let’s make this city more just.
Oh, and also… ticket prices are lower than a gala ticket price. Thanks to numerous in kind donations and services, we are able to make ‘Just’ Eat accessible to a wider audience. We sure hope to see you there.
And just in case you’re still wondering, we are not serving chicken.