Books that range in subject from UUism to social justice to the environment to psychology to health to the economy, and etc. Reading a good book is like taking a journey. —Emma Guillford
1. about the Library
Carol Bartz is the MUUF Librarian. The late Peg Henderson was our original Librarian who organized and set up the books. Our Library books, tapes and CDs are easily accessible in our Social Hall, arranged by a modified Dewey Decimal system. We accept donations and at times have items for sale. Purchases are made from time to time, frequently from the UU book store. Reviews of books frequently appear in our monthly newsletter. A Swap Section is for members to trade books from their own collections. After a MUUF yard sale, MUUF delivered 94 books to the Manatee County Central Jail along with 54 books donated by the South Manatee Public Library
2. Checking out a book
2. A modified Dewey Decimal System locates a book and checking it out is an easy process.
The library at MUUF, located in the social room, has a selection of books about Unitarian Universalism as well as topics of special interest, i.e. philosophy, religion, environment, LBGTQ.
To check a book out use cards labelled “Borrower’s Cards” found on the table with the phone. Complete the card with date borrowed, your name and phone number, and the book’s title and author. Put the card in the spot marked “Cards for Borrowed Books” in the box on the table. There is no due date, but please return in a timely manner.
When you return the book, find the card you completed, mark the date you are returning it, and place the book on the table. It will then be ready to be re-shelved by someone on the library committee.
3. Recent donations and additions
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande,
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Reviewed on this website in the Issue Paper.
Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Lower Carbon Living compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists, reviewed on this website in an Issue Paper.
Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein
The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality by Joseph Chilton Pearce
The Third Reconstruction by Rev. William Barber. Reviewed below.
4. The Book Discussion Group
The Book Group meets on Monday afternoon. Click on Activities>Book Discussion Group for the reading lists.
5. Book and Magazine Article Reviews
The Winter 2017 Issue of UU World Magazine
reviewed by AJ Wolff
I would like to comment on the subject of a very lengthy article in the UU World magazine on activism within contemporary Unitarian Universalism. Six UU leaders reflect on activism and religious identity, beliefs and values.
The first question that is most often asked of me: Do you need to be an activist to be a Unitarian Universalist? I personally was drawn to being a UU because of my activism in high school living in a San Francisco suburb. There were antiwar protests in Berkeley, and I have been an activist ever since.
Here are the quotes from three of the UU leaders referenced in the article on the question, “Do you need to be an activist to be a Unitarian Universalist?” Click here for more
Takiyah Amin: If you embrace and believe in our Principles—dignity, justice, equity and compassion—you can’t sit idly by in the absence of those ideals in our society.
Paul Rasor: I find it disturbing that this question has even come up. There are many ways to express and live out the Principles and values we hold dear. Activism is certainly one of them. But not everyone has to take to the streets. We all have our gifts, and not everyone is suited to this kind of work, just as not everyone is suited to pastoral care or finance or religious education. And those who are drawn to activism (or to other roles) will often need times when they need to step back for quiet reflection and restoration. The last thing we need is a form of ideological or behavioral orthodoxy where those who are not called to activism feel judged or devalued. At the same time, I hope that those called to other roles could support our activists (as one expression of our values), and that the activists could equally support those who undertake other equally important tasks in our communities.
I hope you will take time to read the full article in UU World. I found it very interesting and worth my time. If you didn’t get a copy in the mail there are copies of UU World in the social room.Reading The Winter 2017 Issue of UU World Magazine
Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Lower Carbon Living. by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Nineteen Tips to Lower your Carbon Emissions. Compiled by Zada Merrill
1. Remove your name from Junk Mail lists. 2. Walk, ride bicycles, use buses and trains. 3. Keep your vehicles serviced regularly. 4. Keep tire pressure at optimum levels. click here for more5. Demand rapid transit trains from your representatives. 6. Demand solar roof panels for new construction from developers. 7. Use recycled water for gardens and golf courses. 8. Grow your own vegetables and herbs. 9. Use cloth bags for groceries. 10. Use compact fluorescent bulbs in your home, office and public buildings. 11. Buy energy star appliances. 12. Buy recycled paper for bath and facial tissue, invitations and all paper needs. 13. Recycle newspapers, telephone books, stationery, plastic containers, glass bottles. 14. Shop at your local fresh produce markets. Buy organic food products. 15. Use water sparingly; turn water off when brushing or shaving. “Shower with a friend.” 16. East less meat; increase your meatless meals by one or two a week. 17. Don't waste food; serve smaller portions. 18. Learn how to compost your waste vegetables. 19. Install composting toilets.
