Tikkun Olam at Temple Beth Am

Connecting our congregation to social action opportunities


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Legislative Update — HB 1588–Requiring Universal Background Check for Firearms Transfers

imagesTWO WEEKS TO GET HB 1588 OUT OF RULES AND VOTED ON–REQUIRING UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECK FOR FIREARMS TRANSFERS
Please make these calls, AND urge your networks to make these calls:

Call your state Senator and Representative today to make sure they know you want them to stand with the majority of Washington citizens and pass common-sense gun reforms.

You can reach them by calling the Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000 and telling them you support HB 1588 and SB 5711.

When you are connected to your state legislator’s office, tell them 4 things:

• Your name and where you are from.
• That you are concerned about gun violence and you support common-sense gun reforms.
• That you believe this issue deserves a vote THIS legislative session.
• That you specifically support universal background checks for all gun sales.
If you know that your legislator(s) already supports universal background checks, please ask them if they can reach out to their undecided colleagues and help convince them that this is the right thing to do.
While it is important that we all contact our own legislators, we also need to focus on a few critical legislative districts. If you have friends, family, coworkers, who reside in these districts and support common-sense laws, urge them to contact their representatives
  •   LD 17 (Vancouver, Battle Ground):  Senator Don Benton (R), Representative Monica Stonier (D), Representative Paul Harris (R)   http://1.usa.gov/131OGXc (these links are maps of the districts)
  • LD 24 (Port Angeles, Port Townsend): Senator James Hargrove (D), Representative Kevin Van De Wege (D), Representative Steve Tharinger (D)   http://1.usa.gov/12I1SRe
  • LD 25 (Puyallup): Senator James Hargrove (D), Representative Kevin Van De Wege (D), Representative Steve Tharinger (D)http://1.usa.gov/W1HQiz
  • LD 26 (Gig Harbor, Port Orchard):  Senator Nathan Schlicher (D), Representative Jan Angel (R), Representative Larry Seaquist (D)   http://1.usa.gov/VtAQbK
  • LD 28 (University Place, Lakewood, Dupont)   Senator Mike Carrell (R), Representative Steve O’Ban (R), Representative Tami Green (D) http://1.usa.gov/15soLrh
  • LD 41 (Mercer Island, Bellevue, Newcastle, Sammamish) Senator Steve Litzow (R), Representative Marcie Maxwell (D), Representative Judy Clibborn (D)  http://1.usa.gov/Y9DT9I

NOTE: Senator Litzow is one of the sponsors of the Universal Background Check Bill. He needs to be thanked for his sponsorship and reminded that this issue deserves a vote and we are counting on him to deliver.

  • LD 44 (Marysville, Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Mill Creek)  Senator Steve Hobbs (D), Representative Hans Dunshee (D), Representative Mike Hope (R)  http://1.usa.gov/Yx2of6

NOTE: Rep. Mike Hope is one of the prime sponsors of the Universal Background Check Bill.  He voted for the bill in committee.  He needs to be thanked for his leadership.

  • LD 45 (Kirkland, Woodinville, Sammamish, Duvall) Senator Andy Hill (R), Representative Roger Goodman (D), Representative Larry Springer (D)  http://1.usa.gov/XmQQda
  • LD 47 (Auburn, Covington) Senator Joe Fain (R), Representative Mark Hargrove (R), Representative Pat Sullivan (D)   http://1.usa.gov/UJzPwW
  •   LD 48 (Medina, Bellevue, Redmond) Senator Rodney Tom (D), Representative Ross Hunter (D), Representative Cyrus Habib (D)http://1.usa.gov/Y9DT9I

NOTE: Senator Tom is one of the sponsors of the Universal Background Check Bill.  He is also the Senate Majority Leader.  He needs to be thanked for his sponsorship and reminded that this issue deserves a vote and we are counting on him to deliver.

