As of May 2020, 35 of our leaders have met with the county Election Administrators in the eight largest counties in Texas, encompassing more than 50 percent of the state population. We are creating working groups to focus on voter education within our congregations, a multi-faith religious values message in support of vote-by-mail and other safe election measures, and engagement of suppressed or marginalized voters. As we look ahead to the 2021 Legislative Session, we anticipate working on certain necessary voting reforms, such as simplified mail ballot applications, online voter registration, less stringent ID laws, and other items still being researched.
Gun Violence Prevention
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.
- 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.
RAC-TX's work was made possible with generous seed funding from the Michael & Alice Kuhn Foundation.
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The Brit Olam, covenant with our world, is the primary way Reform Jewish communities are working together to make change. Communities who join the Brit Olam choose from two types of networked social justice work—RAC state projects or issue-based cohorts—to ensure that we, as a movement, are leveraging our collective knowledge, skill, and relationships to make a lasting impact on the issues we care about, grounded deeply in the text and tradition that bind us together.