The Third Reconstruction by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Published by Beacon Press with Guide.
Reviewed by Bernita Franzel
Rev. Barber was a speaker at GA 2016. He became famous as the President of the North Carolina NAACP where he initiated Moral Mondays, non-violent vigils at the state house, which started with 17 and grew to 20,000. He says we have become comfortable with “an acceptable amount of injustice.” The “Southern Strategy” is to divide the poor between white and black citing entitlement programs.
The First Reconstruction was after the Civil War and Emancipation, 1865-1900, when progressive laws were enacted and many Black legislators were elected. But Southern white terrorism and Northern white indifference destroyed reconstruction. Denial of voting rights, separate but equal schools and Jim Crow laws were put into place.
In 1954 when Brown vs. Board of Education declared separate-but-equal was unconstitutional, the Second Reconstruction began. It included Affirmative Action, EEOC, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Selma campaign. But deconstruction laws were made to suppress voting, give education vouchers, curtail labor rights- all in religious, patriotic language. “Tough on Crime” laws resulted in mass incarceration of blacks. Supreme Court passed “Citizens United” and removed protection from voter suppression.
Rev. Barber feels the Third Reconstruction has begun. This Reconstruction is a “profoundly moral awakening of justice-loving people united in a fusion coalition powerful enough to reclaim the possibility of democracy—even in the face of corporate-financed extremism.” Fusion politics is the bringing together of diverse groups to address injustice to any and every one. Injustice to one is injustice to all. Evidence of reconstruction is his Moral Mondays Movement, Black Lives Matter, Hands-Up-Don’t Shoot, I Can’t Breathe, Raise Up, People Over Money, Move to Amend, and attention to women’s rights and Equality for GLBTQs.
Barber feels the Third Reconstruction should focus on four areas that are important to all people. Fusion politics will get results.
1- health via Medicaid and rural programs
2- public education- expose voucher system
3- beware “religious freedom” bills
4- establish voting rights to be same in every state.
He outlines fourteen steps to bring people together to accomplish the reconstruction.
To view his 3-minute talk at GA, click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLDkYPGgOSg
To view his 6-minute rousing talk at DNC in July 2016, click the link https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/28/the-rev-william-barber-dropped-the-mic/?utm_term=.56c5cbbd0b58
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Reviewed by Bernita Franzel
The main action position of the Black Lives Matter Movement is to replace or refine our current prison system. Michelle Alexander says that today we discriminate against criminals legally in all the ways that it was once illegal to discriminate against African Americans. Today when criminals return to society all the old forms of discrimination are in place: denying employment, not eligible for public housing, denial of right to vote, limited educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, exclusion from jury duty. We have not ended racial discrimination in America: we have merely redesigned it.click here for more
She feels that the system of mass incarceration is a disguised system of racialized social control.
After civil rights legislation, attention on racial issues mostly concerned affirmative action in education, health, housing, employment issues.
Mass Incarceration is a racial caste system. It refers to laws, rules, policies, and customs controlling criminals in and out of prison.
Now the War on Drugs has generated government funded targets of Blacks and Black neighborhoods with severe penalties for pretextual arrests resulting in mass incarceration of Blacks.
Supreme court actions. The 4th Amendment of search and seizure was bypassed by the Supreme Court. Financial incentives for drug arrests brought on military style tactics. In 1968 the Supreme Court approved the stop-and-frisk rule. Search and seize was okay if consent in “Voluntary cooperation” was given. Most people would not dare say no. The Supreme Court said okay to put in jail, rather than give a fine, for a traffic violation.
DEA became active. In 1984 Operation Pipeline by DEA taught police around the country how to make pretextual traffic stops. 95% of Pipeline searches found nothing. Any pretext is allowed, even too careful driving. DEA offered training free. Grants were made to police departments if they accentuated drug work. They got military equipment as well. SWAT teams flourished: 1972-300; 1980-3,000; 1996-30,000; 2001-40,000. Disbursement of money to cities depended on the number of drug arrests. In 1984 federal law allowed police departments to keep items including cash picked up in drug arrests. A defendant whose property was seized could not use a public defender.
