About two weeks ago, on March 13th, Muslims, Jews, Protestants and Catholics from across Minnesota joined together for the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition’s Day on the Hill. This interfaith event, made up of religious leaders, community members, and everyone in between, gave people of faith from all corners of the state an opportunity to stand alongside one another at the State Capitol, and to advocate for the common good. This year we centered ourselves around the theme of “If not now, when?” from a well-known quote by Rabbi Hillel. And truly, we asked ourselves and our legislators, if we don’t work towards social justice now, when will we?
Photo: JRLC advocates file through the halls of the State Office Building to meet with lawmakers. (Alison Bents Photography)
The day started off strong with several sessions preparing event attendees for what was to come – one session, hosted by Homes for All member Dean Goldberg, focused on housing and homelessness. Other sessions shared common calls for justice across faith traditions and demystified the process of meeting with legislators. As the day progressed, we heard from several faith leaders, to include Keynote Speaker Rabbi David Locketz, and dove into the details of our legislative asks. By the afternoon we moved over to the Capitol Complex and shared our concerns with legislators.
District 18 constituents meet with Senator Scott Newman. (Alison Bents Photography)
This year, we asked our legislators to support four main ideas that we know will help to create economic stability for all Minnesotans. We asked for more accessible child care, greater court discretion and fewer income-based penalties for traffic fines and fees, to preserve tax credits that benefit low- and middle-income residents, and we asked for bonding for affordable housing.
Advocating for the common good takes many forms, but we know that an essential piece of caring for our neighbors includes ensuring that our neighbors have safe and affordable places to live. The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition is grateful to add our voice to Homes for All – we know we are stronger when we work together. And I think it is safe to say that all Homes for All members are ready for affordable housing across Minnesota now. Because if not now, when?
Keynote Speaker Rabbi David Locketz (Alison Bents Photography)