Beyond Coal Campaign

Carolina Jews for Justice/West and Asheville Beyond Coal Campaign

Information Session – April 27th – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Skyland/South Buncombe Library
260 Overlook Road, Asheville NC

To Discuss Concerns about Air Quality

from Duke Energy’s Coal Plant

The Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency has the ability now to write a new permit for the Asheville coal plant, says Judy Leavitt, Chair of the Carolina Jew for Justice/West Steering Committee. We urge Asheville residents to submit a statement of concern about this public health issue.  Comments should be addressed to: WNC Regional Air Quality Agency, 49 Mount Carmel Road, Asheville, NC 28806. Community members are also encouraged to attend the  public hearing on Wednesday, April 29th at 6:00 PM in the auditorium at Clyde A. Erwin High School, 60 Lees Creek Road, Asheville.

For more information please contact

Asheville Slaves Liberated on April 26, 1865

Asheville: From Slavery to Freedom will commemorate a significant date in Asheville’s history, never before publicly recognized. Co-sponsored by the Center for Diversity Education and Date My City, this event is another opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of our history, so that deeper liberation can occur in our community.

Remembering April 26, 1865
A Teach-In with Story & Song
Pack Square, Downtown Asheville
April 26, 2015 from 5 – 6:30 pm

The Union Army of General George Stoneman, led by Brigadier General Alvan Gillem, approached Asheville on April 23, 1865. After signing a truce with the home guard, the General led 2,700 troops and hundreds of newly freed slaves along the Main Street of Asheville (now Biltmore Avenue). As they proceeded to leave town on April 26, they were joined by newly freed slaves from Asheville who sought safe passage out of the mountains to a new life elsewhere.

We’ll look back on this day 150 years later.

CJJers Fight for $15

Jon and Roz Darling and Mary Sibrack attended the “Fight for $15″ Rally on behalf of CJJ this week. Thanks to Jon for this report!

APRIL 15, 2015: Several hundred students, professors, and minimum-wage workers joined in the Shaw University Quad, Raleigh, NC as part of the “Fight for $15″ Rally, held in support of a higher minimum wage, union rights for workers, and increased wages and job security for university adjunct faculty members. While similar rallies were also held at other sites in NC and around the nation, this one was especially meaningful because (as the NCSU Student Newspaper cited) it was held where the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was founded for a similar cause more than 50 years ago. The struggle for basic human rights continues. Demonstrators on Wednesday called for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour and for more benefits for low-wage workers. It was great to be there despite the pouring chilled rain.mary and roz at fight for 15

Your voice at the legislature

This morning, I joined other board members from CJJ in hand-delivering copies of an open letter to all state legislators. Signed by more than 200 members of North Carolina’s Jewish community, including dozens of rabbis and cantors, business leaders, and communal professionals, the letter states our firm opposition to the so-called “religious freedom” bills currently being considered in the house and senate, as well as in states nationwide. CJJ joins the wider Jewish community in urging all legislators to oppose these sham bills, and we will be paying close attention to which lawmakers, in the final accounting, vote for bigotry and discrimination.

The letter delivery follows a major win for CJJ last week, when Rep. Gary Pendleton, of Wake County, formerly a cosponsor of one of the bad bills, agreed to drop his support after meeting with a CJJ delegation. We can’t quite say “dayenu” yet, but we are getting very close to a complete victory.

Quite a few legislative aides thanked us for taking the time to engage, and, regardless of their offices’ positions, lawmakers are understandably very interested in what a minority religious group has to say about bills that purport to protect religious freedom. That’s why our engagement in this debate as Jews is so important. Identifying ourselves as a faith community, one with a rich cultural heritage and deeply resonant historical experience, helps us build power and influence with the individuals whose decisions–like it or not!–impact our lives each day.

When visiting legislators’ offices, I tried to share some specific comments from our supporters whenever possible. You can read a few of them below.

“I hope North Carolina will not follow the lead of Indiana, and trail it in the news.”

“This Bill does nothing to advance human rights and respect for the people of North Carolina. It is discriminatory in design and effect. No G-d would subscribe to this attempt to discriminate against our fellow sisters and brothers.”

“Religious freedoms are a cornerstone of our nation, not an excuse to alienate others.”

“As a woman, a Jew, and a person concerned with the equal rights of all people, I strongly support voting against this religious freedom bill which opens the door to legalized discrimination.”

“Religious freedom is guaranteed by our constitution. The purpose of RFRA is to permit discrimination. I urge our legislature to reject this unnecessary and dangerous law.”

Join CJJ letter opposing NC RFRA

Please fill in this form to sign onto our letter of opposition to S.550/HB348, the “NC Religious Freedom Restoration Act”. For more info on the bill, read here. We will submit this letter to members of the NC Legislature.

March __, 2015

Dear Senator [Representative];

We, the undersigned Jewish community members, write to express our concern about Senate Bill 550 [House Bill 348], the “North Carolina Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

As a religious minority we know well the importance of religious freedom. Equally, we understand first-hand the harm that can result from legislation that may sanction private discrimination against religious or other minorities.

The bill empowers businesses and employers to refuse to serve certain customers or hire prospective employees when this refusal is motivated by religious beliefs. The bill expressly permits this even when no religion requires it. A business owner motivated by religious beliefs could refuse to hire or serve Jews, for example, or gays, or others.

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