Marin Organizing Committee members advocating for tenants' rights in 2019 /Courtesy Marin Organizing Committee
Marin Organizing Committee members advocating for tenants' rights in 2019 /Courtesy Marin Organizing Committee

Amid fires, Rodef Sholom pinch hits as host for Marin Organizing Committee’s 10-year celebration

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Despite smoke and power outages across the North Bay, a coalition of faith organizations and nonprofits celebrated 10 years of alliance and girded themselves for future activism on Oct. 27 when the Marin Organizing Committee marked its 10-year anniversary.

The committee includes three synagogues: Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon and Gan HaLev of the San Geronimo Valley.

Approximately 650 people showed up despite a change of venue less than 24 hours before the event, as the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael was needed as an emergency shelter for evacuees from the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.

“We moved [the event] to Rodef Sholom and rented porta-potties and all these things so we could do it,” said Gail Dorph, a Kol Shofar member on the MOC committee.

At the event, in front of a roomful of local residents, rabbis, priests and politicians, Rabbis Susan Leider of Kol Shofar and Stacy Friedman of Rodef Sholom spoke about learning and taking action.

The Marin Organizing Committee is part of the Bay Area Industrial Areas Foundation, a U.S.-wide organization.

MOC’s past decade of work has seen significant victories, such as the passage of a “just cause eviction” ordinance in Marin to protect tenants, and a policy change in San Rafael to stop impounding the cars of undocumented immigrants.

Members celebrated those actions, but also looked to the future by adopting new areas to pursue, including ensuring mental health care in schools, supporting Marin’s aging population, increasing affordable housing and continuing to work on improving tenant protections.

“What people can do if they band together is amazing,” Dorph said.