Bringing voices of faith to a day of climate action at the NY State Capitol

What an inspiring day of Jewish climate action in Albany, NY!

During the New York state legislative session this year, Dayenu has been working with JCAN-NYC to bring the moral and collective might of the New York Jewish community to the effort to pass the Climate, Jobs, & Justice package. We’ve joined with a broad coalition of organizations, under the umbrella of NY Renews, to ensure that climate justice is top of mind for the governor, speaker of the Assembly, and legislators.

On March 20, we joined hundreds of activists from across the state for a day of action at the New York State Capitol in Albany. It was a delight to lift our voices with people from all communities, and to convey the urgency for climate action and climate justice.

How it feels to bring the demand for climate justice to the halls of power: A day in the life

Here’s Zoe Goldblum, who organizes young people for Dayenu, on the bus bright and early with the contents for our mishloach manot deliveries.

6:00am: [Unless you live near Albany] Wake up! You’re either catching an early bus, or driving, and you need to be in your seat in the meeting room at the convention center by 10:00am.

10:00am: After the bus drops you off, find your way to the meeting room at the convention center and get ready to make some noise! The organizers have you in mind: they provide earplugs and masks, as well as bagels, and, crucially, coffee.

You get the run of show for the day, and find your peeps. If you’re part of Dayenu, you make sure you wear your bright blue shirt!

10:30am: Join the very long line to get through security into the State Capitol. You wonder if you’ll pass through with your boxes of mishloach manot (a basket of gifts for your legislators), your tube of posters, and your very important water bottle.

And now, to climb. Who knew the State Capitol had so many (and such grand) staircases? Yes, it feels very much like Hogwarts; you do expect the paintings to come to life and complain about the clamor.

And, sure enough, it is indeed loud and echo-ey (and warm); you appreciate the earplugs (and the water bottle).

11:00am-noon: The million dollar staircase! Hoist your banner! Toot your horn! Chant! Cheer on the excellent speakers — legislators to community leaders — demanding “climate justice now” and passage of the NY HEAT Act and the Climate Change Superfund Act. Make polluters pay! Reduce the cost of heat for low-income households! It’s all good!

It’s all about CJJP: Climate, Jobs, and Justice Package. The bills in the package address climate justice: the need for good, green jobs; the need to address the disproportionate impact of climate crisis on overburdened communities; the urgency to move off fossil fuels and onto clean energy.

What should New York’s future be? CJJP!
Green jobs for you and me! CJJP!

Noa Gordon-Guterman leads a chant in the entryway to the State House.

Noon-1:00pm: MORE STAIRS. Down the way you came, back up to sit on a grand staircase outside where the legislators are meeting. And now, more important than ever to whoop it up and let them know you’re out there!

Hey, hey, what do you say?
Climate justice right away!

1:00pm: And now to the War Room (we didn’t do the naming here). Whoa, the ceiling; quite spectacular. More speeches, til the moment to disburse to visit legislative offices. Dayenu folks compile the mishloach manot — handmade pinwheels! handwritten postcards! hamantaschen! (yum) — and start the delivering.

Some of us stay behind for a multifaith gathering about why we’re dedicated to climate action. A song, a prayer, several speakers — a lovely and still moment at the heart of the frantic day, a reminder of the reasons why: our love for one another, future generations, the earth.

2:00pm: Back to the meeting room, to a boxed lunch and a lot of water; to some chants and celebrations; and through the many hallways back to the bus, and back home!

3:00pm: Board the bus, and the drive back.

What a great and empowering day! And how profound and moving to take action as Jews, together.

Join the fun at any time! More about A Time to Build. More about our Spiritual Adaptation resources.



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