On Tuesday, I was honored to participate in a press conference at our nation’s Capitol. It was called by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders, as well as the Reverend Dr. William Barber III (founder of the Poor People’s Campaign) in order to highlight voices of faith leaders who are working for a more inclusive America. As one of 7 faith leaders who spoke, I felt a great sense of pride to share my strong belief in the importance of immigration for our nation. I was very proud to say the name Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center in the capitol building, and to talk about our commitment to voter registration, English language classes, and citizenship classes. As ever, I feel honored and blessed to support that work, and to help create community in this very special corner of New York City.
My name is Rabbi Joanna Samuels and I am the Executive Director of Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I am proud to lead a community of immigrants who have come to this country to build better futures — for themselves and for our nation.
My community members — who hail from the four corners of this earth — — come to Manny Cantor Center to take classes in Citizenship, to learn English, and to register to vote.
They believe in our country.
They value our democracy.
Just like my great-grandparents did when they, too, came to this country.
And — perhaps — just like you or your ancestors did, too.
When one of our community members registers to vote, we celebrate. It is a sacred ritual and we are right there next to them to say AMEN.
Senators: as you evaluate this nominee for our country’s highest court, I ask you —
Are you prepared to ensure that the right to vote remains a right?
Are you prepared to honor the efforts and dreams of the American people?
Are you prepared to build more democracy, and not less?
I ask you. My community and I — we await your answer.
To watch the whole press conference including the speeches given by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders, Reverend Dr. William Barber III, and the other clergy members in attendance please click here.