Minutes ago, an historic and hard-fought presidential election was called, and I am writing today to share my reflections on the results to share my reflections on the results of the U.S. presidential election as it relates to our shared global mission to advance human rights and end poverty.
For 35 years, we have worked together as globally-minded American Jews to build a better world, and we have learned that U.S. elections have a powerful impact on the communities we support worldwide. In 2020, the results of this election provide AJWS and our grantee partners with tremendous reason for hope. This is an opportunity to pivot from doing all we could to mitigate damage caused by the current U.S. administration, to the possibility of creating positive change with a new administration for communities we care about.
Over the past four years, we witnessed an administration that acted on the global stage with complete disregard for the people in the world who need their human rights upheld the most—people living in poverty; racial, ethnic and religious minorities; indigenous communities; women and girls; and LGBTQI+ communities.
With a new administration slated to take office in January that has stated its intention to play a leadership role on global issues, we commit to:
- Supporting efforts to reestablish the U.S. as a leader on human rights by repairing the damage done to global human rights agreements, courts and institutions; rebuilding the professionalism of the U.S. State Department; re-joining the global fight against climate change; and repealing draconian global policies limiting reproductive rights, including access to safe abortion.
- Supporting the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that those who are disproportionately neglected get the support they need.
- Redoubling our efforts with you and other supporters, including our network of global justice minded American rabbis and cantors, to call on our nation’s leadership to stand up against authoritarian leaders and support democratic rights.
- Building on our strong partnership between our global grantees and the professional advocates in our office in Washington, D.C. Together, they will bring the powerful voices of the communities we support in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to the halls of power, to shape humane and effective U.S. laws and policies.
Inspired by the lessons of Jewish history and the eternal Jewish value of respecting the dignity of every person, we believe that the test of whether any society is just is when the most marginalized communities believe that they are experiencing justice. That’s the high bar we have set for human rights worldwide and for our own country’s efforts to support them.
We look forward to working with you, alongside our global partners and other allies, to raise the bar for our country and countries worldwide. That’s our work together, and we are fully committed to bringing the world closer to realizing our vision for justice.
P.S. Please know that along with other Jewish and civic organizations, we are continuing to call for counting every vote that was cast in every state. We expect nothing less in any democracy.
Robert Bank is President and CEO of American Jewish World Service, the leading Jewish organization working to promote human rights in the developing world. Robert has spent his career championing human rights as an attorney, activist and leader. He joined AJWS as Executive Vice President in 2009 and previously served in New York’s municipal government and in the leadership of GMHC—one of the world’s leading organizations combatting HIV/AIDS. Robert has been honored with GMHC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Partners in Justice Award from AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps.