Roundup: June 2, 2023

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Another successful session in Springfield

JCUA and our partners in the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) have wrapped up another year of statewide advocacy for immigration justice, and once again, our coalition secured the passage of important legislation:

1. Medical Debt: Black, brown, and immigrant communities are disproportionately impacted by medical debt. This legislation will require hospitals to screen patients’ eligibility for discounted care programs and state coverage and help them apply!

2. Driver’s Licenses: Instead of temporary permits that reveal their immigration status, immigrants in Illinois can now access a state driver’s license or ID card!

3. Immigrant Services: The Immigrant Service Line Item (ISLI) provides funding for cash assistance, citizenship application assistance, English classes, DACA and citizenship application fee waivers, and resource navigation. We secured $38 million for ISLI in the state budget, with an additional $20 million in federal funding!

4. Childcare: We secured a 20% increase in state childcare spending!

Thank you to all of the Immigration Justice Committee members who joined our ICIRR partners in making these victories possible.

This session, our organizing had the extra power of JCUA youth, as Or Tzedek teens joined us in Springfield to meet with legislators and advocate for our platform. Read more about this legislative session and hear the experiences of youth organizers Mollie and Lindsey!

$51 million for asylum seekers in Chicago

On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council passed $51 million in funding to support asylum seekers in Chicago. Hundreds of individuals and families are still sheltering at police stations awaiting transportation to one of eleven temporary shelters, while an average of 700 people continue to arrive daily.

Following the vote, Mayor Brandon Johnson said, “There really is enough for everyone, it’s a matter of how we prioritize that enough. We have an opportunity to do something righteous, and that’s to make sure that families who want to call the city of Chicago their home, regardless of how they got here, that Chicago is big enough to take care of the residents who have been here and make room for those who wish to call Chicago home.”

White House releases plan to combat antisemitism

Last week, the Biden administration released its comprehensive strategy to combat antisemitism in the United States. The administration gathered input from hundreds of Jewish scholars, activists, and organizations, including JCUA, in which we provided our analysis and strategies we believe that federal, state, and local governments can implement.

We were proud to join our local Jewish grassroots partners in issuing a statement about the administration’s plan.

“No matter where we live, Jews are safer in democratic societies that strive to extend equal rights and protections to everyone,” our joint statement with Carolina Jews for Justice, Detroit Jews for Justice, Boston Worker’s Circle, Jewish Community Action, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice reads.

Registration open for Racial Justice training

On Sunday, July 9th, JCUA is holding its annual Racial Justice Training. This day-long program, led by a multiracial team of staff and leaders, is designed for white Jews and Jews of Color looking to strengthen their skills to combat racism and white supremacy within themselves, their work with JCUA, and throughout their lives.

This training is open to all JCUA members. Become a member today and sign up to join us on July 9th.

Join Kol Or for the Juneteenth Havdalah

The Kol Or Jews of Color Caucus invites you to our annual Juneteenth Havdalah, taking place Saturday, June 17 at 6:00 pm at KAM Isaiah Israel.

The Juneteenth Havdalah is Kol Or’s biggest event of the year. More than 100 members of the JCUA community and beyond come together to commemorate Juneteenth, observe Shabbat, and celebrate our multi-ethnic, multiracial Jewish community. This year, our theme is Liberation: Can You Feel It? We will bring that feeling of freedom to our hearts and minds through celebration. Register here.