March 23, 2018
Forty JCPA leaders attended our Advocacy Day on March 15 in Washington, D.C., representing many states across the country. Coming to the Hill provided a strong message to our Congressional leaders that we must continue to hold strong and ensure America’s core values and policy that our community helped to form over the past 74 years. We believe that we made a strong impact.
Today, more than ever, the voice of the community relations field is an important one in the current political climate. Our priority issues and messages represent the middle, and are based on consensus based policy deliberated by the Jewish community around the United States. They are positions we are proud of and that we stand by.
The five priority issues that we advocated on included:
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Issue Brief and Overview of the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
- Federal Budget
- Open Letter on Gun Violence
The morning began with two wonderful and informative programs that highlighted the work with our interfaith and Jewish member agency partners. They included:
- The Power of Faith Voices Working Together– Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., National Council of Churches, Martin Shupack, Church World Service, and Amelia Kegan, Friends Committee on National Legislation.
- Jewish Organizations Briefing on Priority Issues– William Daroff, The Jewish Federations of North America, Allison Grossman, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Jody Rabhan, National Council of Jewish Women, Michael Lieberman, Anti-Defamation League, and Alan Ronkin, AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy.
Our luncheon featured five members of Congress who provided insight and strategy on how we can be effective in our advocacy, and on the specific issues for which we advocated. Gun violence and the Dream Act were high on their priority list of concerns. The speakers included:
In the afternoon, our small group meetings covered 12 Congressional offices representing leaders on both sides of the aisle on the issues we were discussing.
We visited with the offices of Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Dick Durbin,
Congressman Eliot Engel, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, Congressman Steve Scalise, Congressman Bob Goodblatte, Congressman Ed Royce, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Our day concluded with a full delegation meeting with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.
The JCPA staff is compiling the results of our hill visits and discussions. These will inform our future strategy and our advocacy efforts. We hope to continue to strengthen the voice of the field in the halls of where national decisions are made.