Social Justice Activities


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The Social Justice committee meets 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 or in activities of the Committee or by request, any member or friend of MUUF may become a member of the committee. For information, contact Bernita Franzel, Chair of Social Justice Committee.


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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 details of a previous month’s activities and previews of the coming month.

f. Once a month we co-sponsor an evening movie and discussion program with OCCUPY-Bradenton about an issue of local, national or international interest.


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In 2016-17 Legislative Session in Florida

  1. Move to Amend.

 Corporations are not People and Money is not Speech.  Move to Amend.     Please click here for more information

2. tba …

MUUF supports the

3.  tba…

MUUF opposes

Individual Rights


On going petitions for the next  Ballot: Restore the Right to VOTE for ex-felons.




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”

[/tab] [tab title=”ORGANIZATIONS We support”] A. We support Unitarian Universalist Association social justice groups:

sj_uuministryforearth UU Ministry of the Earth –

sj_uujusticeflUU Justice Florida –


sj_uusc UU Service Committee –


sj_standingonthesideoflove Standing on the Side of Love –
B: The committee arranges speakers from local 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.
sj_fchonline Coalition of The Homeless (PATH) –


sj_odb Our Daily Bread –


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.


sj_prismyouthPRISM –

We support Prism in the Annual Gay Pride event in March.

sj_ciw-onlineCoalition of Immokalee Workers –

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.

sj_plannedparenthood Planned Parenthood –

We support Planned Parenthood by participating in the volunteer activities and fund raising.

sj_tpmanatee Turning Points – Jobs for Vets –

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.

sj_churchwomen Church Women United by participating in the Crop walk –

MUUF members pledge money to the MUUF volunteer walkers in support of world hunger.


sj_sarasotapeacenterSouthwest Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice –


sj_manateenaacp NAACP, especially for voting rights –

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.

sj_lwvmanateeLeague of Women Voters with issues of conservation and voting rights –


sj_unidosnow Unidos Now in support of Immigration Reform and Latino affairs –

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 –  Our Social Justice Committee meets twice a month with OCCUPY on issues national an international.

sj_350 garden

We suport and participate in annual Climate Change activities sponsored by


Manasota 88

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Social Justice Committee at a Juncture….July 2017
Joan Butcher

Unitarian Universalists are known throughout the United States for being out front on social justice issues. For decades, and long before it was commonly understood to be part and parcel of the work of people of faith, UUs have marched, picketed, protested, signed petitions, escorted, given sanctuary, stood up to and shone a light on injustice wherever we found it. We still do and the needs keep coming. So, it is with a sense of dismay that the MUUF Social Justice Committee finds itself at a serious juncture: we need more committee members.

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Several years ago, after a long term of service, Al Usack stepped down as committee chair. Over the last three years Bernita Franzel has been our leader. Both did an excellent job and still care deeply about our causes. Al and Bernita will remain on the committee. Bernita will be concentrating on the MUUF website. So, the Social Justice Committee is once again in need.

At the June 4, 2017 meeting, current co-chairs Bernita Franzel and AJ Wolff outlined a new leadership suggestion in which there would be a division of responsibility among three people rather than a single chair. One person would be responsible for setting up and leading the monthly meeting. A second person would do the minutes and a third person would provide the monthly article about Social Justice for the MUUF Update. The responsibilities would be rotated monthly through volunteering at the previous meeting. The person handling the meeting itself would be the contact person until that meeting took place. This is an experiment and might be a long term or short term solution. But at this juncture we are seeking more people willing to do one of these three jobs several times a year.

Are social justice issues vital to your vision of Unitarian Universalism? Are they part of what brought you to MUUF; what keeps you attending services, meetings and other activities? It is sometimes suggested that if no one steps forward the activity in need should just be dropped. I can’t imagine that fate for something as critical to our Social Justice efforts. Can you?

To show you care please attend our only summer meeting at noon on July 2, 2017. Come see how our experiment is working and learn about our future. There will be no meeting in August. If you can’t attend July 2nd please contact Al Usack who is chairing the meeting. As Al reminds us: all members and friends of the Fellowship are welcome to attend.

Hope to see you there.

Social Justice Committee June 2017
AJ Wolff, Acting Chair

“My Peace message is this, the way of peace, overcome evil with good and falsehood with truth and hatred with love”-Peace Pilgrim
Let me tell you about a very remarkable woman who dedicated her life to “peace” in a very special way.  You may have heard of her, Peace Pilgrim. This is the name she gave herself when she started out on her pilgrimage for peace. In 1952 she became the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one season. That was her training she said, for what she was going to embark on for the rest of her life a pilgrimage of

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walking for Peace.  She started her pilgrimage walking in the Pasadena Rose Parade wearing her new Peace Pilgrim tunic on January 1, 1953 and walked across the United States for the next 28 years talking to people and the press about peace. Peace Pilgrim crossed the U.S. more than 20 times, she quit counting the miles after 13 years and 25,000 miles walked.

