AJC ACCESS Overview
Direct beneficiaries per year: 5000
Geographic areas served: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC
ACCESS empowers young professionals to understand and act on critical contemporary issues and facilitates their development as leaders in and beyond the Jewish community. We reach out and facilitate meaningful interaction with diplomats, policy makers and young leaders of diverse religious and ethnic communities
ACCESS is positioning itself at the cutting edge between the establishment (AJC has represented the Jewish community in domestic and international halls of power for over a century) and the dynamic grassroots.
ACCESS engages the diplomatic community in major US cities and visiting opinion makers from around the world through formal meetings and informal gatherings to advocate for a better understanding of Israel and the Jewish community writ large. Programs such as our “Viewpoints on Israel” series provide ACCESS members with a serious and engaged forum to discuss the central issues and developments confronting Israel in its quest for peace. ACCESS members have represented our views at conferences and meetings in Argentina, Ethiopia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Qatar, Poland, Rwanda, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates, and a trip is planned to India in 2010.
BUILDING BRIDGES WITH OTHER ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS:
Whether by traveling annually to New Orleans to help rebuild human connections and infrastructure post-Katrina or engaging in community service projects and dialogue locally with the Urban League Young Professionals, Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, and our counterparts in the Indian-American and Latino communities: ACCESS believes in the importance of building bridges across ethnic and religious lines to broaden our understanding of each other and to make a concrete difference in our community. As representatives of the community, we also believe it is vital to be able to articulate a point of view that resonates with a knowledge of Jewish history and thought. WATCH for ACCESS NY first fundraiser/gala with Newark Mayor Cory Booker on Dec 8 (ajc.org/accessny).
PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD:
ACCESS sent a 25 member delegation from across the country to the April 2009 Durban Review Conference at the United Nations in Geneva to speak up for victims of human rights abuses in places like Sri Lanka, Iran, Rwanda and Darfur – victims whose plight is all too often crowded out by the grossly disproportionate attention paid to Israel by the UN Human Rights Council. ACCESS members conducted meetings with 15 country delegations and played a role in ensuring the anti-Semitic excesses of Durban I were not repeated. ACCESS has done programs on the Rwandan genocide and Darfur and on other areas of concern in the human rights arena. We are actively working on a program about online activists in closed regimes.
ADVOCATING FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE:
JREC (Jewish Response to the Energy Challenge, http://www.jrec-conference.org/ ) is an ACCESS-sponsored initiative to bring together the collective intelligence, dynamism and enthusiasm of the nation’s young Jewish professionals to advocate for an energy policy that protects the environment and ultimately ends our dependence on Mideast oil. The JREC conference on November 8 will be webcast via satellite to ACCESS chapters and partners nationwide as well as in Europe and Israel. ACCESS offices have worked on energy issues through direct service, legislative advocacy and more.
ACCESS is also proud to have formal partnerships with young Jewish communities around the world and works collaboratively with these groups through internet communications and knowledge sharing, and through joint trips and planning. (Partnerships with European Union of Jewish Students, Australasian Union of Jewish Students, South African Union of Jewish Students, Canadian Federation of Jewish Students.)