Law Enforcement. To avoid being called “soft on crime,” little money is awarded for public defenders. 80% of defendants are too poor to hire an attorney. US guidelines are severe compared to other countries. Life sentence for a first time drug offender; 25 years for stealing 3 golf clubs; 50 years for stealing children videos from Kmart; 3 light problems can end up with life sentence. Many judges have quit rather than impose mandatory sentences.
Landmark cases. in Whren v. United States the Supreme Court approved traffic stops and forbid challenges of racial bias. The Court ruled no claims of racial bias would be admissible in any part of the criminal justice system. In Armstrong v. United States prosecutors are not bound by any standards. Purkett v. Elm jury selection is supposed to be unbiased. US Supreme Court ruled that any dismissal of a black juror (hair too long) was acceptable if the judge approved.
Housing: Clinton initiated the “One Strike and You’re Out” of public housing which can be arrests without a conviction.
Jobs. In almost all states employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of convictions, in most states can deny a job if applicant was only arrested but never convicted. EEOC guidelines only recommend, not require. we could have addressed the poverty of unemployment after factories closed down with training programs for blue collar workers. But instead we made a War on Drugs. Our current system locks Blacks away rather than exploit their labors as during slavery and Jim Crow.
Fines. Florida initiated 20 categories of fines with no exceptions. Fees include booking in, pretrial detention, public defender, bail fee, pre-sentencing, parole or probation fees as much as $50 a month plus interest, late fees, payment plan fees, collections fees.
Public assistance. Five years maximum to receive welfare based on Clinton’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), but permanently barred if drug conviction. Famlies suffer.
Voting. Maine and Vermont permit voting in prison. Most industrialized countries allow prison voting; US and Eastern Europe and communists do not. UN Human Rights Council charged the US that disenfranchisement policies are violations of international laws.
Shame. Families don’t share their shame, not realizing how many others are feeling the same, not even revealing all details to their own families. Racial stigma during Jim Crow brought Blacks together to object. The stigma of black criminality today separates blacks. The relatively privileged Black elite distanced themselves from the Black urban poor.
Our system of crime prevention is better termed crime creation.
Drug abuse is a public health problem not a crime. Today we are more conscious of the school-to-prison pipeline, inadequate public defense, and juvenile justice reform. Lawyers with public policy projects took the place of grass roots work. Legal advocacy replaced moral advocacy. “Politics of respectability” kept lawyers from challenging incarceration except for death penalty challenges.
Closing prisons. If incarceration rates decline, rural area where prisons are would be affected with job cuts to guards, administrators, all with significant power as a group. Those supporting private prisons (ie Dick Cheney) would object. One prison boasted increase in income of 14% in 2008. Prison profiteers gouge prisoners and families for phone calls, commissary items. Office workers, health care providers, janitors in prisons, would lose jobs. Gun manufacturers would see lower sales to police departments. They would need fewer military guns. Reforms take time to make a difference: ten years after Brown vs. Board of Education there was only 1% integration in southern schools. Correcting each reform won’t win the battle. The real battle is in people’s minds.
Our current prison system creates a perpetual class of people labeled criminals. The system rips apart families, creates unemployment and makes ex-offenders virtually homeless with avenues to repeating crime a likely option. So many are incarcerated for driving violations or having a small amt of drugs; these are not violent crimes.
It’s easier to deny racism in our thinking when we work on affirmative action or registering voters in black neighborhoods, but can we deny racism if we let the mass incarceration of blacks keep increasing? To address mass incarceration, prison workers, prison investors, prison profiteers, and support servicers to prisons would say “soft on crime.”
Colorblindness sounds good, but it leads to racial indifference which is worse than racial hostility. Colorblindness means that we do not see race but treat each other with compassion. A commitment to color consciousness means we show compassion to each other while recognizing racial differences. The MLK dream is to see each other as we are – with love.
Has affirmative action made us feel like we are addressing inequality so that we don’t have to pay attention to mass incarceration? Without government intervention would we have Blacks in law schools and Blacks increasing in the middle class? Civil rights advocates are committed to supporting action, but little attention to mass incarceration. Action has produced celebrities so that we feel there is racial acceptance.
Obama supports the death penalty in cases only Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China support. He increased funding for militarization of police. Do Whites say if Obama is for it, it must be okay; Do Blacks say if Obama is for it, let’s not make trouble for our Black president.
Civil rights advocacy of the past years has been to define a new discrimination. As James Baldwin said, our innocence in not seeing the current destructive elements of our prison system is our crime.