Democracy is not on hold because of COVID.
The Montgomery County Council now broadcasts its budget deliberations and COVID response hearings on YouTube, and takes live public testimony by phone. That’s because Jews United for Justice and our allies pressed hard and successfully for live testimony, so that the voice of the public is not shut out of the decisions of public officials.
These hearings are of exceptional importance. At JUFJ we always say that a budget is a moral document: how we spend our tax dollars should reflect our values. As Councilmembers decide how to support residents who are financially affected by COVID, we are urging them to prioritize the needs of residents most devastated by this crisis, including people who have lost their jobs, undocumented people, renters, front-line workers, and people who live in nursing homes.
That’s why JUFJ is participating in the County Council meetings at virtual watch parties, in which we gather on Zoom, watch the proceedings on a shared screen, and reach out to our Councilmembers on social media. Carol Stern, co-chair of our Montgomery County Leadership Council, said:
Joining the JUFJ Virtual Watch Party for the Montgomery County Council hearings this week was amazing. Since I’m an avid social media person, I was commenting live on Facebook during the hearing and tweeting at the same time. I tagged the council members by name and I got many immediate responses.
In addition to commenting on Facebook and Twitter, we take photographs of ourselves holding advocacy signs and post them online — so we are “in the seats” as the Council votes. It’s one way to thank them when they take strong, moral actions — and to make sure they know we are paying attention to hold them accountable.
Join us for future virtual watch parties and be part of the movement for a moral Montgomery County budget! Fill out the form below to get on our alert list when hearings are scheduled. We expect to have opportunities the week of May 11 and for a final vote on the budget on May 21.
Anita Lampel (she/her/hers) is co-chair of the Montgomery County Leadership Council.