In the weeks since the murder of George Floyd, we have witnessed a remarkable series of developments in our country. Across the board, we have begun a national reckoning with a deeply entrenched racism that, for centuries, has been the source of brutality and injustice for people of color, including members of our own Jewish community.
The Jewish response upon recognizing evil is always the question, “What can we do now?”
I am thrilled to announce that the remarkable members of our Kol Tzedek social justice task force have found a powerful response that each of us, as Kol Shalom members, can do:
It’s called the “Reclaim our Vote Campaign.”
We all know that one of the most insidious expressions of American racism is the deliberate attempt to disenfranchise people of color. Kol Shalom will be partnering with the Center for Common Ground and the Religious Action Center (RAC) for this campaign to fight voter suppression. Among other things, this campaign will enable each of us to write postcards to individuals, typically eligible voters of color who have been de-registered, in a number of states, empowering them to take action to re-register to vote, and to have their voices heard in our upcoming election.
In order to sign up please click here. This is the form RAC requires for participation in the Reclaim Our Vote Campaign. We encourage you to watch the short Center for Common Ground training video included in the RAC application form or on this program.
One question asks: “Are a member of a United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) Congregation?” After answering yes, another box allows you to fill in Kol Shalom.
After you submit this form, you will receive a postcard toolkit that will enable you to participate in the Reclaim Our Vote Campaign. (Please note that you will need to supply your own stamps.) More information on civic engagement and voter suppression is available at the RAC’s website.
Kol Shalom will also be hosting a special kick-off event* for this initiative at a date and time to be announced soon. During this event, we will explain the importance of this civic engagement program and describe exactly what to do so our postcards can most effectively help those individuals affected by voter suppression. We look forward to seeing you at this important event. We’re hoping to do our campaign through Zoom group connections and will describe this at the kick-off event.
This campaign is a remarkable opportunity for us to reach out, human beings to human beings, to overcome the forces of oppression and bigotry in our country. I very much hope that every member of Kol Shalom will participate in this critically-important campaign.
I want to wish us all a Yashar Koach in advance. May we all go from strength to strength in our moral leadership in this world.
*In addition to the RAC form, please fill out the accompanying Kol Shalom form so we can get an idea how many people would like to do postcard writing via Zoom for communal participation, or would rather do the writing individually.
Rabbi Gil Steinlauf