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 2016 were: Income Inequality, Move to Amend, Voting Rights, Ballot legislation. 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.
g. The first Saturday we show a movie at 1 pm followed by discussion about a social justice issue. Click on Activities/1st Saturday Movies for the ones to be shown.
h. Each month we learn about local charities and collect items. A “Wish List” is circulated for the items needed by that particular charity.
1. MUUF supports Move to Amend. Corporations are not People and Money is not Speech. MUUF was the first UU congregation to put a resolution on the Move to Amend website..
2. MUUF supports the Restoration of the Right to Vote for ex-felons in Florida. We collected signatures for the successful placement on the ballot of November 2018. We join other Florida UUs, LWV, ACLU and others in advocating passage of Amendment 4.
3. MUUF supports the Charter resolution for Manatee County.
4. MUUF supports OCCUPY-Bradenton.
5. MUUF supports Indivisible-Progressives in Bradenton.
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 mentor 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.
ManaSota-88 has spent over 30 years fighting to protect our environment. It is a 501.c3 non-profit organization, incorporated in the State of Florida. We are dedicated to protecting the public’s health and preservation of the environment. Created in 1968, ManaSota-88 evolved from a major environmental health study sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service, Florida State University, the University of Florida and the Sarasota and Manatee County Commissions. Our commitment to safeguard the air, land and water quality is aggressive and uncompromising. Speakers from Manasota-88 are frequent presenters on Sunday morning and Share A Dish programs. Their spokespeople are dependable presenters at County Commissioner hearings where we applaud their efforts. .http://www.manasota 88.org
Social Justice November 2018
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is the group that manages partnerships with local groups in the US and throughout the world working to promote justice and helping during disasters.
Once a year at the Guest at Your Table service in November, we share news about the work of UUSC and encourage MUUF members to support it by becoming members for $40. per year.
About 30% of our membership are also members of UUSC. This year our service on Nov.25 will focus on projects to assist immigrants. Chris McCormack will lead the service and guests from Project Light Adult English Classes will assist her.
LETTERS OF SUPPORT NEEDED
For years MUUF has been involved with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers as they strive to achieve better working conditions, housing, safety, fair wages, and justice for farm workers. We recently learned of another opportunity to help this community. There is a doctor working to open a 25-bed rural hospital in the area who is being thwarted by a lawsuit. He needs letters from each of us willing to support his effort. Briefly, here is the story:
Dr. Beau Braden and his family moved to Ave Maria, a planned community, near Immokalee in 2014. He specializes in emergency medicine and in April 2018 he filed an application to open a 25-bed rural hospital in the Immokalee area, 40 miles inland from the nearest hospital in Naples, FL. This rural stretch of Collier County with tomato farms and fast-growing exurbs has fewer hospital beds than Afghanistan. In addition to his desire to build the hospital Dr. Braden has spent years and about $400,000 from his family trust on lawyers, consultants and filing fees for a 2,000-page application seeking the critical state approval called a certificate of need. He has letters of support from the fire department, county commissioners, local businesses, developers and nonprofit health
The Florida regulators agreed that due to the long distances people had to drive and the increasingly dire health situation for children, the community is in need of the hospital. In June approval was granted. But also, in June 2018 Naples Community Hospital, also known as NCH Health Systems, filed a 50-page opposition statement challenging the decision claiming the small, rural hospital would siphon away patients and revenue and asking the state to rescind its important first approval. Dr. Braden has said it is just horribly mean. The move has upended people’s hopes around Immokalee and has delayed any plans to start building the hospital for months.
The case has been assigned to an Administrative Law Judge who has set it for a hearing in February 2019. To help fight the legal battle and stand with the people of Immokalee (95% of whom are Latino or Black including a large Haitian community and where the poverty rate is about 45%), and the people of Ave Maria and Eastern Collier County, please write to one of the following and ask that they stop the lawsuit.
Allen S. Weiss, MD, President and CEO of Naples Community Hospital; Kevin D. Cooper, JD, Chief of Staff of Naples Community Hospital; or the Naples Community Hospital Officers and Trustees 350 7th St. N Naples, FL 34102. https://bradenhospital.com/nchlawsuit.
To help even more, spread the word to others who would be supportive and write letters.
Finally, please consider contributing to the legal and building fund.
Wish List Program
November. The Social Justice Committee is in its third month of a call to action with Wish List Giving. In November we are collecting for a SafePlace2B, a Family Resources youth shelter here in Bradenton. Family Resources’ mission is guided by their vision that every child should be safe, that every troubled teen deserves help and that every family torn apart in crisis be given the opportunity to mend. SafePlace2B shelters serve youth ages 10 to 17. Shelter and counseling services are available to youth regardless of gender, orientation, and walk of life. While at SafePlace2B, youth are provided with individual and group counseling, life skills, education and recreational activities. Over the course of a few days to a few weeks, most youth are reunited with their families and both have a new outlook on conflict and a new plan to avoid problems that lead to runaway or acting-out behaviors. SafePlace2B services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in three locations: Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Bradenton. The items we will be collecting cover a wide range of categories – clothing, hygiene, housewares, personal, meals, crafts and recreation – that are needed by the youth shelter. Shopping lists on the red bin will give you all the details. Take one and use it for collecting or buying the items you choose. At the end of the month the items will be delivered to SafePlace2B. Please bag your items and put them in the red bin in the Social Room marked Wish List Giving. Remember — The sole purpose of our “inkind” (which means no money) giving program is to collect items to match specific needs of a local organization.
