Imagine planning for an event for 400 people, but 1400 show up? When our Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) sister organization, LI-CAN in Long Island, organized around the burgeoning opioid crisis, this is exactly what happened. (PDF)
Among the other things that keep us up at night, what about lives taken violently by those wielding military-grade firearms across the US? When our sister organization Metro-IAF organized around these issues, they brought corporate and customer pressure to accomplish what Congress could not: enlisting officials in 124 municipalities to use their influence as major customers to urge gun manufacturers to explore “smart gun” technology, renders the weapon useless if picked up by someone besides its owner.
This is sacred work and it cannot be done alone. Our community organizing is an extension of the Jewish value of gemilut hasadim, acts of loving kindness. We direct these acts internally in our community toward each other, but we don’t stop there. As we turn to face outward to face our broader community, we extend hesed, or love to those around us. Through MOC, we are connected to each other and we foster systemic social change.
Organizing around these issues begins at the grassroots level as individuals in these communities ask: What keeps me up at night? What can we do about it? When they ask these questions, they know they are not alone because they are connected through MOC. Kol Shofar is one of eighteen MOC partner organizations in Marin. MOC is connected to other organizations through our national affiliation with the Industrial Areas Foundation.
As Pirkei Avot tells us, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” MOC helps us resist desisting! What is keeping you up at night? To find out more about how you can get involved in MOC, please email Gail Dorph at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not lose hope – MOC can be your way to make a difference in the world around you!