AJC is the premiere global advocacy organization that promotes a strong Jewish future and democratic values worldwide. From its founding in 1906, when AJC lead the movement to help Russian Jewish refugees enter the United States, AJC has been a strong voice in support of fair and generous treatment of immigrants, participating actively in the major immigration debates of our time. Our commitment to comprehensive immigration reform is not only about the Jewish community, but about what we see as in the best interests of our country overall.
In 2009, AJC New Jersey received funding from the Ford Foundation through a grant secured by AJC National. These funds were used to reach out to Latino leaders and other State stakeholders in an effort to build a broad coalition of support for comprehensive immigration reform.
Over the next two years, AJC New Jersey held six seminars which were attended by more than thirty stakeholders in the community. Latino leaders, general educators, business persons and law enforcement professionals studied and worked on immigration issues and created a statement of principles on both state-wide and federal immigration reform in May, 2011. Since then, a broad consensus of stakeholders have signed onto this statement including such prominent leaders as: Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, and Upendra Chivukula, New Jersey State Assemblyman.
AJC New Jersey has continued to offer educational programs to our members and to the public to educate regarding the need for fair immigration reform. We have held workshops for Latino leaders on grassroots lobbying and we have hosted community-wide forums and panel presentations. We have coordinated our efforts with the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network. We have also nominated 3 New Jersey Immigration leaders to participate in Project Interchange trips to Israel.
In 2013, a bipartisan effort in support of comprehensive immigration reform was launched in the Senate by the "Gang of Eight." AJC New Jersey leveraged its previous immigration advocacy relationships to create an initiative to bring new voices to the table on behalf of this legislation. AJC New Jersey, under the umbrella of the Bridging America Project, hosted a forum in April which made the economic case for comprehensive immigration reform. Working with new community partners, including: the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and the New Jersey Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, The Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Einstein's Alley and the Main Street Alliance, the conference brought over 60 New Jersey's industry and business leaders together to discuss how we can help shape immigration legislation so that it benefits our economy, creates jobs and enhances New Jersey and American business competitiveness.
This event led to the creation of a larger coalition of business, advocacy and intergroup organizations advocating together on behalf of CIR with our State senators and members of the house of representatives. This group has had over a dozen media hits, has made 2 dozen advocacy visits, has co-hosted round tables and press conferences and launched the first annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards which was held on November 20, 2013. The second annual New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards was held on December 9, 2014.
AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.