Civil Rights Group


Notes from 2/18/19

Members: Beth Ross, Marc Tannenbaum

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Civil Rights Group within the Social Justice movement of Temple Beth-El is to provide advocacy for current civil rights topics in a non-partisan way.  The group will facilitate contact with existing civil rights organizations within the San Antonio and wider Texas community. We will raise awareness within our temple community, provide a platform for discussion and education, and to advocate for member participation regarding topics that not only impact the Jewish community, but the larger community of which we are part.


Given the broad nature of the civil rights topic area and the overlap with other groups pursuing social justice topics, our small group will focus on making contacts with representatives in our community in order:

  • Raise social justice awareness with the temple community
  • Establish resource links with local advocacy groups who require people to support operations, communications, and direct actions such as outreach to the community, politicians and other advocacy groups


  • Coordinate with other Temple Beth-El social action groups
  • Contact local advocacy groups to initiate a line of communication and increase community awareness of our presence
  • Plan for a discussion panel to educate other Social Justice participants and the broader temple community about key topics for 2019
  • Include other temples and synagogue groups as appropriate


  • Marc and Beth
  • Temple meeting facility
  • Temple staff
  • Budget/Cost factors, if any (To Be Determined)
  • Outside groups identified as potential “partners” include:
    • Texas Legal Aid
    • Human Rights Campaign, S.A.
    • Fair Housing Program, S.A.
    • Disabled Rights Texas
    • NAACP, S.A.
    • LULAC, S.A.
    • LaRaza, S.A.
    • Mexican American Legal Defense, S.A.
    • Texas Health and Human Services Commission
    • Human Rights Council, TX
    • Texas Civil Rights Project
    • Texas Workforce Commission – Civil Rights & Discrimination
    • ACLU, TX
    • Human Rights Council, TX
    • Texas Legislative Council


  • Near term: make contact with NAACP as they appear to be very active in San Antonio with current information posted on their web site
  • Long term: hammer out idea of panel discussion at temple involving 3 or 4 civil rights groups discussing selected topics followed by Q and A.


  • Lack of strategic plan and coordination between Social Justice groups leads to duplicate effort, overlapping communications with advocacy groups, and no clear plan of advancement
  • Lack of critical mass for the support of the Civil Rights topic (team of only two members)
  • Unresponsive and unenthused response from state and local advocacy groups
  • Unresponsive or unenthused response from temple membership
  • Activities require funding (there is no budget estimate at this time)

Risk mitigation:

  • Recommend that someone (or small group) act as the gatekeeper for communications to prevent overlapping and possibly confusing communications between Temple Beth-El Social Justice teams and outside advocacy groups, to include the designation of a single point of contact for communication with specific advocacy groups
  • Identify additional resources for the Civil Rights team, or roll the Civil Rights topic area into a related team to narrow the scope of interest
  • Use internal business and political contacts known to the temple community to help open the door to initial communications
  • Publicize the effort of the teams and make the activities more visible through highlights in the newsletter, religious services, youth communications, and participation of advocacy groups during holiday celebrations (e.g., booth set up at festivities like Purim)

Budget for unforeseen expenses related to Social Justice activities as teams define their scope and goals; manage exposure to budget overrun by combining similar/related advocacy activities