Bay Area group lobbies in D.C. for women and girls

Eight delegates from the Bay Area traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to lobby their elected officials about the needs of women and girls around the world as part of the American Jewish World Service policy summit.

Bay Area AJWS delegates (top, from left) Melissa Ament, Rabbi Camille Angel, Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Alon Shalev and Ruthann Richter and (bottom, from left) Ellen Greenblatt, Danny Kaufman and Amy Draizen

The Bay Area representatives — including Rabbi Camille Angel of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco and Rabbi Marvin Goodman, executive director of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California — visited the offices of Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier and Jared Huffman to ask them to support the International Violence Against Women Act and other measures to help women, girls and LGBT people globally.

“It’s intolerable,” said Ruthann Richter, director of media relations at Stanford University and a policy summit participant. Last year she traveled to Uganda as an AJWS Global Justice Fellow. “We were told that women in Uganda were essentially treated like property. Sixty percent of women in Uganda have experienced domestic violence at some point of their lives.”

In addition to lobbying, attendees at the policy summit met human rights advocates and participated in sessions on digital advocacy, social change philanthropy and ending child marriage.

“Jews, historically, know what it’s like to be marginalized,” Richter said. “Therefore we have an obligation to stand up for others.” — drew himmelstein