The Social Justice committee meets at noon after the Sunday service on the first Sunday of each month. Occasionally when a special event is held at that time, the meeting is held the following Sunday. All meetings are open to MUUF members and guests. Notifications of meetings, agendas, and minutes may be emailed upon request. Through regular participation in the meetings, in activities of the Committee or by request, any member or friend of MUUF may become a member of the committee.
a. Once a month we address the injustices in our local community by inviting leaders of local charities to tell us about their work. These speakers discuss their program, services and needs on Sunday either by presenting the main address or presenting a thumbnail description of their program. On these Sundays a special collection is taken for that local charity.
b. Frequently the social justice committee will sponsor a program for the monthly Share-A-Dish meals which are held the second Friday evening of each month. These programs educate and inform about timely topics.
c. Each quarter a member writes a thorough paper about an issue chosen in the Social Justice meeting. These Issues of the Quarter are distributed to members and friends and are on the website under ISSUES. Issues in 2015 were: Water, Decreasing Carbon Use, Black Lives Matter/Mass Incarceration, Inequality.
d. The Social Justice Bulletin Board helps to inform our members about what the committee is doing, and has information about issues.
e. The monthly newsletter, UPDATE, gives commentaries about current issues.
f. During October to May once a month we co-sponsor an evening movie and discussion program with OCCUPY-Bradenton about an issue of local, national or international interest
1. MUUF supports Move to Amend. Corporations are not People and Money is not Speech. We support House Joint Resolution 48 (HJR48) with 44 co-sponsors as of August 2017. We support Senate Joint Resolution #? with 5 co-sponsors.
2. MUUF supports the Restoration of the Right to Vote for ex-felons in Florida and collects signatures. 600,000 signatures are needed by December 31, 2017. We join other Florida UUs, LWV, ACLU and others in collecting signatures.
3. MUUF supports the Charter resolution for Manatee County.
Pictures are from Move to Amend demonstration at Rt 41 at Bahia Vista in Sarasota with Occupy and UUs from Manatee, Sarasota and Venice observing the 5th anniversary of “Citizens United”
MUUF PARTNERS with many organizations for improving social justice.
A. We support Unitarian Universalist Association social justice groups:
UU Ministry of the Earth – uuministryforearth.org
UU Justice Florida – uujusticefl.org
UU Service Committee – uusc.org
Standing on the Side of Love – standingonthesideoflove.org
B: The committee arranges speakers from LOCAL AND NATIONAL charitable groups which work directly with people in difficult circumstances. We take a collection to support their work. The committee feels it is important to support various groups which may be overlooked by faith-based donations. We want to support organizations that promote our liberal faith-traditions.
Coalition of The Homeless (PATH) – fchonline.org
Our Daily Bread – odb.org
Volunteers from MUUF serve lunch to Bradenton’s needy at Our Daily Bread, one of many programs at the One Stop Center at 900 17th Avenue West in Bradenton. Over 200 meals are served every day. The staff prepares meals accepting food donations from local grocery stores and monetary donations from churches, individuals and many organizations. Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has been contributing time for 16 years. Besides volunteering at lunch, we also have a special collection for Our Daily Bread each January.
PRISM – prismyouth.org
We support Prism in the Annual Gay Pride event in March.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers – ciw-online.org
We support the annual observances of the Immokalee Workers each March to earn Fair Pay and Fair Food Program for the workers at Immokalee and other areas of the United States.
Planned Parenthood – plannedparenthood.org
We support Planned Parenthood by participating in the volunteer activities and fund raising.
Turning Points – Jobs for Vets – tpmanatee.org
We support Turning Point programs by donating food, clothing; by volunteering, by applyng for grants for their support, such as the 2016 MLK Jr Day of Service grants for two job search computers and 4 dental program computers.
Church Women United by participating in the Crop walk – churchwomen.org
MUUF members pledge money to the MUUF volunteer walkers in support of world hunger.
