July 16, 2021
What's On Our Mind ...

Tomorrow will be the one-year anniversary of the passing of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). He spent his life working to end injustice and to ensure that every citizen has the same easy access to voting. That was Rep. Lewis' hope for this country. Yet today, we are further from the finish line than ever before.

Congress can't seem to pass a voting rights bill. Antisemitism is a growing threat on campuses and communities. The GOP continues to find new ways to engage in race-baiting to strengthen its base.

Their most recent campaign is aimed at stopping the study of our country's racist past. They are trying to tell parents that their children are being traumatized, “psychologically” damaged, and “indoctrinated” in school if they learn about racism.

It is not coincidental that the GOP's voter suppression specifically targets Black voters while at the same time they are using a legal framework called Critical Race Theory (CRT) to halt schools from teaching about our country's racist past.

CRT was developed in the 1970s and 1980s. It centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions. CRT is not an educational program. But the GOP wants to falsely make it a school problem. By making the study of our country's past oppression a cultural wedge issue, they can further divide the country and promote their xenophobia.

This can also eventually lead to the halting of other studies that shine a light on the darker side of our history. Holocaust education and the study of antisemitism in this country could also fall victim to the GOP's whims.

Over the past six months, Republicans in more than two dozen states have proposed bills to stop schools from teaching topics that confront America’s history of racial and gender oppression. 

Fox News mentioned “critical race theory” 1,300 times in less than four months. Mentioning race and education together causes fear in with their white voters, their base, and further emboldens them. There are already several bills in Congress banning schools from teaching about slavery.

QAnon has also taken up the anti-CRT banner. With QAnon candidates winning school board seats, they will be in a powerful position to influence curricula. Elections have consequences.

As President Joe Biden said, “our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured.”

Rewriting — and actively ignoring — history to meet the political narrative of the day is dangerous to all Americans and the values we hold sacred. It moves that victory that Biden is working towards further from our grasp.

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Congressional Update with Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL)
Co-Chair, House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
Monday, July 19th
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2021 JAC Power of Women Virtual Event
Tiffany Haddish
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and memory of JAC Founder
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Monday, August 2
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In the News
Israel is considering a voucher system for foreign aid to Gaza, as a safeguard against Hamas funding. The United Arab Emirates became the first Gulf state to open an embassy in Israel. Turkish President Erdogan spoke with his new Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog, in a sign of possible thaw in icy relations.
Hundreds of people stood outside the U.S. Capitol on Sunday for No Fear: A Rally In Solidarity with the Jewish People. Antisemitic content on the social media platform TikTok increased by 900% in the first half of 2021. 800 years since the Church of England enacted a law that forced Jewish people to wear “a badge of shame,” the Church plans an apology.
A House bill advanced this week without the 1976 Hyde Amendment opens up the possibility of affordable abortion care for millions. Anti-vaxxers and pro-lifers face a paradox over women's control over their own bodies. Abortion rights advocates filed a federal lawsuit in Texas seeking to block a new state law empowering individuals to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.
Declining numbers and panic in white Evangelical communities has led to increasingly anti-democratic political beliefs. This panic is contributing to the religious dimension of the U.S.'s deepening partisan divide. Contrary to the belief of the right, the U.S. founding fathers did not want a Christian government.
Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-D) was one of nine people arrested during a voting rights protest at the Capitol this week. After this past Presidential election energized youth activists, they now turn their energy to redistricting. Trump supporters are trying to distance themselves from QAnon even if the ex-President isn't ready to let go.
Major League Baseball is set to draft Jacob Steinmetz, its first Orthodox Jewish player. Watching the 2021 Olympics? Here's a guide to all the Jewish athletes to root for. Read all about Israeli Yes Studio's plans for the future of hit shows Shtisel and Fauda, and the rise of Israeli drama.
The Last Word
"We're are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That's not hyperbole."

– President Biden on the recent assault on voting rights
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