When I was in 8th grade, I ran for school president: “Vote Ediss to Lead Us.” I lost by six votes. Although it was a narcissistic blow, what was most hurtful was my best friend’s admission that she had voted for my opponent as she “didn’t think a girl should be president.” I wondered how many other students believed as she did—what if just three or four of them had voted differently. YES, every vote counts! That awakening, paired with two anti-Semitic incidents (also by “good” friends), shaped my deep commitment to justice and equal opportunity—values espoused in my family and reflected in my parents’ belief that my sister and I be and achieve whatever we envisioned.
Although I was aware of voter suppression and corruption around recent elections, it was our Civil Rights visit to Fair Fight in Georgia that galvanized me to join with other like-minded TBE congregants to actively take on the issue of Combating Voter Suppression. When the URJ’s Religious Action Center (RAC) launched its Civic Engagement Campaign, I found fertile ground within TBE to join together to advocate for fair and just elections this summer and fall.
On June 15, we held an introductory Zoom session that described the RAC’s three areas of focus: Combating Voter Suppression, Mobilizing Our Voters, and Engaging Students and Young Adults. In the final ten minutes of the call, 41 congregants signed up. Within the first three days, 99 congregants committed to promoting just and equitable elections.
I’d like to invite those of you who have not signed up to participate in Every Voice, Every Vote. Our first activity resulted in 1620 postcards sent to voters in North Carolina. Post-carding will continue throughout the summer with phone- and text-banking also underway. Mail-in voting is now a reality in Massachusetts and there is much needed education to help voters understand this new process. Join us!