The National Council of Jewish Women has given its Champions for Social Change Award to its Greater New Orleans Section, in recognition of its development of an effective social change campaign.
The New Orleans section won the award for its "Engaging New Voices and Voters Coalition" effort, incorporating voter rights, registration, education and mobilization.
The plan was to register as many new voters as possible in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections. Its ultimate goal was making sure every eligible voter would be able to register to vote, cast a ballot and engage in all levels of government.
To build a coalition, they orchestrated a phone bank calling every national council member, reminding them to vote and asking them to become armchair ambassadors. Members also worked to influence Louisiana legislators to pass House Bill 265 to restore voting rights to incarcerated residents.
The coalition, led by the New Orleans section and the League of Women Voters, eventually included about 18 partners, including the 100 Black Women, American Association of University Women, Avodah, C’est La Vote, Hadassah, Indivisibles, Jewish Federation JNOLA, Lower 9th Voters Coalition, New Orleans Coalition, N.O. LINKS, New Orleans Public Library, NOW, NowLove, MOVE, Registrar of Voters Office, Touro Synagogue and Urban League.
They partnered with "Voices of the Experienced" to lobby for the passage of HB 265. VOTE is a grassroots organization founded and run by formerly incarcerated people, their families and their allies.