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By Teddy Levitt

There are many perks that go with being a board member for the Jewish Center for Justice; advocating for issues that will help create positive change in our society, connecting with diverse and passionate groups of people, and interacting with inspiring elected officials who are leading the way toward a more just and compassionate society.

On Friday, February 22, I had the honor of hosting State Senator Ben Allen and my fellow JCJ members at my office of AllianceBernstein in Century City. Over lunch, Senator Allen provided us an in-depth briefing on the many issues that are core to the JCJ 2019 Advocacy Agenda. Below are just a few of the issues we discussed, debated and strategized about for the coming year. Senator Allen is a true star for the State of California and his intellect and drive for justice should serve as an inspiration to us all. We are looking forward to working with him in the coming weeks and months on a number of the issues mentioned below.

Environmental Justice

Sen. Allen addressed the continued need to protect our oceans and ensure we have clean air. JCJ will be supporting Sen. Allen’s bill (SB54) to phase out single-use plastic in the state by 2030. With only 15 percent of plastic being recycled, we must acknowledge plastic as a major source of pollution and waste, and then pursue a solution.

Education

We spoke about the importance of de-escalating the conversation and ensuring a more nuanced approach to public education, which will allow room for a more open and honest conversation as we seek to improve California’s future. It is the time for JCJ to work with state elected officials at exploring the budget and state propositions for funding streams. We need a strong financial investment in an education system in which we are all accountable.

Economic Justice

Understanding that the housing crisis and affordability in the state is a real concern and we need to develop new and creative solutions to address this problem. We will join with the Senator in supporting his renter’s tax credit bill which will help a number of Californians and lower income households.

Israel

The Senator also spoke with us about the strong and creative relationship that the California government has with the State of Israel in terms of environmental work, water preservation and tech. We look forward to working with Sen. Allen to strengthen this bond.

Teddy Levitt is a member of the board for the Jewish Center for Justice.