Here is a mapping tool that can help you find the districts and identify the members:  http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
 
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Voices: Reflections on Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day

Reposted from the Faith and Family Homelessness Project

Voices: Reflections on Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day

Posted on 02/21/2013 by 

Published in the Mukilteo Beacon | By Glen Pickus | Feb 20, 2013

It’s our obligation to advocate an end to homelessness

As the world’s first ethical monotheistic religion, Judaism is more than a means for individuals to fulfill their spiritual needs.

Many of us believe it is incumbent on Jews to introduce our ethical values outside of our community. Photo Courtesy of: Glen Pickus More than 650 housing and homeless advocates were given a red scarf to wear at a rally on the steps of the capitol on Feb. 11. The advocates represented 43 out of the 49 legislative districts, which made this Advocacy Day the largest ever.
Because our core ethics are similar, if not identical to those of other faiths, it was logical that Temple Beth Or would partner with the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry’s Faith & Family Homelessness Project.

Which is why last week, on Feb. 11, 11 Temple Beth Or members were on a bus with 25 other people of faith from Everett First Presbyterian, Arlington United Church and Temple Beth Am on our way to Olympia to take part in Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day, organized by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

In Olympia we joined more than 650 other advocates whose goal was the same as ours – to call for an end to homelessness. We learned about the connection between housing and education needs and the importance to advocate for revenue dedicated to housing programs. We also attended a workshop on how to be effective advocates.

At noon we rallied on the north steps of the Capitol Building with the hope our state legislators would take notice of our numbers.

After lunch it was time to do some face-to-face advocacy. We grouped together by legislative district and met in three separate meetings with our state representatives and senator. As a Mukilteo resident I live in the 21st District, so I joined about 15 others to meet with Rep. Marko Liias, Rep. Mary Helen Roberts and Sen. Paull Shin. Nearly half of us were Temple Beth Or members.

We are fortunate in the 21st District in that all three of our elected representatives are very supportive of the call to end homelessness.

In our meetings we urged them to fund the Housing Trust Fund at $175 million, vote in favor of the “Fair Tenant Screening Act” to eliminate unfair barriers to housing and to fully fund the “Housing and Essential Needs” and the “Aged, Blind and Disabled” programs which ensure people with disabilities can meet their basic needs.

We pointed out it was not about choosing between education or housing programs because children who don’t have safe and secure housing are not going to be good learners. So we asked them to pursue new, smart and innovative revenues to allow both housing and education programs to be properly funded. (See this HTF Education Factsheet 2013 to learn more.)

As I mentioned in this space last September, for Jews, helping those in need is not simply a matter of charity, but of responsibility, righteousness and justice. We are not to just give to the poor, but we are instructed to advocate on their behalf – to “speak up, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9).

On Feb. 11 that’s exactly what my fellow Temple Beth Or members and I were doing.


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Gun Violence Legislative Update

(2/19/13)

Legislative Hotline:  1-800-562-6000

Last week the House heard legislation requiring a background check for every sale of a gun in Washington. Rabbi Danny Weiner testified as well as Cheryl Stumbo (one of the survivors from the Jewish Federation). House members are focusing much of their attention on the background check legislation. Another important piece of legislation is getting less attention, however. HB 1676 sponsored by Ruth Kagi would require a dealer to offer to sell or give a locked box or gun lock when a gun is sold. It also adds to the crime of reckless endangerment when a gun is left unlocked and the child gains access to the unlocked gun. Finally, it requires gun dealers and shops to post warnings about gun storage.

This bill is an important step in preventing child deaths and injuries when a gun is stored incorrectly. Without an immediate effort of people emailing Rep. Pedersen and Rep Frank Chopp and calling Representatives on the Legislative Hotline this bill will likely die this week when the first policy committee cut-off strikes on Friday. Don’t wait. Get the word out on this important piece of legislation.

Update:  2/20/13

We received word from the lobbyist for the Jewish Federation  that in addition to sending our support to Jamie Pederson and Frank Chopp,  it is very important to put pressure on the legislators that do not want these bills to be heard or to come up for a vote. 

