Welcome to Our First Newsletter
"All beginnings are difficult" — Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael on Exodus 19:5
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Long Island, which began as an idea in the minds of five volunteer leaders, has become a powerful chapter of grassroots volunteers that have made concrete, progressive changes at the local, state, and federal levels. This newsletter, which will focus on our activities, represents a new stage of growth for our chapter, adding another dimension to the digital written record of activities on Long Island.
This first issue is long, at least by the standards of an email newsletter. It highlights some of the salient events from January 2020 to the present. Future newsletters, which will appear on a monthly basis, will usually be shorter in length.
One more thing. History has thrown us a curve ball, placing us on a journey whose direction is being shaped minute-by-minute by many competing forces. As we adapt to this changed environment, I believe that our work with Bend the Arc will help us to focus our efforts towards a common goal and make us a more powerful force and voice.
Hold on tight. We’ve got a heck of a journey ahead of us.
Jeff — Editor, [email protected]
Phyllis — Co-Editor
Matthew — Co-Editor
Join Us! Upcoming "Virtual" Meetings
May Community Meeting
WHEN: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 7:00PM-8:30PM EST
Rise as One to Thrive as Many: 2-part training on racism, antisemitism, and white nationalism
WHEN: Sunday, June 7, 4-5:30PM (Part 1) and Monday, June 8, 7-8:30PM (Part 2)
State Budget & Bail Reform Efforts
This year, our volunteer base worked alongside our partner organizations and focused on two campaigns that were tied to the NYS budget process: protecting the gains we made to bail reform last year, and the Promise Package, an attempt to secure funding to support immigrant communities with legal support, refugee support, and adult literacy services.
Our work on these campaigns included joining our partners at rallies, and at lobby visits with Senators Kaplan, Kaminsky, Gaughran, and Martinez, in addition to OpEds and Letters to the Editor, call-in days, and more.
In January 2020, Bend the Arc was one of more than a dozen progressive organizations that held a rally in Mineola in support of bail reform. In brief, bail reform had the double aim of reducing the institutional racism in the bail system, while also reducing the incarceration rate for many crimes where jail is used, not because of guilt, but because a person could not meet the requirements of cash bail. Though the reform only recently went into effect, there were already loud voices, such as the Nassau Police Commissioner, speaking against the legislation. Several speakers spoke at the event, as did Bend the Arc’s Nathan, who provided important historical and political information concerning bail reform.