Advocacy at NCJW/Essex encompasses many things, all with the underlying commonality of improving lives by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. Our Committees and our volunteers all work to make this a more just and fair world, driven by our Jewish values.
LUNCH AND LEARN
This year, we were proud to host two very successful Lunch and Learns — the first on abortion and religion featuring voices from across various faith communities and the second on the movement to take over local school boards, ban books and other disturbing trends in education. These gatherings spark discussion and meaningful action.
LET'S ALL VOTE
Get Out the Vote initiatives began over the summer to excite our membership and encourage people to become engaged in the 2022 election cycle. Our LET’S ALL VOTE campaign included events for everyone: LET’S BOTH VOTE, POWER UP THE VOTE, ADVOCACY IN TWO HOURS and SUKKOT THE VOTE and resulted in hundreds of volunteers writing more than 4,000 postcards to voters in swing states across the country.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
News about mass shootings flooded the airwaves, and NCJW/Essex
continued its work bringing attention to this issue. We testified before
the state legislature, organized and attended rallies and fought for a ban on
Ongoing awareness was this year’s theme, with informational sessions with the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking, a collaboration with Covenant House on a Mitzvah-in-a-Minute, and a day with the Bergen County section to learn about SOAP and visit hotels.
Spotlight on Reproductive Rights
Abortion rights and reproductive justice dominated the advocacy conversation this year. Following the Supreme Court ruling stripping away the protections from Roe v. Wade, our work to protect not only the right to abortion, but equity in access intensified.
NCJW/Essex continued to be a leading and loud voice on this topic, testifying before the state legislature, speaking at rallies, and creating an Advocacy in an Hour program to assemble and deliver After Abortion Care Kits to those seeking abortions in New Jersey. Filled with both necessary and soothing items, along with a personal note to show them that someone cares, more than 700 kits were donated to abortion providers around the state. The program proved so successful, it is being copied at other Sections.
Alongside abortion rights stands menstrual equity. Our Period.Project program encourages community members to collect menstrual products for those who cannot afford or do not have a steady supply. Thanks to their efforts this year, the Period.Project distributed 400,000 menstrual products to agencies, schools and Temples, passing the one million unit mark since the committee’s inception!
Not having menstrual products may mean missing school or work. NCJW/Essex believes that everyone should have access, including in schools, and continues to champion the bill that would require free menstrual products be made available in school bathrooms across New Jersey.