Notes from Human Rights Committee Meeting on March 1  


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03/03/2017 10:48 am  



7:30-9 PM, Congregation Beth El 


The primary activity of the meeting was the breakouts into subcommittees to begin developing an action plan in each issue area.  We reviewed the Human Rights Committee Vision and participants signed up for subcommittees:

  • Racial Justice/Black Lives Matter/Criminal Justice Reform
  • LGBTQ Rights
  • Women’s Rights/Planned Parenthood
  • Religious Rights/Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia

Subcommittees focused on these and other questions:

  • What is subcommittee’s immediate focus or issue?
  • How should the subcommittee work to make itself most effective?
  • What local organizations are working in this issue area and might be partners in action?
  • Who will contact those organizations to find out what the organization is currently working on and to share ideas and action?
  • Who will be liaison to Human Rights Committee (chair or other subcommittee member) to help coordinate our activities?

Reports from Subcommittees:


Racial Justice/Black Lives Matter/Criminal Justice Reform:

The subcommittee will work on creating a spreadsheet of organizations working in these issue areas that will include community leadership, and elected officials who are working for these issues as well as against them.  A second spreadsheet will focus on actions to be taken by the subcommittee and partners.  The expectation is to have this research done within one week and to discuss further at the next Human Rights Committee meeting.


LGBTQ Rights:

Focus of the subcommittee is transgender rights, violence against the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ immigrants.  The subcommittee will research and work with other local groups active in these issue areas. Messaging about these issues is important as well as linking to community and organizational calendars for events.  North Jersey Pride and NY organizations working on these issues are natural partners and subcommittee members will reach out to them. Outreach and recruitment is central to the subcommittee work. St. George’s Church has LGBTQ programs and may be a good local partner.


Women’s Rights/Planned Parenthood:

Among other issues the group is concerned about reproductive rights and violence against women. Each member of the subcommittee will research up to 10 organizations working on women’s rights. Partner organizations include local shelters, Planned Parenthood and others. Members want to spread the word of their work through friends as well as the larger community.   They support the Women’s Strike on March 8 which is a day to focus on the rights of women around the world. They ask everyone to participate as they can, including wearing red that day.


Religious Justice/Anti-Semitism/Islamophobia:

There has been an increase in anti-Semitic acts, including the spray painting of swastikas at the South Mountain Reservation. Whomever is doing this, whether teens or adults, it is an expression of hate. Questions were raised about how this is being addressed in schools locally? At-risk populations locally include Jews, Muslims, Indians, People of Color.  It appears that non-white non-Christians are at-risk in this administration.  It was suggested that we partner with other organizations to set up a series of educational programs about marginalized populations for parents and community members. Sue will research the school curriculum; Marcia will research interfaith programs at Seton Hall University; Mindy will contact the local Clergy Council to find out what their focus is; Roni has made contact with the local ADL and is contacting the Anne Frank Center.


 For coordination purposes, each subcommittee is asked to share any upcoming actions or activities with the Human Rights Committee co-chairs (see emails below).


NEXT HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE MEETING: Sunday, March 12, Noon, Hilton Library, Maplewood


Co-chair contacts:

Barbara Bickart:

Marcia Bloomberg:

Jami Thall:




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