NCJW Heartbroken by Passover Shooting

National Council of Jewish Women
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Contact: Amanda Lang
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NCJW Heartbroken by Passover Shooting

April 27, 2019, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is saddened by the shooting of Jews worshipping on Passover and outraged by the continued gun violence in this country. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:

“Today we mark the 6 month anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 Jews worshipping lost their lives due to a shooter who had no business having a gun. Unfortunately, we mark this anniversary in almost the exact same way — with a shooting at Chabad of Poway, California. We are heartbroken for the families, friends, and community who gathered to worship and celebrate the end of the Passover holiday.

“As we learn more about the shooting, it’s clear it will be investigated as a hate crime. Like the Tree of Life shooting, those shot today while celebrating the end of the Passover holiday were at the mercy of a gunman who shouted, “All Jews must die.” The rise in anti-Semitism in the United States is nothing short of alarming. Hate crime incidents targeting Jews and Jewish institutions in the US spiked about 37 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to the FBI. Religious-based hate crime comprised about 20 percent of the total. The FBI data shows Jewish people and institutions were most frequently targeted, accounting for 58.1 percent of religious-based hate crime incidents. Muslims were the second most frequent target, at 18.6 percent. Add the ease and accessibility of firearms and you’ve got a deadly mixture.

“From Pittsburgh to New Zealand to Sri Lanka to California, no one should have to fear for their lives when they enter their house of worship. When one community is targeted, we are all targeted.

“NCJW calls on the administration and Congress to condemn today’s shooting in the strongest way, to stop emboldening White Supremacists and their ilk, and for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule votes on S 42 as well as HR 1112 — measures passed by the House that would help keep our communities safe.”

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.

 

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2019 Enduring Advocate For Social Change Award: La Quita Martin

La Quita, or known by her friends and colleagues as “Q,” has been an active member of NCJW, Nashville Section for approximately 20 years. Throughout her tenure, she has served as the section’s president as well as vice president of advocacy. Although the current co-president and I have only been involved with our section for a few years, we cannot imagine the section without her. Her activism, passion, and drive to improve the lives of all women, children, and families come through every time she speaks.  

Not only is Q active within the Nashville Section, but she also serves as the Tennessee State Advocacy Chair with NCJW, National. In addition, she acts as a vital partner to organizations throughout the Nashville community — and the state – to promote NCJW’s mission and values. Her leadership skills, knowledge, and devotion to improving the lives of all women, children, and families are extremely admirable, and we cannot think of anyone else more deserving.

Q’s motto, especially when it comes to social change, is to SHOW UP. Be it at a local NCJW event, meeting with coalition partners, or in the legislative arena, Q continues to model for our members what it means to be an advocate representing the Jewish community. She is never hesitant to speak up for those who are most vulnerable in our society. 

Q has been instrumental in enacting many efforts to encourage section members to become more engaged in social issues. To this end, she formed a section advocacy committee which continues to grow to this day, and each year, she develops a plan of action to work with the committee to pass or defeat specific legislation. Q also keeps members informed about legislation through periodic email updates; these emails provide an overview of the bills being considered as well as a summary of the probable impact and how to reach representatives to voice concerns. In addition, in preparation for Tennessee’s annual Women’s Day on the Hill, Q develops advocacy trainings to educate members on important legislative issues.  

Q is fearless. The hardest times for her have been talking about the decision to terminate her pregnancy 21 years ago – yet she does it without hesitation. She has never backed down from explaining the pathway to her decision. Q is also family oriented and is never shy to ask her physician husband to accompany her to meetings to discuss healthcare issues!

Q is a Jew by choice who’s never shy to talk about her road to Judaism and how her life changed. She shares her daily mantra of Tikkun Olam and lives it every day when introducing herself as a representative of a faith-based organization.  

Q put NCJW on the map as a player in the Tennessee legislative arena. She’s continually asked to join boards and speak to coalition partners. Her latest discussions have been with multiple League of Women Voters groups in Nashville and surrounding counties on “Why Courts Matter.” She plans to continue speaking about this topic, representing NCJW, to educate local, state, and federal judges, and also to explain how legislative bodies and courts can work together.  Her talks are well received and lead to additional invitations.

