Roundup: June 30, 2023

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Joe Biden comes to Chicago

President Joe Biden visited Chicago on Wednesday, getting ready for his reelection campaign and looking ahead to the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Speaking from the Old Post Office downtown, Biden focused on his plans for economic revival (“Bidenomics”), hoping to move past his low approval rating and win over more middle-class voters. During an afternoon fundraiser hosted by Governor Pritzker, Biden spoke on codifying Roe V. Wade and doubled-down on calling for a federal assault weapons ban.

Affirmative action struck down by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action on Wednesday in a 6-3 vote, citing the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. In 1978, the Supreme Court decided that race could be one of many factors considered in college admissions decisions, which was further affirmed in 2003 and 2016 cases.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson criticized the demand for colorblindness in admissions in her dissent, noting that “deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life. And having so detached itself from this country’s actual past and present experiences, the Court has now been lured into interfering with the crucial work that UNC and other institutions of higher learning are doing to solve America’s real-world problems.”

South Shore residents organize for housing equity

South Shore residents are organizing for a Community Benefit Agreement to prevent displacement ahead of the Obama Presidential Library coming to Jackson Park. A draft of the ordinance received 89% approval on a non-binding ballot question on the 5th Ward ballot in February, and Ald. Desmon Yancy plans to introduce the ordinance at City Council. The Obama CBA Coalition calls for new affordable housing, increases in home improvement grants and rental and down payment assistance grants, and prioritizing longtime South Shore residents in these neighborhood initiatives.

Gratitude to outgoing JCUA board members

Thank you to Jeff Zaluda, David Feinberg, and Matt Owens for their years of service to JCUA’s Board! Jeff Zaluda previously served as Board President and a recipient of our Rabbi Marx Social Justice Award, and is an active member of congregation partner Mishkan. David Feinberg served as chair of the Board Recruitment Committee, and we are grateful for his effective leadership. We are thrilled that both Jeff and David will remain active members of the Community Ventures Program Advisory Committee. Matt Owens has been an invaluable resource on our board, and we wish him the best of luck in his move to California.

From all of us at JCUA, a huge thank you to Matt, Jeff, and David for their support and service.

Join JCUA’s racial justice training on July 9

On Sunday, July 9th, JCUA is holding our 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, and there are still a few spots available. Become a member and join us on July 9!

Thank you, Maetal!

This week, we bid farewell to Maetal Gerson as she moves to New York to begin rabbinical school at  the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Over the last four years, Maetal has taken on important work within JCUA, including as Avodah Organizer, Kol Or leader, and organizer for our Jewish teens of color affinity space.

We will miss her dearly, but we’re excited for her new chapter! We are so proud of Maetal and know she will be an outstanding rabbi.