By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Last year, I spent a day in Olympia for Jewish Community Lobby Day learning about state issues affecting Jewish Puget Sound and joining with dozens of people from our community to speak with legislators to advocate for change. It was a rewarding and impactful experience, and I encourage you to participate in the 2018 Jewish Community Lobby Day, on Wednesday, February 21.
Lobby Day is an important feature of the Federation’s advocacy program, through which we champion our community’s priorities at the Washington State Legislature – fighting anti-Semitism, helping people in need, defending civil rights, preventing gun violence, and helping Jewish organizations secure resources for the services they provide. Our professional government affairs team does an exceptional job with day-to-day advocacy work in Olympia, but there is a special power in citizens speaking directly with lawmakers about important legislation through the lens of Jewish values.
This year, we’ll be advocating for:
- Funding for the Anti-Defamation League and the Holocaust Center for Humanity to combat hate and bias in our schools
- Fighting anti-Semitism
- Protecting vulnerable communities
- Supporting immigrants and refugees
- Preventing gun violence
Jewish Community Lobby Day is for everyone, whether you’re an experienced citizen lobbyist with expertise to share, or a newcomer to the advocacy world. We will gather in the morning at Temple Beth Hatfiloh to hear from Jewish legislators, learn about this year’s top issues, and practice our lobbying. Then, we’ll walk to the state Capitol to meet with our legislators.
We know that getting to and from Olympia can be challenging, so we have arranged optional round-trip bus transportation from Mercer Island and from Seattle (at an additional charge of $18). And yes, there will also be food – a kosher light breakfast and lunch.
Learning and practicing together will pay off. Elected officials want to know the top priorities of their constituents, the people they are elected to represent, when deciding on matters that affect the lives of families and communities – public safety, education, human rights, human services, and much else. Contacting lawmakers by phone or email is important, but nothing makes an impression like taking the time to meet with them in person, inside the Capitol that is the locus of representative government.
The foundation of all communal endeavors is relationships, and that is true in the political world too. When we have in-person conversations with lawmakers, we are building relationships that greatly increase the likelihood our representatives will understand what we’re advocating and why. Good relationships improve the chances of gaining their consistent support for our priorities.
Make an impact by making your voice heard. You can sign up for Lobby Day (and the optional bus transportation) here. Please join us!