REFORM JEWISH TEENS LEAD MOBILIZATION ON GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION; FOCUS ON MARCH 24TH MARCH FOR OUR LIVES IN WASHINGTON AND AROUND THE COUNTRY
“We are angry, we are determined, we are strong”
March 9, 2018, New York, NY – Teen and young adult leaders of Reform Judaism, the largest, most diverse movement in Jewish life, are mobilizing and taking action in a wide variety of ways, both locally and nationally, for sensible gun laws. Teen leaders of NFTY-The Reform Jewish Youth Movement are driving these initiatives which include hundreds of marches and rallies, outreach, education, advocacy, legislative activity, fundraising, and more.
Right now, much of that work is supporting the March for our Lives events in Washington DC and around the country on March 24th. The Reform Movement will host a major event in Washington immediately before the March for our Lives, and the entire Jewish community is invited.
Registration for that event is now open at NFTY.org/GVP/DC.
Several thousand people have been engaged in the work to date, with thousands more expected.
Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and building on NFTY’s longstanding commitment to gun violence prevention, NFTY and Reform Jewish young adult leaders have seized the moment with an inspiring call to action to participate in a wide scope of grassroots student-led efforts that are passionate, strategic, and rooted in core Jewish values and teachings.
Zachary Herrmann, President of NFTY, said, “Teens from the Reform Movement are joining together and getting engaged, and are obviously frustrated. We are choosing to protest, and say enough is enough. Change needs to happen. We are angry, we are determined, and we are strong.”
NFTY.org/GVP has complete information about all the aspects of these campaigns.
The efforts include local teens nationwide working with on-the-ground URJ congregational leaders to help organize events and actions in cities, communities, and on college campuses, and ensure the biggest possible impact on the national conversation about gun violence prevention. Activities include:
March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.
NFTY is helping organize in support of the primary March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. on March 24
- The Reform Movement is hosting a major pre-rally gathering – the event is open to all who wish to share a sacred Jewish space and march together and will be live-streamed
- Supplementary events planned by the Reform Movement include Kabbalat Shabbat Services and special concerts at D.C.-area congregations for the local Reform Jewish community to welcome marchers, build community, and celebrate Shabbat together (a full schedule will be available soon)
- Learn more details about NFTY’s March for Our Lives preparations and register to attend
March for Our Lives in Other Cities
- For marches outside of D.C., local area teen leaders will coordinate with Reform Movement clergy, educators, lay leaders, and staff to organize area resources and plan related services and gatherings
- NFTY’s Gun Violence Prevention Action Map lists gun violence prevention-related actions and events in cities across the U.S., with new information being added continuously
Reform Jewish College Students Mobilizing on Campus
- College students, including NFTY alumni, are at the forefront of the fight for gun violence prevention, and are networked with Reform Movement activism resources and actions
Education and Advocacy Efforts
- Developing and disseminating resources and “action alerts” about voter registration drives, school walk-outs, town hall gatherings with local politicians, teen speaking opportunities, social media campaigns, and more
Zoe Terner, NFTY Social Action Vice President-elect, posted a video that has received nearly 10,000 views about her lobbying trip on the bus with Parkland students to Tallahassee. She said, “Never before have students across the country mobilized like this, and never before have the eyes of the nation been so closely trained on us as we fight for change. A country-wide call to action roars loudly in all of our ears, and Reform Jewish teens are heeding the call. I’ve been saying for a long time now that I want to change the world. I didn’t know it then, but this is what I meant. Today is the day that every NFTY event I’ve ever been to has been preparing me for. If our leaders don’t change our laws, then we will change our leaders.”
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), said, “The passion and strength of these young leaders should impel all of us to action. At this historic moment, we simply must ‘not stand idly by’ while our neighbor’s blood is being shed (Leviticus 19:16). This is the moment when, truly, our students are building for tomorrow. As Reform Jewish adults, we stand behind our teens and support their efforts while letting them take the lead. Together we can bring about the change that is so dearly needed to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country.”
For over 75 years, NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, has offered thousands of young people across North America the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism. NFTY builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement and leadership opportunities. Together, we pursue tikkun olam (social justice), personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Jewish values.