Six weeks ago 1.4 million Floridians could not vote due to a felony disenfranchisement provision in the Florida state constitution, a law dating back to the Jim Crow era. But, on November 6, 2018, the historic Amendment 4 was passed, restoring the right to vote for these individuals — nearly 10% of the state — and changing politics in Florida, and in the United States, forever.
JOIN is humbled to have been a small part of the huge multi-faith, multicultural, and even multi-partisan effort in Florida that worked to pass Amendment 4. JOIN served as trainer, coach, strategist and digital media support for the Religious Action Center, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Anti-Defamation League, and a network of rabbis and Jewish community leaders who worked throughout 2018 to organize their communities in support of Amendment 4. Between our focused in-person organizing and broader digital campaign, we ultimately reached over 180,000 Floridian Jews in the months before the election, helping deliver a resounding yes to the work started by the Second Chances coalition years ago. It was the third largest enfranchisement in U.S. history. Check out the voter pledge page and messaging that JOIN produced for the Jewish Coalition for Amendment 4 here, and read about the Jewish Coalition’s work in Haaretz and the Forward!
Rabbi Judy Kempler of Temple Beth Am in Miami, a leader in the Reform movement, worked alongside colleagues and lay leaders to mobilize her congregation in support of the Amendment. Together they hosted house meetings and spoke to countless members about our tradition’s teachings on forgiveness. Rabbi Kempler was a 2015 participant in JOIN’s online course, Don’t Kvetch, Organize!, and she is a part of our movement to embolden Jewish leaders to organize for justice.
During a time when many of us have been questioning the strength of our democracy, our work in Florida reminds us that organizers and organizing make our democracy stronger.
We are prepared to continue building our democracy by training hundreds of individuals each year in organizing skills, helping them win key campaigns and initiatives across the country. With your help, we can shift the landscape for good. Please consider contributing to JOIN for Justice to ensure that the Jewish community’s voice is heard on our country’s most pressing social justice issues today.