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 supported the Restoration of the Right to Vote for ex-felons in Florida. We will now process the voter registration of those redeemed.
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 support 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
5. ACTION -Rural Hospital
LETTERS OF SUPPORT NEEDED for RURAL HOSPITAL serving Immokalee, FL
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.
6. ACTION Wish List Program-Turning Points
Wish List Program
What is Turning Points? Help & Hope for Those in Need As a new member I wondered why MUUF has Turning Points as one of the charities we give to. Here is what I learned about them from their website and visiting them. They are very welcoming and friendly with services to meet all the needs for the homeless or at risk to becoming homeless. Many of our MUUF members volunteer there from dental hygienist to bike repair. Once a month MUUF serves meals at their soup kitchen, Our Daily Bread, where I have had the privilege of volunteering a few times. It is a very humbling and rewarding thing to do. There is a sign up poster for volunteering on the bulletin board. This month we will have a Holiday Wish Tree for Turning Points and the Special Collection.
Turning Points provides a remarkable variety of free services designed to assist individuals and families on their path to financial stability and independence. They are the one stop shop for preventing and ending homelessness in our community. They provide day resource services (such as hot showers, laundry services, clothing and food), employment services, rental and utility assistance, veteran’s services (employment, housing and childcare), and free medical and dental care for the uninsured and underinsured. Over 10,000 people received help last year with critical services targeted to the essential needs of people in crisis.
Info From their website: “Turning Points provides a remarkable variety of free services designed to assist individuals and families on their path to financial stability and independence. Turning Points is the one stop shop for preventing and ending homelessness in our community. We provide day resource services (such as hot showers, laundry services, clothing, food), employment services, rental and utility assistance, veteran’s services (employment, housing and childcare), and free medical and dental care for the uninsured and underinsured. Over 10,000 people received help last year with critical services targeted to the essential needs of people in crisis. Turning Points can only provide this high standard of service because of our caring, compassionate volunteers and strong community support. Our Mission: To Provide, Coordinate, and Facilitate services to men, women and children who are homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Manatee County, Florida.”Website: http://tpmanatee.org/ for more info.
December The Wish List program is a holiday Wish Tree for Turning Points. We are collecting gifts for children for us to deliver before Christmas, our collection deadline is Sunday, December 16th! A shopping list of children’s gifts is written on the back of each Peace Dove card hanging on the Wish Tree. Take one or more of the cards and use them to shop. Please bag your unwrapped gifts with your Peace Dove cards and put them in the holiday bags under the Wish Tree. Our collection deadline is Sunday, December 16th!
November. We collected a multitude of times for SafePlace2B, Family Resources youth shelter.
October: During October we are collected Food for F.E.L.T. (Feeding Empty Little Tummies).
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 provided help for HOPE Family Services;
7. ACTION Get Out The Vote Grants
Two UUA Grants to Get Out The Vote are completed with report soon to appear here:
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.
8. ACTION Juliana vs the US
Report coming soon.