Southwest Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice – sarasotapeacenter.org
NAACP, especially for voting rights – manateenaacp.org
Many MUUF members are also Members of NAACP and cooperate in chapter functions, with collecting petitions for restoring the right to vote for ex-felons, with support in police relationship programs on MLK Day.
League of Women Voters with issues of conservation and voting rights – lwvmanatee.org
Unidos Now in support of Immigration Reform and Latino affairs – unidosnow.org
Staff speakers and student leadership latinos present programs for our Share-A Dish events. We support efforts to register voters and securing volunteers for the High School-On to College education program.
OCCUPY – facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Manatee-County Our Social Justice Committee meets twice a month with OCCUPY on issues national an international.
We suport and participate in annual Climate Change activities sponsored by 350.org.
Social Justice August 2017
LET’S COME TOGETHER TO MAKE AN EVOLUTIONARY LEAP
As I read an essay from Naomi Klein’s new book “No Is Not Enough” in the July, 2017 issue of The Nation magazine, I found myself encouraged, challenged and inspired. With a copy of our UU Principles nearby, I urge each of us to read these excerpts (or her entire book) and respond with some socially just actions.
According to Ms. Klein the result of our most recent presidential election is not shocking. It is actually “the culmination, the logical end point—of a great many dangerous stories our culture has been telling for a very long time. That greed is good. That the market rules. That money is what matters in life. That white men are better than the rest. That the natural world is there for us to pillage. That the vulnerable deserve their fate, and the 1 percent deserve their golden towers. That anything public or commonly held is sinister and not worth protecting. That we are surrounded by danger and should only look after our own. That there is no alternative to any of this.”
If we view our current political leadership as “a mirror, held up not only to the United States but to the world…and we don’t like what we see—and throngs of us clearly don’t—then it is clear what we must do. A great many of us are working on understanding and overcoming our own latent biases and prejudices, the ones that have kept us divided in the past. This internal work is crucial as we come together in resistance and transformation.” Some things to scrutinize: “attention spans that are fractured into 140 characters, confusing followers with friends, seeing others doing similar work as rivals competing for scarce market share, joining a mob to shame or attack people with whom we disagree, sometimes using cruel personal slurs. To have a hope of changing the world, we’re going to have to be willing to change ourselves….Perhaps we need to: spend a few more hours a week in face to face relationships, or surrender some ego for the greater good of a project, or recognize the value of so much in life that cannot be bought or sold…that we are in a struggle that does not have a finish line in sight, and indeed, will require from us a lifetime of engagement.”
“What for decades was unsayable is now being said out loud by candidates who win millions of votes: free college tuition, double the minimum wage, 100 percent renewable energy as quickly as technology allows, demilitarize the police, prisons are no place for young people, refugees are welcome here, war makes us all less safe. And the crowds are roaring their agreement.
“In the United States, the number of people showing up to join political movements is swelling to levels beyond anything organizers say they have seen before.” Marches, meetings, town halls, assemblies are experiencing beyond-capacity participation. Something powerful is at work. Building this broad tent in a time of siloed politics is hard work, requiring a willingness to honestly confront painful histories before progress is possible. And yet in this moment that combines such fearsome stakes with such fertile potential, what choice do we have but to try—to leap at every new opportunity as it opens?
“The current capitalists control a very powerful part of the US government but they do not control everything. They do not control what universities and faith institutions and unions do. They do not control what we do as individuals and in groups around the world. What all of us do with our collective power matters now more than ever. We need to aim higher in our ambitions and accomplish more with our actions to prevent catastrophic climate change, create liberated cities for migrants and refugees, protect the rights of women and members of LGBTQ communities.
“For decades, elites have been using the power of shock to impose nightmares. They think they will be able to do it again and again. But crises do not always cause societies to regress and give up. There is always a second option: that faced with a grave common threat, we can choose to come together and make an evolutionary leap. We can surprise the hell out of ourselves by being united, focused and determined. By refusing to be afraid, no matter how much we are tested. Let’s choose the second option. Let’s leap.”