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Awakening Our Democracy

Awakening Our Democracy

From April 16 through 18, thousands of Americans will gather in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to pass necessary voting rights and campaign finance reforms, as well as to hold hearings and a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. This gathering, known as Democracy Awakening, has already been endorsed by over 250 local, state and national organizations, including the RAC, the NAACP, Common Cause, Public Citizen and People for the American Way.

Democracy Awakening will include a variety of events, from teach-ins, a rally at Capitol Hill and a prayer vigil, to direct action and a lobby day. Across all three days of activities, participants will demand that five principle actions be taken to strengthen our democracy:

  1. Passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 2867/S. 1659) to restore and update the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and protect the fundamental right to vote for all citizens;
  2. Passage of the Government by the People Act (H.R. 20) and the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 1538) to implement financing for congressional elections and to empower everyday Americans to have a voice in the electoral system;
  3. The Senate’s swift consideration of Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court;
  4. Passage of the Democracy for All Amendment (H.J. Res. 22/S.J. Res. 5) to overturn the Supreme Court’s misguided decision in Citizens United and restore congressional power to regulate campaign finance;
  5. Passage of the Voter Empowerment Act (H.R. 12) to modernize voter registration and protect voters from deceptive disenfranchisement practices.

The RAC’s endorsement of and participation in Democracy Awakening is rooted in the long work of the Reform Movement to advance a functioning, inclusive and just democracy. From the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s to the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice last summer, Reform Jews have for decades been active in advocating for equal treatment and for the protection of civil and voting rights. In so doing, we affirm that all people are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image, and we carry with us the Babylonian Talmud’s teaching that “What is hateful to you, do not do your neighbor” as we advocate for the society we wish to see (Shabbat 31a).

If you are interested in participating in Democracy Awakening, there is still time to register! Click here to sign up, and contact me to let us know you will be there. And, if even if you cannot make it to Washington to take part in person, you can still raise your voice for commonsense democracy reforms by filling out the RAC’s action alerts on voting rights, campaign finance reform and the Supreme Court nomination process.

Adam Waters is a 2015-2016 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He grew up in Coral Springs, FL, and was a member of Temple Beth Orr. Adam graduated from Brown University.

Adam Waters

Published: 4/13/2016