Earlier this year I spent a night in Albany with an organization called NFTY-NAR. NFTY is the reform Jewish youth movement in North America. NFTY-NAR is the New York Area Region of NFTY. As an organization it is teen powered and teen run and upholds the value of tikkun olam (repairing the world). As such, every year we run an event called Albany Advocacy Day, in which we spend a night learning about different social justice issues with relevant pending legislation. Then the next day we meet with state legislators about one issue we feel passionate about.
This year I chose to talk about economic inequality and the minimum wage. I encounter economic inequality every day when I walk past homeless people on the street. It is a tragedy and raising the minimum wage is a good first step to alleviating the situation. My group of 4 wrote a speech and presented it to Sen. Liz Kreuger, who is the senator from my district, and congressman Dan Squadron, who is the congressman from the district that includes Friends and parts of Brooklyn. Even though both already support raising the minimum wage it was a powerful experience to meet with the people that directly represent me in government.