Three weeks after Donald Trump won the presidential election, I received an email; “Are you angry or concerned after the election? Looking for something you can do to make a difference? So are we.”
One week later, I met with a group of eight young Jewish women from Metro Detroit, who, like me, felt the crushing loss and anxiety following Trump’s win.
We went around the room to share our post-election thoughts. Some voiced concern about Trump’s pledge to defund Planned Parenthood; others worried that his insidious depictions of women would set our society back to the Stone Age.
One sentiment was unanimous: amidst a sea of Facebook tirades and twitter rants, we were all in search of a positive outlet to share our frustrations, fears and hopes for the future of our state and country. Beyond a weekly pity party, we wanted to channel these feelings into action.
Led by Ariella Lis Raviv, Brooke Bendix and Michal Nodel, we formed JACII Detroit. Another organization, Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (“JACPAC”) is a bipartisan political action committee committed to a pro-Israel platform and a social agenda that includes reproductive choice and separation of religion and state. JAC supports U.S. Senate and House candidates who uphold this agenda, regardless of their partisan affiliation. JACII Detroit will maintain the same principles as JACPAC, with a focus on a younger demographic.
Our decision to partner with JACPAC, an organization founded on Jewish principles and ideals, felt cathartic and important. President Trump’s promises of a Muslim registry and extreme immigration measures should ring warning bells for anyone familiar with our Jewish history.
The United States served as a safe haven for many of our ancestors, and its open-door policy is the reason many of us live in this country today. If a giant wall stood between my great-grandparents and New York City, my family may not be here today.
Faced with a Commander-in-Chief who appears hell-bent on demoralizing women, it feels particularly powerful to work with a group of young, professional Jewish women from Detroit to help create awareness of local issues and work with leaders who need our attention. We plan to educate others in the community about upcoming local elections and organizations that are pro-Israel, pro-choice and promote progressive values.
We held our first official event on the eve of inauguration, Jan. 19, at committee member Samantha Friedman’s studio, Fuse 45 in Royal Oak. We heard from a Planned Parenthood organizer to learn how to decipher the truths from the falsehoods about the program’s work. State Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, answered questions from our group about his work in Lansing and how to best let our voices be heard by our state representatives.
We also spoke to Terry Campbell, regional manager for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, about the national political climate and how we could get involved in the senator’s work.
If you are angry or concerned and looking to make a difference, JACII is here. We are small but mighty, and we are looking for more young women and pro-women men to join our crusade.
For more information, visit our Facebook page, JACII – Detroit Chapter, and visit www.jacpac.org to learn more about the national chapter.
Lauren Mondry is a member of the steering committee of JACII Detroit. Lauren recently moved from Chicago back to Detroit where she is currently a deputy press secretary in Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration.