NCJW's Summer of Action
School may be out for the summer, but NCJW's public policy work is always in session. Suffice it to say, July has not been about lazy days on the beach; rather, this has been a time of action. NCJW has been deeply engaged in a broad range of critical issues these past few months. And now, in many instances, we are poised to reap the rewards of political progress and social justice.
Take our work on hate crimes, for example. Federal hate crimes laws do not currently include protections for individuals victimized because of their real or perceived gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. NCJW has been a staunch advocate for stronger hate crimes policy for more than a decade, but this year we have broken new ground with victories in both the House and Senate. We look forward to the House and Senate working together to reach a consensus bill, and to seeing President Obama sign this important legislation into law.
Our summer calendar has also been filled by the US Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a woman whose work as a lawyer, judge, and community leader has demonstrated a commitment to the core constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and justice. Since NCJW's BenchMark Campaign launched in 2001, NCJW members and supporters have been the leading grassroots activists from the Jewish community for the issue of judicial nominations. We have consistently and courageously advocated for the confirmation of individuals who are committed to upholding our fundamental constitutional freedoms. Thanks in part to NCJW's advocacy, Judge Sotomayor received a strong bipartisan vote in committee, and next week, the Senate will vote on her confirmation. Please join me in speaking out in support of Judge Sotomayor's confirmation.
In addition to our steadfast work here in the US, we can take pride in the action we have taken abroad, too. For the past two years, NCJW has been one of the few voices speaking out against gender segregation on publicly-funded bus lines in Israel. Our members and supporters sent more than 4,000 letters in protest of this intolerable situation, and NCJW will be watching closely in the upcoming weeks when the Advisory Committee investigating this issue presents its findings to the Israeli High Court.
The voice of NCJW was also heard in the halls of the executive branch this month, when I had the privilege -- yet again -- to represent NCJW at the White House. On July 13, I joined a small group of leaders from the Jewish community for a meeting with President Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and other senior White House advisors. You can read my full account of this extraordinary day, but the strongest imprint I am left with is confirmation of the incredible and essential opportunity we have before us to create the change we have been seeking for so long.
Indeed, these past few weeks have shown us that the seeds of change have already been sewn. Together, we are beginning to transform NCJW's vision for the future into the reality of today. May these achievements only serve to further galvanize our grassroots action and strengthen our resolve to make our mark in this world.
Wishing you a summer of engagement and action,