JCRC spearheads advocacy trip to Austin

Photo: JCRC Staff
2017 Jewish Communities Day at the State participants meet with Gov. Greg Abbott.

Jewish community members and organizations from throughout Texas will converge on the state Legislature in Austin Wednesday, Jan. 30, for a day of advocacy.
“The Jewish Communities Day at the State: Legislative Mission to Austin” is organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. The event occurs every two years based on when the Texas legislature meets. The program is a communal effort to advocate and educate on issues important to the Jewish communities of Texas, including support for Israel, social services agencies and access to quality early learning for all children.
Partners for this year’s program include Jewish Federations in Texas, including those from Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth/Tarrant County, Houston and San Antonio; the JCRC; as well as the University of Texas Hillel, Southern Methodist University Hillel, Hillel North Texas and Hadassah-Greater Southwest Region. As the only full-time JCRC in Texas, the Dallas JCRC brings leadership and expertise in programming, like Day at the State, which supports public policy and social issues that are important to the Dallas community
For the program at the State Capitol, the JCRC invites issue-experts to speak to participants during the morning of Jan. 30 about particular advocacy issues. Legislators are invited to meet with participants during a luncheon period, followed by meetings arranged for small (two- to four-person) groups of attendees to meet individually with legislators or staff during the afternoon.
The JCRC will also arrange “meet and greets” and photo-ops with Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen. In 2017, the JCRC arranged a select leadership meeting between then-House Speaker Joe Straus and high-level representatives from each Federation, during which they discussed strategy regarding getting an anti-BDS bill approved in the House and Senate.
This year, among other things, participants will advocate for support for Texas-Israel water cooperation, in collaboration with the Texas Israel Alliance. Ensuring that Airbnb is a “listed company” that engages in boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel also will be an advocacy priority. According to the anti-BDS bill, which was signed into law in 2017, Texas law restricts the state from contracting with any companies that engage in BDS against Israel.
In Austin, Jewish Communities Day at the State participants will also advocate for issues important to social services agency partners of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, including Jewish Family Service, The Legacy Senior Communities, Community Homes for Adults, Inc. and the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center. One particular advocacy issue for Jewish Family Service includes support for funding of Clubhouse Texas, which provides a community and meaningful work for people with mental illness.
A third advocacy issue will be ensuring adequate funding for high-quality early learning in public schools for all children. A yearlong investigation by the Austin American-Statesman published in December 2018 revealed the dangerous conditions that exist inside many Texas child care settings, leaving hundreds of children with serious injuries and nearly 90 dead as a result of abuse or neglect since 2007. The Dallas JCRC is working with a coalition of multiple organizations, agencies, and stakeholders who are advocating for safe and secure child care.
For more information and to register for the program, visit www.jewishdallas.org/dayatthestate. Optional bus transportation will be provided from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas for those who wish to travel with the group. Online registration closes Friday, Jan. 25. For any questions, contact the Jewish Community Relations Council at jcrcdallas@jewishdallas.org or 214-615-5293.

—Submitted by
Hillary Burlbaw

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