Two weeks ago, on April 25, the global community celebrated World Malaria Day, a day when advocates around the world raised awareness and took action to end malaria. Leading up to the day, a number of champions in the fight against malaria, including three of our college fellows, shared their stories on the RAC blog. We were also thrilled to celebrate World Malaria Day at Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Jewish Movement’s flagship public policy conference which began the day after World Malaria Day. Throughout the conference, we sold Nothing But Nets (NBN) merchandise, raised money and educated our participants about the devastating effects of malaria. Bella Merritt, one of our RAC/NBN Malaria Fellows this year, spoke to the Consultation about the work she has done on her campus to educate the student body about malaria and how she has been able to turn her passion into action. In fact, just one week prior she had brought her Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-D) to speak to her campus about his leadership in the fight for global health equity as a member of the House Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. After Bella’s speech, we asked participants to fill out an advocacy card urging their Members of Congress to support full funding of all malaria prevention efforts. All in all, we sent more than 400 letters to Congress on behalf of constituents! Additionally, Isaac Nuell, our Manager of Congregational Social Action, published an op-ed in the Washington Jewish Week about the universal morality of fighting malaria. He shared with readers why it is so important to prevent malaria and how we, as individuals, congregations, or communities, can get involved:
“As Jews, we find meaning in both the particular and the universal. For example, Passover tells the story of our people’s exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery, but every spring we retell our own history while bearing in mind those around the world who still are not free. The fight against malaria, and our partnership with Nothing but Nets, provides similar opportunities. We can take a particular and personal life cycle event, like a bar mitzvah, and turn it into something broader and more universal. B’nai mitzvah students across the country have already begun to do this by planning basketball tournaments to raise money or hosting booths at their synagogue’s Purim carnival, or elsewhere, to raise awareness as their b’nai mitzvah service projects. These opportunities to talk about global health and international development connect us with our prophetic tradition.”I hope that in honor of World Malaria Day, we can all find a way to be a champion in the fight to end malaria. Check out rac.org/nets for our Advocacy and Fundraising Toolkit, our Basketball Tournament Fundraiser Guide, and more information about the RAC’s partnership with Nothing But Nets.
In 1994, Rabbi Robert Klensin urged the congregants of his Arnold, MD reform Jewish synagogue, Temple Beth Shalom, to take a stand on gun violence prevention. Now, 30 years later, his grandson, 17-year-old Elijah Paul, carried the torch l'dor vador.
On March 20, we will prepare to engage voters from marginalized communities as we launch our 2024 Every Voice, Every Vote Campaign!