In the last quarter of 2020, a team of 35 congregational leaders formed a Research Team. We held 25 meetings with legislators and 15 with advocacy partner organizations as we explored potential issues for our 2021 legislative campaign work. In late January 2021, we hosted issue selection virtual town halls to give our broader base of congregational members a chance to weigh in. The choice was clear: voting rights is our main priority.
In February, we hosted two campaign launch webinars. We learned about Jewish values and voting rights, heard personal stories of voting challenges within our community, and heard a legislative update and advocacy advice from coalition partners at Texas Freedom Network and ACLU-TX.
Visit the RAC-TX group in the URJ Tent to view recordings of the campaign launch webinars and the issue selection town halls. If you need a log-in or other assistance with the Tent, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to participate in the campaign.:
- Our teams of leaders have met with Elections Administrators in 7 of the 8 largest counties in Texas. We've begun meeting with our legislators to oppose voter suppression and support bills that would expand and protect the freedom to vote.
- View our Action Alert for all the info you need to contact your state senators and representatives.
- Jewish Values and Voting Rights: a source sheet for Torah study, sermon starters, and education programs
RAC National Racial Justice Campaign
Following the end of the legislative session on May 31, 2021, we will continue to engage, train, and organize Reform Jewish communities in Texas, as well as build our collective power to pursue racial justice across the state and federal levels – and within our own walls.
- Civic Engagement Campaign 2020: During the 2020 election, hundreds of leaders at two dozen TX congregations engaged thousands of voters, in particular educating them about how to vote safely and securely during a pandemic, including the complex rules governing mail ballots in Texas. Congregational teams in the 8 largest counties met with their county Elections Administrators and County Clerks to learn about the mechanics of running elections and partner with them to educate our members. We also sent thousands of postcards to low propensity, marginalized voters in partnership with Center for Common Ground.
- 2020: In February, an immigrant justice coalition we work with in Harris County (Houston Leads) brought its campaign for a legal defense fund for immigrant residents to the County Commissioners meeting. Alongside two dozen immigrant leaders, four local rabbis testified in support of the fund, which passed 3-2, pending final approval. We continue to partner with the coalition leaders to move this fund forward.
- 2019: We had a successful inaugural session, with the Legislature approving billions of dollars in new funding for schools across the state. RAC-TX put our organizing efforts behind the school finance legislation, called Texas House Bill 3, and mobilized Reform Jews across the state for our first Austin Advocacy Days over March 25 and 26.
- Our work on school finance reform spoke to our deeply-held Jewish value that every child deserves access to quality education. You can learn more about our work on this issue by reading this blog post. As the new legislation is being implemented, we ask that you stay in contact with your local school district officials to ensure that they understand how to receive additional funding and watch for RAC-TX email updates as proposed education agency rules are posted for public comment.
On October 8-10, more than 60 clergy and leaders from across the state gathered at Congregation Emanu El and Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, TX to connect, train, and learn about critical social justice issues facing Texas, and strategize about how to organize for justice, wholeness, and compassion at the state and local level.
2019 Austin Lobby Day
On March 25-26, 50 leaders from across the state joined together at the state capitol in Austin to advocate for school finance reform, a massive new investment for public education in our state. In May, we mobilized another 150 phone calls to state legislators to push for final passage of the bill.
As part of the Reform Movement’s 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign, RAC-TX is working with Reform congregations and communities in Texas to:
- Encourage 100 percent voting in congregations
- Reach out to voters of Color outside our congregations
- Advocate with county election officials
- Recruit poll workers
We have a statewide team working on gun violence prevention, whose work has included partnering with the Houston Police Chief on a gun safety public messaging campaign, partnering with city and county officials in San Antonio/Bexar and elsewhere to ensure gun safety, and monitoring domestic violence courts in Dallas to ensure proper safeguards around firearm ownership for abusers.
RAC-TX Email Updates
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