How did we determine our agenda
for Maryland General Assembly 2024?
It is not on you to finish the work. But you can’t quit either.
— Pirkei Avot 2:21
Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) works in coalition and partnership with grassroots and advocacy groups to build and win issue campaigns. Our approach is based on our commitment to racial equity and dismantling systems of oppression, which includes centering the leadership of our most directly impacted partners and being as transparent as possible about our agenda selection process.
When we select campaigns, we keep in mind our goals of organizing and mobilizing our base, strengthening coalitions we are part of, and shifting the balance of power in our local communities. The details of JUFJ’s campaign work often includes passing legislation, securing funding for a local/state budget priority, and ensuring strong implementation of past wins, but the fundamental work is to build community and build the power needed to achieve our vision of a just community where everyone has what they need to live and flourish.
At the Maryland Statewide Kickoff, the JUFJ community was invited to give feedback on the five issue areas listed above and on four Renters’ Rights campaigns. This feedback helped the Maryland Core Team arrive at a 2024 Maryland agenda with four “full scope of work” campaigns. Other campaigns presented at the Kickoff are being supported by JUFJ in a more limited way, including providing testimony.
Issue Area and Campaign Selection Criteria
JUFJ’s issue areas and campaigns must meet the following criteria:
- Will increase social, economic, and racial justice in our jurisdictions and make structural change that advances equity
- Will allow us to join and/or strengthen a coalition of partners
- Will engage our community, develop leaders, and build JUFJ’s power
- We have the capacity to take on this work
- Must have at least one of the following:
- It is possible to win right now
- We can change what is possible
- We can build the power of our field, i.e. our partners and our coalitions
MDGA 2024 Agenda Setting Process
- Agenda setting decisions are based on our Issue Area and Campaign Selection Criteria that were developed as part of JUFJ’s organization-wide racial equity process (see other side of this document).
- Over the summer, JUFJ staff and the Maryland Core Team asked our current coalition partners about their priorities and where JUFJ could most strategically engage in supporting MDGA 2024 campaigns.
- At the Statewide Kickoff, JUFJ staff and the Maryland Core Team shared those campaign possibilities to find out where our community is most excited to put time and energy.
- Based on Statewide Kickoff feedback, JUFJ staff and the Maryland Core Team determined the “full scope of work” campaigns. Other campaigns brought to the Kickoff are designated as “testimony only” or “implementation and defense” (more info about those categories is below). The finalized agenda is being shared with the JUFJ community in November and with state legislators in December.
- When coalition priorities change leading up to or during session (as they often do), JUFJ staff and the MD Core Team will make adjustments to our agenda and update the JUFJ community and legislators.
What is “Full Scope of Work?”
On a campaign that has been designated as a “full scope of work” campaign, JUFJ will put all of our tools to work to win that campaign. These tools include educating our community about the issue, sponsoring and co-sponsoring events, providing testimony to legislators, and encouraging our community to advocate directly with their legislators.
Campaigns that are not “full scope of work” campaigns are designated as “defense and implementation” (we will mobilize to defend and implement past wins), “testimony only” (we will provide JUFJ testimony but not other support), and “sign-on issues” (we will add our names to a coalition letter or testimony but we will not create our own).
- JUFJ Leader: An engaged JUFJ volunteer
- Partner: An organization that JUFJ works with on campaigns
- Coalition: A structure set up to work on one or multiple campaigns, usually (but not always) made up of a group of organizations
- Issue Area: A broad category of organizing, such as Renters Rights
- Campaign: Can be a specific legislative or budget priority, such as passing and funding Access to Counsel in Rent Court, or other modalities such as Court Watch and Eviction Disruption
- Scope of Work: Options for types of campaign staffing and activities that require a range of capacity from leaders and staff