The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Mini-Grants Recap: Becoming a Part of a National Political Advocacy Movement

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Asher speaks at the student session of the
J Street National Conference.

This opportunity was funded by the Rockefeller Mini-Grants Program. For more information, please click here.

This past September, I had the privilege of attending the J Street National Conference. There, I had the opportunity to engage in deep and substantive discussions about US foreign policy in the Middle East. But for me, what was even more exciting was the opportunity to lobby Members of Congress to support Secretary Kerry’s efforts to help the Israelis and Palestinians reach a two-state solution. That provided me a forum to put my values into action in the political realm.

Being surrounded by thousands of other activists – including nearly a thousand students – showed me what it really means to be part of a national movement that uses a community organizing model to create concrete political change. It’s heartening to see 900 students from all of J Street U’s 55 chapters doing the organizing work that I found so meaningful and effective at Dartmouth. That cemented in my mind that we’re stronger collectively than as individuals; relatedly, our talents are best spent developing the capacity of others to act on their values.

I find these experiences to be particularly important as a student here. I often feel disconnected from the larger issues facing our country and the world, and being able to participate in this conference enabled me to delve deeply into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics around Israel in Washington DC. My hope is that I can take these experiences and bring them back to campus, showing other students a means to concrete political change. 

--Asher Mayerson '15, Guest Writer and member of J Street U's National Board

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