“One little person giving all her time for peace makes news. Many people giving little bits of their time for peace make history,” she claimed.  The late poet and author Maya Angelou said, “Every age provides us with a pilgrim. Peace Pilgrim knew this. … To have faith, and then to step out on that faith … it’s amazing, it’s wonderful, it’s inspiring, it’s enheartening.”

I wonder if Peace Pilgrim aka Mildred Lisette Norman would be pleased that on May 7, 2017 she was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame as a local hero. I think not, she always said it was the message not the massager that was important to her. In interviews and lectures she refused to answer personal questions about who she was before she started her pilgrimage insisting that was unimportant. Yet so often we do like to have heroes and want to know all the details about how they got to where they stepped out and became extraordinary. What I know from reading her memoir and watching the documentary is that she lived her beliefs with joy and conviction. She brought awareness to people about bringing peace in the world though living peacefully. I hope you take an hour to watch this extraordinary woman sharing her message of peace. Sadly, her message is needed today as much as it was the day she set out on her pilgrimage in 1952.

“Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words” and,” An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk” 1 hour, “This is a powerful documentary about an extraordinary woman. At age 44, Mildred Norman left her life circumstances and became Peace Pilgrim — walking coast to coast” … YouTube link below:

“Peace Pilgrim Her Life and Work in Her Own Words”, the book was compiled from news articles, letters and records of her public speaking. In 2002, there was a wonderful hour long documentary showing clips of her walking on the quiet country back roads, talking to groups and the press, mixed  with world news clips of the bombs being dropped by the U.S. at the time. There is much wisdom and hope to be gained from knowing about her and the life she chose for Peace.

The Dalai Lama said of her, “Her commitment to propagate peace through actions, the peace walk, without seeking money or fame, is wonderful. We need such determined people everywhere, irrespective of culture, race religion. … Peace Pilgrim is a real peacemaker.”

The Peace Pilgrim inspired others: Doris “Granny D” Haddock was an American political activist from New Hampshire. Haddock achieved national fame when, between the ages of 88 and 90, starting on January 1, 1999, and culminating on February 29, 2000, she walked over 3,200 miles across the continental United States to advocate for campaign finance reform.

Granny D inspired our local Rhana Bazzini who, at age 81, walked from Sarasota to Tallahassee in support of Move to Amend from Oct. to Dec. 2014. MUUF hosted a dinner for her, as did many UUs on her way.

May 2017

  I was asked to write the MUUF Social Justice article this month. In April the Social Justice Committee did not meet. So, instead of writing about what members of the committee have been doing out in our community, I would like to talk about the theory of social justice as I see it. Why do it? At this time in our country’s history we are in challenging times that feel almost paralyzing. There are so many causes and pressing matters, it can feel overwhelming.

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The UUA website is a wonderful resource on ways that we can get involved and what actions our UUA supports.
I would like to take a moment to share with you an old story that has serviced me well for years in regards to doing social justice work. I learned about this theory called the “100th Monkey Effect” in the 1980’s and it made sense to me. It has given me a frame of reference to act as a touchstone against hopelessness and to remind me of the importance of continuing the struggle for a Just World. There has been much written over the years on whether this is a true story or a myth.  The basic concept is a sound one that change can and will happen when enough of us believe and work toward a goal. This story gave me a kind of optimism to carry on that we as a people of faith can change the culture by “Standing on the Side of Love”.
100th Monkey Effect
The Hundredth Monkey Effect is the spontaneous transference of knowledge throughout a species once a certain number of individuals has learned a new idea or action. It bypasses physical barriers. A mind-to-mind jump. A leap in consciousness.
This idea came from Dr Watson, who wrote about studies of Japanese monkeys in his book Lifetide (1979). Later it was used as a parable in Ken Keyes Jr’s book Hundredth Monkey.
Japanese scientists observed the macaca fuscata over a span of 30 years. In 1952 a young monkey called Imo who solved the problem of dirty raw potatoes by washing them in a nearby stream. This new trick was passed along to her mother and playmates and then their mothers, and so on until most of the troop has learned to do the same. Members of troops on other islands also exhibited the same behavior.

AJ will be acting social justice chair for May and June. Bernita will retire as chair June 30 and be concentrating on the MUUF website.  Al Usack will be interim chair in July.

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