Emails:
frank.chopp@leg.wa.gov
jamie.pedersen@leg.wa.gov

Legislative Hotline:
1-800-562-6000

Pressure these legislators:
We Want a Vote!
CALL CALL CALL.
Legislative Hotline:  1-800-562-6000

Rep. Steve Kirby (D) 29th L.D.
(360) 786-7996
steve.kirby@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Jay Rodne (R)
5th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
(360) 786-7852
jay.rodne@leg.wa.gov

Brad Klippert (R)
brad.klippert@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7882
Toll-free: (800) 562-6000

Terry Nealy (R)
terry.nealey@leg.wa.gov
Phone: (360) 786-7828
Toll-free: (800) 562-6000

Matt Shea (R)


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What’s Next for Gun Control? YOU ARE!

The Come Home Alive Initiative (CHAI), formed by TBA members Jessica Trupin, Shelly Cohen, Randy Simon, and many others, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, is delighted that Council member Tim Burgess, Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz and others will be joining us at our next meeting, which we’re co-hosting with the amazing One Million Moms for Gun Control.Nick Federici, advocate for nonprofit causes in Olympia, will be leading an advocacy training after the speakers. Other prominent leaders are also signing up to join us!We hope that each of you is in this struggle for the long haul. Come to share, learn, lobby, or just listen.

Next Sunday, 2/24, 3-4:30 at First United Methodist, 180 Denny. We’ll have you out in time for the Oscars. Childcare available.

RSVP to february24rsvp@gmail.com – but don’t let a lack of RSVP keep you away.


First Church (First United Methodist Church, Seattle)
180 Denny Way, Seattle, Washington 98109
View Map · Get Directions


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Petition to Encourage Elected Officials to Act on Gun Control

We  encourage you to sign this petition against gun violence.

Jewish Petition to End Gun Violence

December 14, 2012’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has reminded us that the issue of gun violence in our nation must be dealt with immediately.

Please sign this petition to encourage our elected officials in Washington State to support comprehensive action, including legislation requiring background checks (closing the gun show loophole), mandating guns be stored safely around children and robust efforts to ensure that every person in need has access to quality mental health care.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5165/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12385


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Everyone Counts: Count Us In 2013

I was lucky enough to be asked to be the  Meal Team Leader last Thursday at the Teen Feed Count Us In site.  During the extended two hour meal we served over 80 youth and young adults ages 13-25, and the many volunteers who came to help out.   Following is an excellent summary of Count Us In and the importance of counting a population that has until very recently been “hidden” in our plain sight.  

If you are interested in joining me in Olympia at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on February 11th please contact me at rsimon28@comcast.net.

Repost: Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In

http://firesteelwa.org/blog/open/title/everyone-counts-homeless-youth-and-young-adult-2013-count-us-in

Posted on 01/29/2013 by 

Firesteel / Blog / Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In.

Homeless counts will have taken place in every county across the country by the end of January. In this series, “Everyone Counts,” our partners at Firesteel explore the importance of these counts and hear what impact they had on some of the thousands of volunteers in Western Washington. In this post, Ashwin from Seattle University shares insights from the Count Us In homeless youth and young adult count–a population which has only recently been counted!

By Ashwin Warrior, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness; Senior, Seattle University.

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, the doors to the basement of University Congregational Church in Seattle’s University District swing open, and the youth flow in out of the cold.

They are greeted by warmth and smiles, offered dry clothes and small sets of toiletries, and —perhaps most importantly—fed a warm meal.

Since 1987, the non-profit organization Teen Feed has been providing regular meals to the University District’s homeless youth population. In 2011, the organization served more than 13,200 meals to 690 individual youths in need.

Tonight, however, is about more than food. As the youth sit down to an enchilada dinner, volunteers disperse among the crowd, clipboards and pens in hand.

Teen Feed is one of the providers at the center of King County’s third annual Count Us In initiative, an effort started in 2011 to better count youth and young adults who are unstably housed or homeless. This is the first time that Count Us In has been aligned with the One Night Count in King County.

