Each May, I head to Sacramento with scores of Jewish community members from across California to meet with legislators on issues that impact our State. Whether it is state budget deficits affecting programs that assist low-income seniors, anti-Semitism on our college campuses, or combatting human trafficking, we stand up for the basic rights and well-being of all Californians. While every year we face uncertainties, 2017 appears to be a year of unusual challenge in light of the policy changes coming out of Washington.
This May promises to be different in Sacramento because California is facing a crisis of uncertainty. Will the Affordable Care Act be dismantled? What about Medicare and Medi-Cal? How will federal policy changes impact DACA immigrants in California? How can we protect the most vulnerable Californians who depend on federally funded safety net programs? These are just a few of troubling unknowns we must grapple with.
California has a Democratic super majority in the State Legislature. Our leaders, Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin DeLeon, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and newly appointed Attorney General Xavier Becerra have all unequivocally made clear that they will fight to protect Californians from attempts to roll back the progress we have made. We, the California Jewish community, must show our support by joining them in the fights that lie ahead.
For many of us, momentum is building to “do something.” I, like so many others, want to be engaged in the political process to ensure that the basic human and civil rights of all Californians are protected. The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) provides access to that engagement. JPAC is working closely with the California Legislature and like-minded groups to build support across party lines. JPAC’s Advocacy Day is the culminating effort of months of research, coalition building and convening to bring concerned citizens from the Jewish community to Sacramento to meet with key legislators on issues that impact our State. I will be there this May, and I hope that many others will join me in working together to make the voice of the Jewish community heard where it counts- standing up for human rights and equality in our State.
Julie K. Zeisler is an independent non-profit consultant based in Los Angeles and the Association Director of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California.