 

 

On the Hill Updates: May 25, 2018

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Dangerous Domestic Gag Rule Announced

On May 22, the Trump-Pence Administration announced a new proposed rule currently being referred to as the ‘Domestic Gag Rule.’ This rule would deny Title X family planning funds to any health center that provides or gives referrals for abortion care. It would make it near impossible for millions of people to:

  • access birth control or preventive care from Planned Parenthood or other clinics;
  • obtain referrals for safe, legal abortion; and
  • receive full and accurate information about their medical options.

These changes could dramatically reduce access to care in communities across the country, damage the patient-provider relationship,and deepen existing inequities in the health system. NCJW strongly opposes this measure. Take action against this egregious rule here!

Health Equity and Accountability Act introduced 

This week, the leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus — comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus — introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 (HEAA, bill number forthcoming). While this health equity bill focuses on lessening health disparities, it also works to actively eliminate them. The measure would address the multiple factors that impact health by proposing programs to make sure the health care workforce reflects the communities it serves, and it would ensure that all Americans, regardless of immigration status, are legally protected when seeing medical care (and would have some form of health coverage). NCJW believes it is morally imperative that our nation’s health system works for everyone, regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender, primary language, income, or other factors.

 

Federal Courts

Extremist judicial nominees move forward

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on May 24 to advance the federal judicial nominations of Wendy Vitter for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Andrew Oldham for the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and Michael Truncale for the Eastern District of Texas. Two of these nominees, Vitter and Oldham, refused at their hearings to affirm that Brown v. Board of Education was rightly decided. And, Truncale is a strong opponent of abortion, calling for defunding Planned Parenthood, and describing the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage policy as an “assault on the Catholic Church.” These nominees, all opposed by NCJW, are a huge blow to civil rights, abortion rights, and all of the rights we hold dear.

#CourtsMatter to worker rights

On May 21, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis (consolidated with Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris and National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc.) to allow employers to force workers to forfeit certain rights afforded them by the National Labor Relations Act. In this particular case, employers will be able to force employees to arbitrate claims individually, rather than engage in their right to sue collectively. It is a significant blow to workers’ rights; everything from sexual harassment to pay discrimination may need to be addressed individually. Justice Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion while Justice Ginsberg wrote the dissent. NCJW believes forgoing the right to collective action should not be a condition of employment.

#CourtsMatter to lgbtq rights

On May 22, a federal district judge in Virginia denied a motion from the Gloucester County School Board to dismiss an ongoing case brought by Gavin Grimm, who while a student was denied access to facilities consistent with his gender identity. In the past few years, the case had moved up to the Supreme Court and back down again without a decision based on the merits of the case. This week, the judge ruled that the district had violated the law because Title IX protects Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination. The judge ordered the parties to reach settlement, but Gloucester County School Board is likely to appeal the decision.

On May 24, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Pennsylvania school district’s trans inclusive policy. The policy, which allowed transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identities, was challenged by an anti-LGBTQ organization. NCJW joined an amicus brief in support of the inclusive policy, and believes that all students and individuals should be able to access facilities consistent with their gender identities.

Immigration

Sessions continues to reshape immigration courts

On May 17, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered immigration judges to cease administrative closures (temporarily removing cases from their dockets without issuing decisions). Judges have typically used administrative closures to close cases to allow visa and green card applications to make their way through the system (a process that can take years). NCJW finds this development troubling as it overturns decades of precedence and could lead to increased deportations.

Religious Freedom

Religious freedom bill introduced

On May 22, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Do No Harm Act (S 2918), which would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to ensure that it cannot be used to discriminate against or cause harm to third parties. If passed, the bill would prevent businesses and individuals from using religious belief to deny services, such as providing a wedding cake to a gay couple, or providing access to birth control in a company health plan. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) introduced the House version of the bill, HR 3222, in July 2017 which NCJW endorsed.

 

Sign On Letters

  • On May 23, NCJW joined more than 75 organizations on a letter organized by Alliance for Justice expressing concern about about President Trump’s  anti-immigrant and anti-refugee judicial nominees.
  • On May 23, more than 50 women’s organizations including NCJW joined a letter organized by MomsRising urging Congress to engage in aggressive oversight and enact legislation that affirms the dignity of immigrant women and children.
  • On May 23, NCJW organizations joined 25 organizations on a letter organized by the National Women’s Law Center urging Congress to support increased funding for child care.

Amicus Briefs

  • NCJW signed on as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to a brief in Barker v. Conroy, a case before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia stemming from a nontheist being denied the opportunity to give an opening invocation at a legislative session.

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