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When the Senate failed to pass bipartisan legislation that would have expanded background checks to almost all gun sales in April 2013, many in the gun violence prevention community were disappointed that this important reform was not achieved. This loss was especially more painful as the call for this legislation came in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This legislative loss did not change the need for strong laws that prevent gun violence, and the strategy to fight for safer communities was adapted for new arenas.
In April 2013, the Senate famously rejected an amendment to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 to expand background checks to most gun sales (often known as the Manchin-Toomey amendment), in large part due to concerns about a “national gun registry” and infringement on states’ laws. States’ rights remain a central feature of the conversation about gun violence, and have been raised again with the introduction of a new law.
By Becky Wasserman Passover is a time to remember the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. It’s a time to remember slavery and celebrate liberation. It’s a time to reflect on the modern sources of oppression we still face today. As Jews, Americans, and as citizens of the world, that is our responsibility. I challenge everyone this Passover to discuss violence against women around your seder table. It’s a modern affliction that deserves attention from all of us.
Today, at the opening day of the Consultation on Conscience, we opened our programming with a short plenary followed by two rich and engaging workshop blocks. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the importance of national paid sick days legislation from Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership for Women and Families; to learn about the moral call to end climate change from Rabbi Larry Troster of GreenFaith; to delve into how create inclusive communities for people with disabilities; to hear from Rabbi Joel Mosbacher on his work to prevent the greater scourge of gun violence prevention; just to name a few of the wonderful workshops!
On Passover, we remember the ten plagues that were put upon the Egyptian people. Thousands of years later, modern-day plagues of inequality should ignite contemporary responses to combat these injustices. Many of the most vulnerable members of our society are disproportionately affected; they cannot be “passed over” or ignored, especially during this important holiday. As we think about the ancient plagues, let us also keep in mind those who still live under the weight of modern plagues.
By Isabella Merritt As I sat in Congressmen Jim McDermott's office waiting to meet him, I was extremely nervous. I was about to have a meeting with someone who had served my district for 26 years to ask if he would speak to students at American University about the importance of fighting malaria. This was a big deal. Before I moved to Washington D.C. I had no idea I would ever set-up a meeting with a member of Congress. This meeting would have never happened if it wasn't for my fellowship with the United Nations Foundation Nothing But Nets campaign and the Religious Action Center. Over the past year and a half, my fellowship with these two organizations has evolved from an extracurricular activity to a true passion.