2019 Events and Achievements
Looking to tackle important issues such a national rise in hate crimes, voter repression and fair and humane treatment for immigrant detainees, BID accomplished the following:
After six-months of intensive planning, BID held a communitywide No Place for Hate forum on October 29 at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. The event, attended by well over 200 concerned individuals, and co-sponsored by 20 community organizations, featured a moderated panel of community leaders from a wide range of diverse constituencies, who engaged in an insightful dialogue regarding the dramatic rise in acts of hate — both locally and nationally — directed toward Jews, Muslims, African Americans, and other ethnic groups and organizations. They also shared their insights on what we in our communities can do to make a difference in addressing these virulent issues. The discussion was moderated by Evan Bernstein, New York/New Jersey Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League, and concluded with a highly interactive Q&A with the audience.
Preparing ahead for the 2020 election, BID held a Voting Rights event on June 5 featuring Guest Speaker, Jeanne LoCicero, Deputy Legal Director for the ACLU-NJ, who addressed the current state of voter rights locally and nationally. She also discussed what actions the ACLU, other organizations and concerned citizens could take to help protect voting rights. The evening was moderated by BID President and founder Lor Sackler and included an engaging Q&A that allowed for an informal dialogue on topics such as violations against immigrants, civil union discrimation and more.
Looking to uphold our American principles of justice and individual rights and dignity for all, a group of BID members visited the Bergen County Jail in May to observe how detained immigrants and asylum seekers were being treated. The goal was to offer assistance that could ensure that these people were being treated humanely and receiving proper legal representation and guidance to preserve their rights and to obtain competent representation when it came to a fair hearing of their cases. BID also discussed the urgency for ensuring that immigrant detainees are granted “direct contact” visitation, something they are currently denied, which is a basic human necessity that does not need to compromise the jail’s security concerns. One suggestion was to implement compassion and hope through volunteer visitations. Other topics included the necessity for follow-up medical care, quality food, opportunities to engage in religious meetings, ESL classes, GED programs, and recreational and health programs that ensure the mental and physical well-being for people who have already suffered so much. A letter was sent to the jail officials and reforms followed.
In response to Trump’s National Emergency funding search to build a wall on our borders with Mexico, BID held an Immigration in New Jersey symposium on March 5 to address this and other immigration crises that create a host of legal and political challenges for our state’s immigrant communities. The event featured Johanna Calle, Director of the NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice, as well as other activists, who offered their unique insights on how communities can work together toward resolving this major human rights issue as it unfolds around us.