My involvement with the JCUA Organizing Fellowship has given me the opportunity to not only engage in dialogue about social justice, but to be involved on a deeper level. On February 26, I was able to participate in Purim Immigration Action in the Spirit of Esther at the Federal Building.
This experience was an incredible learning opportunity around community organizing. Prepping for the action, including learning about immigration reform and the work JCUA and other community organizations are doing, was vital. I also was involved in sharing the facebook event and urging friends to participate – getting the info about the DREAM Act and the action out to people in our networks was fundamental to its success.
I am also reflecting a lot about the people in attendance. As I was standing in the plaza, my motivation grew as bodies started to fill the area. There were news outlets to document and share what was occurring, both English and Spanish speaking. One of my roles was making sure that people arriving had signs, buttons, and materials. In addition, I was on Facebook Live duty. Both of these roles felt really powerful – helping both those in attendance and those who couldn’t make it to feel a part of the community and a part of the action.
I found throughout the filming that I would turn around and notice the crowd growing and in those moments, I felt so much pride. Seeing people show up and collectively demand change and action was awe-inspiring. I want people to know that there are Jews who are dedicated to working with other communities to advocate and fight for justice.
Finally, the timing of the action around Purim allowed us to pull from Jewish history and gave context to why we were so passionate about this specific issue. In the spirit of Esther, we demanded action. When the people went in to deliver their statements, I felt a sense of pride that my community members were showing up on a different level for the sake of progress. Once they joined the group outside, it was exciting to hear about the experience. There was some disappointment with the news that they shared, because it showed that even if you demand action, those in power won’t necessarily comply. However, my frustration makes me more motivated to continue to take action because I really want to see the changes we set out make.
My experience at this action pushed me to fight for causes that may be difficult but are reachable. While I am disappointed in the response of those in political power, I am inspired and moved by the power of those who showed up to demand change. Because I joined JCUA’s Organizing Fellowship, I was able to show up for Defending DACA in the spirit of Purim and have hands on involvement with social justice advocacy in the city that I live in.