April 15, 2015
By Nate Seeskin
JCUA’s AVODAH Organizing Fellow
Good Friday on April 3rd saw only the beginning of what could be drastic cuts to the Illinois state budget as Governor Bruce Rauner, by executive order, suspended $26 million in social services for the rest of this fiscal year. Programs and areas impacted by these immediate cuts include assistance for the homeless and immigrant integration services. As echoed in Governor Rauner’s larger budget plan, these cuts unfairly target vulnerable populations, especially since no revenue increases are entertained on his behalf.
JCUA members attend budget hearing
JCUA has been busy at work demonstrating our opposition to the Governor’s proposed budget. On Wednesday, April 1st, several members attended a packed hearing hosted by the Illinois State House Appropriations-Human Services Committee, where numerous non-profit leaders and community members testified how devastating these cuts will be to them. At various points, the hearing was emotional as people expressed how these aggressive cuts targeting vulnerable populations like immigrants, the physically disabled, mentally ill, and the homeless would be. Read the rest of this entry »
July 2, 2014
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 »
April 4, 2014
46 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In his last years, King focused his work on addressing the intersections between economic inequality, poverty and race. King was in Memphis to support the Memphis Sanitation Strike, a critical first campaign in his larger Poor People’s Campaign.
In his last speech, King said, “Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school — be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.”
46 years after Dr. King spoke those words, economic and racial inequality are more strongly connected than ever. As we see in this article, income inequality is growing in our city. Chicago’s staggering economically polarization is concentrated in communities of color, and nearly entirely in neighborhoods where CPS closed more that fifty Chicago Public Schools last year.
40 Years of Chicago’s Rising Inequality, in One GIF
We cannot stop our work to combat poverty. JCUA is committed to addressing economic inequality in our city and state. That is why we are members of the A Better Illinois coalition. By working with A Better Illinois on changing Illinois’ flat rate income tax system, we are not only advocating for a more fair income tax. We are also advocating for a solution to Illinois’ massive deficit and the resulting cuts in vital programs and services for the economically marginalized. Together, we can stop the growing stratification in Chicago and draw a new map with more just colors.
Want to get more involved with JCUA and A Better Illinois? Click here.
February 6, 2014
As a part of Or Tzedek and Beth Emet’s joint Jewish organizing program, thirty-six teens came together over the weekend to learn about JCUA’s two social justice campaigns about gun violence and economic justice. At this overnight retreat, the participants’ passion for creating change in their city and thoughtful approach to choosing a campaign demonstrated their power as a community of powerful Jewish youth.
We hear stories of gun violence and poverty in the media and see food deserts and homelessness on the streets of our city. Over the course of Or Tzedek’s summer sessions, many of us have built relationships and acted in solidarity with Chicago’s directly impacted communities. Organizers, teens and religious leaders from different neighborhoods organizations, like Growing Home, Imagine Englewood If.., Fierce Women of Faith, Immigrant Youth Justice League, took the time to meet with us and teach us about their social justice work.
Learning about systemic oppression and institutionalized racism during Or Tzedek, many of us can often feel powerless in the face of these entrenched systems of inequality. But this year long program is opportunity for us to act, as Jews, as Chicagoans, and as young people, for justice in our city. Choosing and working on one of JCUA’s critical campaigns over the next five months is the opportunity to make a real difference as joint, powerful community. Read the rest of this entry »
January 22, 2014
Seventy-five Jewish community members from JCUA, Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools (JSAS), Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and Moishe House came together for havdallah and economic justice training. Despite the cold weather outside, Moishe House was filled with Jews from different generations raising their voices to address the inequitable distribution of resources.
Rabbi Brant Rosen from JRC led a text study that used Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to illuminate the racial and economic inequalities currently present in Chicago. We left the evening ready to fight for a more justice city with the “A Better Illinois” campaign.
Act Now for Economic Justice!
Click here to learn more about JCUA’s work for a fair and just tax system. JCUA is a proud member of the “A Better Illinois” campaign, advocating for a fair and just tax structure in Illinois.
January 13, 2014
Join JCUA, Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools (JSAS), Moishe House, and Rabbi Brant Rosen of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) in Evanston for a powerful havdallah and workshop to learn about organizing for economic justice legislation. The event will be held on Saturday, January 18 from 6-8:30 at Moishe House, 6418 North Glenwood Avenue. Take action with JCUA for a fair and just tax system in Illinois and RSVP.
By Ben Lorber
Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we will gather this Saturday night as Jews to educate and organize the Chicagoland Jewish community around the struggles to create a fair income tax system and to close corporate tax loopholes in Illinois. At this special havdallah evening, study the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel, learn about the ongoing fight for racial and economic justice in Chicago, and motivate ourselves to take action to bring justice to our city!
“A Better Illinois” is a coalition of over 70 community, labor, faith, and civic organizations, , including JCUA, JSAS, and Rabbi Rosen, that is working to create a progressive income tax rate in the state of Illinois. Currently, Illinois’ citizens are taxed at a flat rate irrespective of income. Under this system, a single mother surviving on $15,000 a year sees the same percentage of her income- 5% taken out for taxes as does a business executive making $15,000,000 a year. Clearly, a loss of 5% yearly income is much more serious for the former than for the latter.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 12, 2013
Join JCUA members and our interfaith partners on February 25th, as we call for a smarter, fairer, and more just tax policy in Illinois.
JCUA is a proud member of the “A Better Illinois” campaign, advocating for a fair and just tax structure in Illinois. The campaign calls for a graduated income tax in Illinois, to replace the current “flat” tax.
Why We Need Change:
- A graduated income tax is estimated to LOWER taxes for 94 percent of Illinoisans.
- A graduated income tax would put more money into our government so that they could continue to provide for the right priorities – education, health care, safety and services for those who are most vulnerable (read more).
Please join us for a press conference and special interfaith vigil with religious leaders. This event is to help build support and awareness of our current efforts to be bring a spiritual voices to the fight for a fair and just tax system in Illinois.
- When: 10:00-11:30 pm, Tuesday, February 25, 2014
- Where: The Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington, Chicago
Please invite friends, coworkers and neighbors as we raise a united interfaith voice for justice and common sense public policy (read non-partisan in-depth analysis).
To RSVP, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org