If you’ve lived in Minnesota for more than a day, you’ve likely heard the old joke: we have only two seasons, winter and road construction. This joke is depressing and, of course, pretty true; Minnesota’s winters are insufferably long, and our summers are inconvenienced by the repairs that must follow months of snow and ice.
I hate road construction as much as the next Minnesotan, but after one too many episodes of intense and embarrassing road rage, I learned that the only way to survive our two-season system is to look on the bright side. Sure, road work and closures are annoying, but just imagine how much worse winter would be if we didn’t have repaired roads beneath us. The road construction season ensures that winter goes as smoothly as possible.
At Jewish Community Action, the joke goes a little bit differently: we have two seasons, road construction and the state legislative session. In 2013, while most Minnesotans complained about the long winter, you—JCA supporters—spent January through May lobbying, rallying, and testifying on behalf of JCA’s legislative campaigns for the freedom to marry, foreclosure prevention, safe schools, immigrant rights, and gun violence prevention. Ultimately, you helped us make impressive progress on all five issues, and win three huge victories: marriage equality, the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, and the Minnesota DREAM Act.
It would be easy now to take a break, recover from the legislative session, and simply enjoy the summer and fall (in spite of road work, of course). But where would that leave us in February 2014, when the next legislative session begins? Is there not work we can do now to make next year easier, smoother, and even greater than 2013?
This summer, JCA is filling potholes and repairing roads, not only to make the 2014 legislative session more successful, but also to strengthen our community, here and now. We’re re-launching the Seeds of Justice fellowship, to train our young activists in community organizing and social justice, and recruiting for the Tzedek Institute, through which we’ll help a diverse group of Jewish leaders develop leadership and organizing skills. We’re still reaching out to families facing foreclosure in the Twin Cities, and extending our outreach to the suburbs, where the foreclosure crisis persists. We’re continuing to work for fair, balanced comprehensive immigration reform, with the hopes that change at the federal level will pave the way for greater immigrant rights here in Minnesota. And, finally, we’re conducting a membership campaign to grow our base and make us even stronger and better-organized for the future, regardless of the issues we choose or the challenges we face.
Let us not be discouraged by a summer full of road work, daunted by the winter and legislative session that we know are just around the corner. Instead, let us feel powerful and intentional, and prepare ourselves for the work ahead. To get involved in JCA’s current campaigns and opportunities, join us at an upcoming event or contact an organizer today.