2023 NCJW Colorado Day at the Capitol
[by Jane Robbins, NCJW Colorado State Policy Advocate]
There is power in numbers and in showing up. On Thursday, January 26th , NCJW Colorado hosted our 5th annual Day at the Capitol. A highlight of the year for our Section, Day at the Capitol provided an opportunity for NCJW Colorado members and supporters to meet with our state legislators, advocate for important issues such as reproductive rights and gun violence prevention, and promote NCJW’s mission to improve the quality of life for women, children, and families in Colorado and beyond.
This year’s Day at the Capitol began with a Breakfast for Legislators hosted by our NCJW Colorado Section and attended by over 50 state representatives and senators (more than half of all legislators in the Colorado General Assembly). At the bagel breakfast, NCJW members and supporters introduced themselves to the legislators and learned what motivated the representatives and senators to enter public service. These included concerns about Colorado’s: COVID response in the schools, gun safety programs, affordable housing, and health care access. Additionally, breakfast attendees shared their respective goals for the new legislative session.
Soon after breakfast, NCJW members and supporters were invited to the floor of the Colorado State House of Representatives to witness a Tribute presented by the Jewish women of the House – Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet (an NCJW Colorado member), Ruby Dickson, and Emily Sirota. The Tribute recognized the 130 th anniversary of NCJW Colorado and our sustained effort to provide for vulnerable populations and advance social change. Representative Michaelson Jenet spoke movingly about how she first became involved in NCJW Colorado and the profound impact of the work we do to support women, children, and families in Colorado. It was both thrilling and humbling to be recognized in such a formal public way, most especially when all the legislators rose to give us a standing ovation. Following the Tribute, NCJW members and supporters broke into small lobbying groups to meet with our individual legislators and educate them about NCJW Colorado’s legislative priorities and mission. Here, participants had the chance to speak out in opposition to the Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB23-1044), and to advocate for passage of three reproductive rights and justice bills that will be introduced shortly (Transparency Against Deceptive Trade Practices at Anti-Abortion Centers; Protecting Healthcare Patients, Providers, and Assistors; and Insurance Coverage for Reproductive Care).
The legislators with whom we met for these lobbying sessions included Representatives Shannon Bird, Ruby Dickson, Meg Froelich, Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Julie McCluskie (Speaker of the House), and Steven Woodrow, as well as Senators Julie Gonzales (Senate Majority Whip), Dylan Roberts, Robert Rodriguez (Assistant Majority Leader), and Tom Sullivan. For those NCJW members and supporters who were new to lobbying, we had practice sessions
and tips provided by those more experienced with this form of political advocacy. As well, all participants received information packets containing legislator biographies, bill fact sheets, and lobbying best practices. With these resources, all participants could be fully engaged. No
The goal of NCJW Colorado’s Day at the Capitol is to bring our voices to the forefront and make a positive impact on our Colorado communities through legislative action. It is an important platform to raise awareness and bring attention to the challenges and opportunities facing women, children, and families in Colorado. We believe we achieved this goal. Participants at this year’s Day at the Capitol said they felt “renewed strength and resolve” and their “voices were heard.” Moreover, Representative Froelich and Senator Gonzales, among many other legislators, personally thanked us for taking the time and effort to understand the issues and come to the Capitol to communicate NCJW Colorado’s legislative concerns. The day was beautifully summed up by Section member Caren Kamlet: “Before I was just wading the waters, and now I’m fully in!”
Going forward this legislative session, there will be weekly opportunities for NCJW Colorado members to advocate in person, by phone, or via email through our Advocacy Thursdays. Again, no experienced needed. We will provide background resources. For more information on Advocacy Thursdays, please call Leila Covrigaru, VP Public Affairs, at 734-657-6784.
Click here to watch a video of the Tribute celebrating NCJW Colorado on the Colorado State Capitol floor. The NCJW Colorado portion begins at approximately 23:30.