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Reform Jewish Movement Launches Nationwide Nonpartisan Initiative to Protect Voting Rights

Reform Jewish Movement Launches Nationwide Nonpartisan Initiative to Protect Voting Rights

Media Contact
Max Rosenblum, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, MRosenblum@rac.org, office: 202-387-2800
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team, sarah@westendstrategy.com, office: 202-776-7700, cell: 202-765-4290

 

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in partnership with the NAACP, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, PICO National Network and others, is launching Nitzavim: Standing Up for Voter Protection and Participation

 

Press Release from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

RALEIGH, NC, August 18, 2016 – Today, during the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) is launching a new nonpartisan initiative to promote voter protection and participation across the country, beginning with a joint kick-off event with the North Carolina NAACP on August 18 in Raleigh, NC.

Reform Movement leaders will gather at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh to launch Nitzavim: Standing Up for Voter Protection and Participation on August 18 at 7pm ET, joined by NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber II and NAACP activists. Volunteers from the Raleigh-Durham area will be joined by others from across the country who will spend the weekend registering North Carolinians to vote.

The launch event, starting at 7pm at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, will feature national and local Jewish and Christian leaders including Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism; Reverend Doctor William J. Barber, II, President, North Carolina NAACP and architect of the Moral Monday Movement; Bishop Dwayne Royster, Political Director, PICO National Network; April Baskin, Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Steve Fox, Chief Executive, Central Conference of American Rabbis; Rabbi Larry Bach, Senior Rabbi, Judea Reform Congregation, and Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner, Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Or.

“The right to vote should never depend on the color of a person’s skin,” said Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “In the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, we are called to protect this fundamental right of citizenship. We are stronger when we stand together, unified by a commitment to civil rights and civic participation.”

From August to November, the Reform Jewish Movement will be partnering with the NAACP, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the PICO National Network, as well as other nonpartisan organizations to bring Nitzavim to communities across the country and protect the right to vote this election year.

“We are standing together to overcome racism, and those who seek to block full participation at the ballot box,” said Reverend Doctor William J. Barber, II, President of the North Carolina NAACP and architect of the Moral Monday Movement. “Voting rights are under attack in North Carolina and across America. We stand together, as people of faith, to defend the right to vote. The fight for voting rights is inextricably connected to the fight for health care, living wages, criminal justice reform, equal protection under the law and access to public education.”

Congregations nationwide will do this work within their communities and by traveling to areas in particular need of support. The RAC plans to recruit at least 100 Reform congregations and 100 lawyers to help ensure all eligible voters have access to the ballot box this November.

“North Carolina is in the middle of the struggle to defend the right to vote,” said Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner, Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Or. “But we are not alone, either in this struggle or in our commitment to voting rights. We are stronger, as a state and a country, when all Americans have access to the ballot. We’re here to defend that right.”

About Thursday Evening

Media coverage is welcome. Members of the media who wish to attend the launch event at Temple Beth Or on Thursday evening or other portions of the program are asked to RSVP to Max Rosenblum at MRosenblum@rac.org or Sarah Garfinkel at Sarah@westendstrategy.com.

WHAT: The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the NC NAACP and volunteers from across the country are joining together to launch Nitzavim, a nationwide initiative to uphold voting rights, register eligible voters and protect their access to the polls.

WHEN:         7pm – 9pm ET, Thursday, August 18, 2016

WHERE: Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Rd, Raleigh. Events will continue on August 19 at Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W Cornwallis Rd, Durham, and throughout the Raleigh-Durham area for the remainder of the weekend. More information about the complete program can be found here: http://www.rac.org/nitzavim-launching-north-carolina

WHO: Featured Speakers –

  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs: President, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Reverend Doctor William J. Barber, II: President, North Carolina NAACP and architect of the Moral Monday Movement
  • Bishop Dwayne Royster: Political Director, PICO National Network
  • April Baskin: Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner: Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Rabbi Steve Fox: Chief Executive, Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner: Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Or
  • Rabbi Larry Bach: Senior Rabbi, Judea Reform Congregation

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit rac.org for more.

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