The stakes will be historically high when voters head to the polls and elect representatives to state and federal offices during the midterm elections this fall after a tumultuous summer of landmark decisions on gun and abortion rights by the United States Supreme Court and the decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on voting districts.
As a result, the National Council of Jewish Women in Milwaukee and the Movement Voter Project are pushing to mobilize and motivate Wisconsinites to get out and vote, an effort that will be highlighted on Monday, Aug. 1 when the groups hold an organizing event open to the public.
The event, billed as an Advocacy Movie Night, will feature an outdoor screening of a film about voter suppression and will be a chance for participants to connect with local grassroots groups who are organizing volunteer opportunities to enable more voting access across the state.
“Voting right now is top of mind for everybody,” said Barbara Levin, past president of the NCJW, who now serves as a community liaison. The event is intended “to create awareness for people who are looking for a way to learn more and to be active and try to make a difference in these tough times.”
The local chapter of the NCJW is a progressive organization inspired by Jewish values that takes on issues such as child welfare, women’s rights, reproductive justice and human trafficking.
“It feels like doomsday now, but it doesn’t have to be if we as a society collectively decide this isn’t where we want to be,” Levin said. “It’s going to be up to grassroots organizations. It’s going to be up to young people and it’s going to be up to the faith community to make a difference.”
The event will feature the showing of the film “Suppressed and Sabotaged: The Fight to Vote,” a 45-minute documentary that is meant to detail the growing threat of voter suppression and subversion, election sabotage and the wave of new voter laws passed in 19 states after the 2020 election.
“The idea of the film is to motivate people to take action,” Levin said. “They will hopefully be a little bit more jazz to help.”
The program will also include a speaker sharing information about the Movement Voter Project, which raises money to support local community-based organizations that do voter outreach and organizing around important issues in key states such as Wisconsin. These organizations include Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Black Leaders Organizing Communities and Voces de la Frontera Action.
“Through what they call relational organizing, they support all these organizations that turn out unlikely voters and organize communities to grow their power,” Levin said. “It is all about voter outreach. And the importance of your voice.”
A speaker from the Wisconsin Interface Voter Engagement Campaign will also talk about other ways people can volunteer and help in the push to get people to the polls.
“It’s imperative. It’s absolutely imperative that we don’t just give up,” Levin said. “There’s too much at stake.”
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WHAT: Advocacy Movie Night
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1 (rain date Aug. 2)
WHERE: RSVP at Ncjwmke.org/Programs for location
COST: Free and open to the community
Bring a blanket or lawn chair