Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties


Democracy Initiative

Past Events

2020 Series

Exposed by Covid 19: Our Divided National Identity

May 17, 2020


A Conversation with Assemblymember Marc Berman

July 1, 2020


Race, Democracy, and Leadership in the Summer of 2020

August 18, 2020


2019 Series

District Attorney Candidate Forum

Sept 10, 2019

JCRC and a coalition of community and interfaith partners hosted this forum to hear perspectives from candidates Chesa Boudin, Nancy Tung, Leif Dautch and Suzy Loftus on hate crimes, homelessness, gun violence prevention, racial justice and other criminal justice-related issues.

Watch the VIDEO

The Charlottesville Case: Opposing White Nationalism

Nov 13, 2019

Congregation Emanu-El hosted Integrity First for America (IFA), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to holding accountable those who threaten longstanding principles of our democracy. IFA is taking on the leadership of the white nationalist movement in a landmark court case to send a clear message that violent hate has no place in our country. The event was tagged, Do you want to do something about white nationalist violence?


2018 Series

Oct 14, 2018

A forum that includes seminars, sessions and opportunities for action with Speakers Ian Bassin, Protect Democracy Project; Kristen Cambell,; PACE (Philanthropy for Civic Engagement); Audrey Cooper; San Francisco Chronicle; Gloria Duffy, The Commonwealth Club; Mickey Edwards, The Aspen Institute; Shirley McGuire, University of San Francisco; Zachariah Oquenda, Common Cause; Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State; Marisa Lagos, KQED; Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, National Institute for Civil Discourse; Lindsay Morris, National Council of Jewish Women; Yascha Mounk, Harvard University; Kimberley D.C. Schroder, Resistance Labs; Wendy Weiser, Brennan Center for Justice, and Keynote Speaker Aziz Huq, assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and author of How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (2018)

Event Chairs: Leslie Katz, Greenberg Traurig; Kristin Olsen, Stanislaus County Supervisor and former Minority Leader at the California State Assembly; and Professor Dan Schnur, University of Southern California and UC Berkeley

Partners: Protect Democracy Project, University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, and The Commonwealth Club

Co-Sponsors: ACLU of Northern California, Brennan Center for Justice, KQED, Office of the Assessor-Recorder for the City & County of San Francisco, Recology, San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, San Francisco Human Rights Commission, San Francisco State University, ADL, Catholic Charities San Francisco, Congregation Emanu-El, Congregation Sherith Israel, J. The Jewish News of Northern California, JCCSF, JFCS, JFCS East Bay, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, Jewish Federation of the East Bay/The Jewish Community Foundation, Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, National Council of Jewish Women, Peninsula Jewish Community Center, San Francisco Interfaith Council, USF Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, and United Religions Initiative

Financial support provided by: Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Fox Rothschild LLP, Morrison & Foerster Foundation, Sideman & Bancroft LLP and Zander Family

Review the PROGRAM, watch the VIDEOS and view the PHOTOS

How to Save a Constitutional Democracy

Oct 15, 2018

Democracies are facing multiplying challenges—from structural changes to geopolitical shifts to cultural transformations. Though the United States remains one of the strongest democratic nations in the world, it is by no means immune to democratic backsliding. As the American public becomes more polarized on issues such as the freedom of press and U.S.–Russia relations, will our institutions hold? Do the systemic weaknesses revealed by recent pressures on the U.S. Constitution require fundamental change in how the Constitution is interpreted and implemented? How likely is it that our democracy could erode? And what can be done to mitigate the risk? Join noted constitutional scholar Aziz Huq in a lunchtime talk at The Commonwealth Club to explore these and other questions.

Watch the VIDEO

Voter Registration Drives

We engaged unregistered voters via text messaging with the help of exciting new software at five events around the Bay Area in September and October. Dozens of volunteers joined us for this non-partisan activity, designed to reach underrepresented Californians in counties with low registration rates.

Civic Connection

Relationship building is essential to a healthy democracy and JCRC Civic Connection has for years been the banner under which we've done this important work.