The 2019 session of the Washington State Legislature gaveled to order this past Monday — opening a 105-day session at which our elected representatives will make many decisions affecting the lives of everyone in our state, including our Puget Sound Jewish community.
As we do in every legislative session, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is advocating in Olympia for our community’s priorities and for local Jewish organizations that do so much for Jewish Puget Sound. Thanks to the support of our generous donors, we commit significant time and resources to this vital work.
As skillfully as our government affairs team works every day, effective advocacy is a community-wide, collaborative enterprise where many hands pitch in. The passion of caring people like YOU, who act on our shared Jewish values of pursuing justice, not standing idly by, and repairing the world, is what makes our community’s voice heard in Olympia. We invite you to join our advocacy team in the spirit of kehillah, a commitment to working together in community for the greater good. There are many ways that you can be involved and make a difference.
First, sharing your ideas about the issues you care about most is critically important. Each of you has a valuable perspective, and last fall, many of you voiced your thoughts by responding to our annual Policy Priorities Survey. In the spirit of collaboration, the top results of the survey—combating anti-Semitism, bias incidents and hate crimes, supporting immigrants and refugees, preventing gun violence, and so much more—directly informed the community legislative agenda that Federation set for this year in partnership with other Jewish organizations.
Over the next three months while legislators are in session, there are important ways in which your voice can move the needle. Making a phone call or sending an email to your state representatives and state senator might not seem significant, but it is! Lawmakers pay close attention to what’s on the minds of their constituents. Sign up for alerts from the Washington State Jewish Action Center, the hub for information on public policy and how it affects our community. Through the Action Center, we’ll send you periodic alerts to contact your legislators and ask them to act on crucial legislation.
Communicating with our lawmakers by email and phone is important, but there is nothing as powerful as talking face-to-face for making your voice heard and effecting positive change. The secret to effective advocacy is building productive relationships with the people who represent you in Olympia. When they hear you express your concerns in person with clarity and purpose, backed up by values and policy knowledge, you will get their attention. Taking the time to meet with your elected representatives in person strengthens your relationship with them, improving the chances that they will support our community’s priorities consistently.
That’s why it’s so important to join us for the annual Jewish Community Lobby Day, when we will visit the Capitol and advocate for our priorities through the power of our collective voice. Making your voice heard in person works! Here’s a perfect example: At last year’s Lobby Day, when lawmakers heard from us personally about the importance of fighting anti-Semitism and hate, they included funding for ADL and Holocaust Center for Humanity programs in the state budget with only hours to spare before a procedural deadline. Just by showing up and speaking out, we made a tremendous impact for the Jewish community and the state as a whole.
Jewish Community Lobby Day takes place March 26 this year. Sign up today!Together, we’ll be advocating again about the importance of combating anti-Semitism and hate, as well as protecting immigrants and refugees, strengthening the social safety net, preventing gun violence, and more.
One person can make a difference. As a community of citizen advocates, we can change the world. By adding your voice to the collective, you will make us all stronger. Please join us!