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 Mission to Detroit

New IAN Director Triangle Fire
Facing Race and Poverty in Detroit

The JCPA is excited to announce that the 4th annual African American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission will be held in Detroit, Michigan from June 27-30, 2011. Pairs of JCRC and African American community leaders are invited to join us to examine the intersection of race and poverty in Detroit – a city that has come to symbolize urban decline in America.  

How can a city that has gone from roughly 2,000,000 people to only 713,777 recover from economic hardship, failing public services, high crime rate, and dysfunctional politics in the face of a rapidly dwindling tax base?  While engaging with people working on the ground in Detroit to address these pressing questions, Mission participants will also examine how Jewish and African American leaders can join together to better address related issues in their own communities.  

We are told in Deuteronomy 15:4, “There shall be no needy among you.”  As Jewish leaders strive to fulfill this commandment through community work.  This Mission is an opportunity to confront the disparate impact of poverty on minority populations – an opportunity to help write the next chapter in the historic alliance between the African American and Jewish communities on issues of social justice.  Last year, the JCPA African American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission went to Birmingham, AL, where participants discussed civil rights and followed the footsteps of Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

For more information regarding the Mission, please contact Emily Kaplan, the JCPA Public Policy Fellow, at ekaplan@thejcpa.org or 202-212-6036.

Announcing Geri Palast
Geri Palast, IAN Managing Director

The JCPA and The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) are pleased to announce the hiring of Geri Palast to serve as Managing Director of the Israel Action Network (IAN). IAN is a project of JFNA in cooperation with the JCPA to combat all threats to Israel’s legitimacy wherever they may occur. So far, IAN has worked with Seattle to remove advertisements from city buses, helped students at Princeton counter a boycott of Sabra hummus, and beat back efforts for a divestment bill at the University of Vermont. 

Palast will offer her deep experience in public policy and organizing to further the Network’s goal of mobilizing communities across North America to more effectively counter attacks on Israel’s legitimacy, particularly within civil society, and to take forward looking steps to promote a fair and balanced understanding of Israel and the situation in the Middle East. She has previously served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and the  Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equality. The JCPA and JFNA are excited to be working with her and look forward to more great successes from IAN.

White House Remembers Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
A picture from the White House Event
On March 28th, members of the JCPA staff joined White House and Department of Labor officials at an event honoring the legacy of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Hosted by Secretary Hilda Solis and Senior Adviser to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett, the White House celebrated Women’s History Month, honored those who were lost in fire, and recited the stories of female workers and members of unions.  Secretary Solis and Ms. Jarrett gave opening remarks and then a panel of female workers from various industries including child care, a domestic workers, cashier, and bilingual customer service representative discussed the challenges they have faced in their job and how the ability (or in some cases the inability) to organize a union have affected their workplace.

On March 24th, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation honoring the 100thanniversary of the Triangle factory fire.   Earlier this month, at the JCPA Plenum, delegates were joined by AFL-CIO Richard Trupka in a plenary session commemorating the victims of the Triangle fire and the long relationship between the organized Jewish community and the labor movement. 

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