By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
During ordinary times, speaking out in state and national capitals is vitally important for making progress on our community’s priorities. Because of your generosity, Federation amplifies our voice in the halls of power year after year—fighting antisemitism, protecting civil rights, ensuring funding of critical services for people in need, and so much more—all guided by Jewish values, history, and teachings.
We are living in extraordinary times. COVID-19 is impacting our world in previously unimaginable ways. The strength of our collective advocacy is more critical than ever, not only for responding to the present crisis, but for building the foundation for a stronger Jewish tomorrow in a changed world post-crisis. Standing up and taking action are critical ways that your Federation works to ensure the continuity of Jewish life, our mission since our doors opened over 90 years ago.
Your Federation has been deeply involved in the emergency response to COVID-19 – securing and strengthening the “infrastructure” of Jewish life to help the most vulnerable and keep our community connected. We’ve sent out alerts urging community members to contact their elected representatives, signed on to coalition letters, spoken with legislative staffers, and sent countless emails – combating bias against our local Asian American neighbors, working to ensure passage of the CARES Act, creating a workers’ support fund for immigrants here in Washington State, and so much more. Your Federation worked hard to secure new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program so that local Jewish organizations and other at-risk nonprofits can obtain much-needed loans and grants.
Next week, we will hold a series of virtual learning and advocacy opportunities focused on supporting our immigrant and refugee families who are some of the hardest hit from the pandemic – facing unimaginable impacts. You can find out more here. Please join us!
While our time and energy are rightfully focused on addressing the immediate crisis, I also want to call your attention to the policy wins that your Federation secured in this year’s session of the Washington State Legislature. These victories were collective accomplishments – made possible by the dedicated efforts of citizen advocates, the valuable help of partner organizations, and the generous support of our donors. Enactment of this legislation will benefit our community, now and after the crisis, and represents significant progress on the priorities that you, our community members, told us were your top areas of concern.
Of particular note in the 2020 legislative session was passage of legislation that fights hate and harassment by increasing penalties against the malicious practice of “swatting” – accomplished in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. We also ensured that everyone, regardless of their immigration status, can seek justice in our courts without fear. We strengthened the background check system that helps prevent gun violence. We made sure that victims of human trafficking can access the food and health care they urgently need. And, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we secured unanimous state Senate passage of a resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – one more way to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
These wins exemplify Jewish values in action. Our advocacy, only made possible through the generosity of donors like you, addresses the public health crisis of the moment and responds to urgent ongoing needs. This work embodies one way we live up to the timeless ethic of Kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh – all Jews are responsible for one another. Together, we are building a more just and healthier world, for our Jewish community and for the broader society in which we live. Together, we are stronger. Thank you for your support that makes all of this possible for our community.