The effort is led by a steering committee that comprises of United Way of King County, the City of Seattle, King County and youth & young adult providers. The goal is to end homelessness among youth and young adults – “unaccompanied youth” ages 12-24 – by 2020.

Volunteers and staff interviewed youth and young adults at centralized sites around the county, including libraries, drop-in centers and meal programs.  Some providers also went into the community to do outreach and find the young people.  The survey they used includes questions such as where the young person slept the night before, but also gets into some of the major causes of homelessness among this group, including whether the young person has ever been in foster care.

The U.S. Interagency Council (USICH) selected King County and Washington state as one of nine locations to participate in a national pilot to collect data on youth homelessness.

Data gathered from Teen Feed and numerous other youth agencies across King County, including Auburn Youth ResourcesFriends of Youth and YouthCare’s Orion Center, will be added to the One Night Count estimates and reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It will also be used to better tailor youth services across the county.

As one worker of the night, Alex Okerman of the YMCA’s Young Adult Services, explains, “It’s really essential to understanding homelessness. If we’re going to try and do something to stop it, by asking questions about these young adults and what their past experiences are like…we can get to the root of some of the issues.” Hear more of his thoughts below:

Volunteer Erin Maguire works on youth programs for Catholic Community Services.  She said that the Youth Count provides important information that she uses all the time.

“The more than we understand the issue from young people that we’re hearing from tonight, the more we can improve our programs and increase our services to them,” Erin said.

Many locations also hosted a sleepover for the youth who participated in the Count.

Skateboards lined the wall at Teen Feed’s Count Us In sleepover. Photo tweeted by @teenfeedseattle, Jan. 25, 2013.

The second Count Us In, in 2012, recorded a conservative number of 685 unstably housed youth and young adults in King County.  Preliminary results from Count Us In will be available soon; watch for more here on Firesteel.


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2,736 people had no shelter in King County last night.

 

From:  Seattle/King County Coalition On Homelessness (SKKCH) blog.homelessinfo.org 

 Posted on January 25, 2013 by 

The One Night Count of homeless people in King County took place early this morning.  We are incredibly grateful to the many volunteers and supporters that worked to make the Count safe, respectful, and accurate.

At least 2,736 men, women, and children were found sleeping on the streets, under bridges, in their cars, on public transit, in temporary shelters and in makeshift campsites. This is 142 more people without shelter than volunteers counted one year ago.

The One Night Count is just the beginning. It sets in motion a full year of education, engagement, and action for all of us who care about this crisis. This morning we are especially reminded that everyone should have a place to call home.

When we see our neighbors sleeping on cardboard or riding buses to keep warm, we are shocked and saddened. We are also inspired to urge local and state officials to address these needs with resources. With our State Legislators in session debating funding for key housing and homelessness programs at this very moment, we need people to speak up and take action to make sure the One Night Count is more than just a number.

How can you help?

  1. Attend a free “Homelessness Advocacy 101” workshop on Feb. 9 in Seattle or Bellevue; learn about the issues and speak up ~ register at www.homelessinfo.org
  2. Join Coalition members in educating lawmakers in Olympia on February 11 for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day ~ register here.
  3. Support the Coalition’s work through a financial donation. Donations made through February 28 will be matched, up to $7,000, providing a unique opportunity to double the impact of your gift. Donate online today.

The Coalition has helped to effect many positive impacts on the crisis of homelessness. Today, thousands of people who once experienced homelessness live in safe, healthy homes, thanks to efforts of our members, supporters, and volunteers.  Together we’ve raised our voices.  And, it has worked.  This morning we are reminded there is still much to do.

After seeing what volunteers and supporters pulled off in a few short hours this morning, I’m confident that together, we can ensure safety for people who are homeless today and end the crisis of homelessness once and for all.

See our website for the 2013 street count results in more detail, as well as results from previous years.