Resources & Media

Southern California Newsletter Fall 2017

Bend the Arc: Southern California
October 3, 2017
Anjuli Kronheim Katz

California’s 2017 legislative session just wrapped up, and I’m so proud of our community of Bend the Arc volunteers who showed up to make an impact on crucial immigration and criminal justice reform bills. Here’s what we did from May to today:

We built power to advance bail reform, because no one deserves to be in jail when they can’t afford bail.

For the last year, Bend the Arc leaders in LA and across California have educated our community, organized lobby visits, gathered letters of support, phone banked alongside our coalition partners, and more to help reform California’s broken money bail system.

Our action is working — because of our coalition’s work, the groundbreaking CA Money Bail Reform Act (SB 10) went further than we thought it could this legislative session, and Governor Brown and California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye came out in support of the bill.

We’re going to continue organizing to make sure the strongest version of this crucial reform passes in the next legislative session. Take action now by signing and sharing our petition.

Jews for Bail Reform

We helped pass the strongest statewide sanctuary legislation in the country to protect our immigrant neighbors.

When the Trump Administration announced the repeal of DACA — telling 800,000 undocumented young people with no other home to self-deport, we went into the streets.

We led an interfaith rally with friends, allies, and partners to protest this cruel executive action and call on Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act. We marched straight to the State Office Building to demand that Governor Jerry Brown sign the CA Values Act (SB 54) as soon as possible.

This rally built on the prophetic interfaith action we led in August with partners from faith and community groups across LA to stand with immigrant communities and advocate for SB 54.

We also reached people all over the state of California by phone banking with our friends at NCJW, getting our neighbors to keep up pressure on their reps to pass SB 54.


I want to sincerely thank you for everything you do to increase justice in our state. Every phone call you made, every petition you signed, and every action you joined helped pass legislation to support our neighbors in California who feel ignored, threatened, scared, or are in hiding because of Trump and Congress.

Read below to learn more about the amazing work we’re doing in LA and how you can plug in.

In solidarity,

Anjuli Kronheim Katz, Regional Organizer


A Note from Rabbi-in-Residence, Aryeh Cohen

In this High Holiday season our minds turn toward t’shuvah, the act of reviewing what we have done over the past year, identifying where we missed the mark, caused harm, or sinned, and then making a plan for how to repair the breach and move forward in a way that will forge better and more just relationships.

In our Jewish tradition, the point of the criminal justice system is to enable an individual offender to do t’shuvah — to understand the bad choices they made, the people they might have harmed, and the way to do better.

On a systemic level this means that we should be working towards a justice system that sees as its goal the reintegration of formerly incarcerated people into society as productive citizens.

As a society, we are responsible to ensure that those in the carceral system have the opportunities to repair the tear in the community caused by their offense, to be rehabilitated, and to resume productive lives.

May we all have a sweet, productive, joyous, and just New Year,

Aryeh Cohen, Southern California Rabbi-in-Residence 

How we're fighting back

In the wake of Charlottesville, DACA repeal, and the latest version of the Muslim Ban, we’re reminded of the urgency of standing up against an agenda that emboldens white supremacy and threatens us all. Here’s how we’re fighting back in LA:

  • After Charlottesville, our Rabbi-in-Residence Aryeh Cohen joined an interfaith rally at an African-American mosque in South LA. Ten clergy stood together in solidarity to represent the diversity of LA’s faith community and denounce all forms of bigotry.

  • Bend the Arc: Southern California joined a coalition of social justice and civil rights organizations convened by Senator Kamala Harris to discuss Charlottesville and combatting bigotry and antisemitism here at home. We’re honored to continue in this coalition with the Senator’s office moving forward.

  • We’re co-sponsoring a rally here in LA for the #NoMuslimBanEver National Day of Action. Join us on Sunday, October 15th at 12pm.


Turn Congress 180

In key congressional districts across the country, Bend the Arc volunteers are leading local campaigns to give their representatives a choice: continue enabling an immoral agenda, or turn 180 degrees toward democracy and our lives.

This Rosh Hashanah, Jews in New York and Illinois sounded the shofar at demonstrations to wake up their representatives from their complicity with Trump’s agenda. Read about their powerful actions here.

Ready to get involved in SoCal? We’re organizing in three districts: Steve Knight (CA-25), Ed Royce (CA-39), and Darrell Issa (CA-49). Email Anjuli to learn more.