Arno Rosenfeld#JustRecoveryDC


I oversaw communications for #JustRecoveryDC, a campaign launched by Jews United for Justice in spring 2020 to ensure that the DC Council passed a budget that centered racial and economic justice during the COVID-19 pandemic In this role, I executed a strategic communications plan, including a sustained email and social media program, as well as rapid response and press work on behalf of JUFJ and in collaboration with the other progressive organizations participating in the campaign.

Case study: Stopping last-minute cuts

The budgets proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson avoided severe cuts and the process was running relatively smoothly until mid-July. During what should have been a routine second reading of the budget, Chairman Mendelson abruptly moved to cut nearly $20 million in essential services and recessed the meeting for two days in order draft an ammendment to implement these cuts.

The problem: How to pressure Chairman Mendelson and a majority of Councilmembers to reject last-minute budget cuts.
The solution: A wrap-around rapid response targeting JUFJ’s base, the broader progressive coalition, and the press.
1. Immediately following the announcement of proposed cuts, I created two action alerts and sent a series of emails to the JUFJ base calling on them to email and Tweet at councilmembers. I also distributed these action alerts to the other progressive organizations in the #JustRecoveryDC coalition.

The initial email driving people to an action alert was sent before the DC Council meeting had concluded.
People who filled out a related Twitter action alert received a confirmation email asking them to call their councilmembers.

2. I downloaded video of the meeting and created a short clip highlighting Chairman Mendelson’s push for austerity. The video was widely circulated among #JustRecoveryDC coalition partners and drove traffic to the action alert.
3. I worked with our partner organizations and prominent community leaders to promote the action alerts, amplifyign their reach and causing #JustRecoveryDC to trend on Twitter.


4. While the cuts were clearly unacceptable to the progressive organizations involved, Chairman Mendelson and his allies claimed they were harmless. This created a narrative outside of Council chambers, and I helped successfully promote our narrative in the press.
The result: After significant pressure from the #JustRecoveryDC coalition, Chairman Mendelson walked back his proposed $18 milion in cuts and preserved most of the essential public services that he had initially placed on the chopping block.