For nearly two decades, Jewish Community Action has worked on dozens of time-sensitive issue campaigns, as well as long-term efforts to improve our communities and state. Below are highlights from a handful of JCA’s past campaigns, some of which have now evolved into new, slightly different projects, which you can further explore here.
Marriage Amendment (2012)
JCA organized the Jewish community to defeat the anti-marriage amendment in November 2012, and thus helped Minnesota become the first state to defeat an amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Not only that, but we linked this work to the campaign to defeat the photo ID amendment, keeping hundreds of thousands of Minnesota voters from being disenfranchised. With the support of our members, JCA was one of the only organizations to campaign simultaneously against both amendments on the ballot in the fall of 2012. Following the success of this campaign, and the defeat of the amendment, JCA is ready to fight for the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples.
Photo ID Amendment (2012)
JCA worked hard to defeat the proposed photo ID amendment, which would have impeded democratic and civic participation, disenfranchised voters, cluttered the constitution, and flown in the face of our nation’s long march towards voter inclusion. We strategized with members and partners—new and old—to maximize our efforts, and to link this campaign to the coalition against the marriage amendment, which would have similarly cluttered our constitution with blatant discrimination. Together, we fought for the right to vote for our servicemen and women overseas, for our students studying out-of-state, for our neighbors with disabilities—for everyone.
The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act would established clear definitions of bullying, harassment, and intimidation, create protections for students who are most likely to be bullied or harassed, and make anti-bullying training and resources available for students, staff, and school volunteers. In addition to providing specific definitions and requirements to address bullying, the law established a School Safety and Technical Assistance Center, that will assist schools and provide resources for training and skill building. Passing this legislation was a combined effort between several key legislators, members of Governor Dayton's Task Force on the Prevention of Bullying, JCA's partners in the Minnesota Safe Schools for All Coalition, led by Outfront Minnesota, who were committed to to ensuring a safe and supportive environment for all Minnesota students to learn.
Voter Pre-Registration (2015)
During the 2015 legislative session, JCA led coordinated statewide campaign to pass voter pre-registration. While it did not pass, it was an incredible opportunity for our Seeds of Justice fellows to organize, meet with their legislators, and build strong bipartisan support at the capitol, and we are proud to bring it back for the 2016 legislative session. This piece of bipartisan legislation would enable Minnesotans to pre-register to vote at age 17. 22 states currently have some form of voter pre-registration. States including Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Rhode Island and West Virginia have established a bright line that allows 17-year-olds (and in some cases 16-year-olds) to pre-register. Our Seeds of Justice youth fellows are taking the lead on this campaign.
Postville (2008 & 2018)
Due to Jewish Community Action’s previous work on worker and immigrant rights, we were invited by Postville community leaders to work with the town following the traumatic 2008 raid. Throughout the raid and its aftermath, JCA worked with the affected immigrant workers and devastated rural community, as well as regional and national partners. Through the Postville campaign, JCA successfully organized and galvanized the larger Jewish community to learn more about immigration reform, workers’ rights, and the kosher food industry. By taking such a firm stand for immigrant and worker rights, and organizing the Jewish community to demand that kosher food be made justly and with integrity, JCA’s Postville work was bold and unique, and engaged many Jews who had never before been involved with JCA. Finally, the Postville campaign garnered national attention, and helped JCA forge many new alliances across the Midwest and country.