Remember — The sole purpose of our “in-kind” (which means no money) giving program is to collect items to match specific needs of a local organization. If you want to make a monetary donation, please send it directly to the local organization.
Let’s join together in this compassionate in-kind giving action!
October: During October we are collecting Food for F.E.L.T. (Feeding Empty Little Tummies). F.E.L.T. is a local non-profit charity dedicated to feeding Manatee County’s most needy — homeless students – one backpack at a time! There are children in Manatee County who rely on free and reduced-price school breakfast and lunch. The F.E.L.T. backpack program is designed to meet the nutritional needs of Manatee County’s homeless school children during the weekends. The type of food items we will be collecting are nonperishable, individual serving containers with tab tops and NO GLASS! Shopping lists on the red bin will give you all the details. Take one and use it for buying all or a portion of the food items. At the end of the month the food will be delivered to F.E.L.T. Please bag your food items and put them in the red bin in the Social Room marked “Wish List Giving.”
September: At our August Social Justice Committee meeting, we decided to call our membership to action on a monthly basis to support the needs in our local community. We will collect and give in-kind items to match the specific needs of local organizations that provide compassionate care and services to people caught up in life’s struggles. Our new in-kind giving action will be called the “Wish List”!
For September, we will be providing support for HOPE Family Services; they offer domestic violence outreach services for families and their dependents. We will be collecting school supplies for families with children who arrive at the HOPE shelter with literally NOTHING! So, the need for school supplies for school age children always exists.
The in-kind items listed on our Wish List can either be purchased new or you may donate gently used items that you have on-hand at home. There is a bin marked Wish List at the back of the sanctuary to hold the in-kind items collected. There are also copies of the Wish List shopping list on the bin. Take one or use the one in your Sunday bulletin to use it for collecting all or a portion of the in-kind items. At the end of the month the items will be delivered to HOPE Family Services
On October 15th, members of the Social Justice Committee delivered its first Wish List Giving collection of approximately 60 pounds of school supplies to HOPE Family Services that our Fellowship collected during the month of September. Thanks to all who donated.
The timing of our delivery couldn’t have been better, because October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month! We met with Laurel Lynch, HOPE Chief Executive Officer (CEO,) and other staff members to get a closeup and private tour of their office and shelter facilities. HOPE Family Services is Manatee County’s state certified domestic violence service provider. HOPE offers all services confidentially, free of charge, and without regard to race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political belief. The work they do is impressive and requires a special professional expertise to provide a myriad of services that include: 24 Hour Helpline, Emergency Safe Shelter, Advocacy Programs, Counseling, Children’s Programs and Prevention Programs. Their services are designed to further their mission of promoting safety, strength and well-being for those affected by domestic violence.
Have You Checked Your Civil Liberties Lately?
For the MUUF Sept. 16, 2018 special collection our Social Justice Committee has chosen the Sarasota-Manatee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.) During a time when protection of our individual rights as stated in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights are being attacked on multiple levels, we are pleased to welcome two special guests: Attorney and staff member Michelle Morton who is the ACLU-FL State Policy Coordinator for Juvenile Justice, and Patrick McLain a member of the local ACLU Board who worked for years as an attorney in Washington and is currently involved with our chapter’s efforts to reach out to educate students/young people about their rights. We urge you to come and hear news about their work and also have an opportunity to make a special donation to support this effort.
Since the national ACLU was created in January 1920 during the first Red Scare, it has worked tirelessly to guard against assaults on our basic liberties.
To quote the current national executive director, Anthony Romero, “If there is one thing the ACLU can thank the 2016 election results for, it is the birth of what may be a golden age of citizen activism, the likes of which I have not seen in my adult life.” Nationwide membership jumped from 450,500 to 1.84 million and donations skyrocketed from $5 million to $86 million.
To be clear the ACLU remains fiercely nonpartisan and does not support or oppose candidates. But it has changed its motto to “We The People” which is significant reframing. Instead of being thought of as “We the lawyers who are defending rights,” it is now “We the people who are fighting for our rights.”
The ACLU of Florida is a leading partner in the effort to make sure the “Say Yes to Second Chances” campaign succeeds. During the last presidential election nearly 1.6 million people in FL were barred from voting. With a $5 million commitment the ACLU sees restoring the rights of Floridians with felony convictions as crucial work on behalf of people who have historically been denied their rights. “When we talk about democracy, we talk about giving everyone the opportunity to be heard—that’s something the ACLU has been championing forever.”
Check the bulletin board in the Social Hall at MUUF for more information on Amendment 4.
Two UUA Grants to Get Out The Vote are in process:
One grant will be to develop two brochures for NAACP neighborhoods: the first brochure will feature Primary Election registration and voting, the second will feature General Election registration and voting with information on the 13 Constitutional Amendments. Members of the Social Justice Committee with representatives of Black organizations met to develop the brochures and distribution plan to voters.
The second grant will be directed to Hispanic citizens and students by giving registration and voting information through the Manatee Technical College radio station in English and Spanish. MUUF members will develop the announcements and MUUF members will record the announcements. UnidosNow, a Hispanic advocacy organization will manage the broadcasts.