1. MEETINGS

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.

SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Agenda July 7, 2019

Call meeting to order: —
Present: Chair-Al Usack
1) Acceptance of Minutes of June Meeting:
2) Writers for Social Justice articles:

  • Carol Bartz – Contact person for August special collection for UPDATE/Bulletin
  • Bill Hayes – Report to Aug Update
  • Randall – Minutes of July meeting to Board of Directors
  • Bernita – July Social Justice meeting highlights report for August Update

3) Special Collections—Bill Hayes

  • June 23 – Planned Parenthood – Al Usack. (fourth Sunday by request)
  • July 21 – Hope Family Services – Barb
  • August 18 – Feeding Empty Little Tummies (FELT) – Carol Bartz
  • Discussion for Guidelines for Special Collections

4) Issue of the Quarter: July-August-September – Al.
5) Climate Change Focus – John Isham
6) Share-a-Dish July 12 Bernita. 
7) Old Business

  • Fundraiser for Turning Points with LWRUU at Farmers’ Market
  • Close the Camps issue: speaker for Share-a-Dish, bus to Homestead, demonstrate Vern Buchanan’s office and at Unconditional Statue in Sarasota, Call Vern Buchanan’s office: 941-951-6643.

8) Announcements and New Business

  • No sanctuary in churches – Rev. Fred
  • CIW meeting with Sarasota UU – from Joan Butcher

9) Adjournment:
Next Meeting: August 4           Next Coffee Hour: August 25          Next Share-a-Dish: July 12

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE   
Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Minutes, June 2, 2019

Call meeting to order: 12:00 pm

Called to order by Al Usack.

Present: Chair-Al Usack, Rev. Fred Hammond, Carol Alt, Chuck Wolfe, Barb McCrea, Bill Hayes, Bill Denison, Carolyn Denison, Mae Steg, Alan Cate, Lois Stilley, Charles McCloud, Linda Marshall, AJ Wolff, Ed Kobee, John Isham, Peggy Dickson, Bernita Franzel.

1) Acceptance of Minutes of May Meeting: Accepted by consensus.

2) Writers for Social Justice articles:

Contact person for July special collection for UPDATE/Bulletin

Bill Hayes – Report to July Update

Bernita – highlights report for Board of Directors

3) Special Collections—Bill Hayes

  • · May 19 – Fogartyville, Peace and Justice Center, Move to Amend

  • · June 23 – Planned Parenthood – Al Usack. (fourth Sunday by request)

  • · July 21

Discussion for Special Collections from July 2019 to June 2020

Bill Hayes: Special Collections has evolved from sending a check to one or two organizations about twice a year to an operation that gives away $7,000 – $8,000 a year. It was felt that we needed more organization overseeing its activities and a set of guidelines. A guidelines subcommittee has been set up, and it is in the process of formulating policies. The subcommittee comprises Bill Hayes, Bernita Franzel, Carolyn Denison, Bill Denison and Barb McCrea. The subcommittee will not be fully operational for a few months, so we came up with six organizations who met preliminary criteria and will take us through December. They are:

July 21, Hope Family Services August 18, FELT (Feeding Empty Little Tummies)

September 15, Downtown Ministries October 20, MOTS

November 10, UUSC December 15, Turning Points

November 24, Our Daily Bread

The subcommittee’s next job will be to develop the guidelines and bring them back for our approval. The tentative points for formulating the guidelines so far are:

  1. Should the organization be strictly local, a local subchapter of a national organization or a national organization?

  2. Look at the organization’s finances. How much does it spend on its programs compared to what it spends on fundraising and administrative costs?

  3. Groups should be interested enough to come to the fellowship and explain their program. They should have a presence at a social hour or a share-a-dish.

1

3) Special Collections (continued)

Linda moved that we approve the seven groups enumerated above as the recipients of our special collections from July through December. Chuck seconded. Passed unanimously.

Bernita: We will still contribute to the Peace and Justice Center and to UU Justice Florida. The money will come out of the Social Justice budget.

4) Issue of the Quarter: April-May-June—Al. “Income Inequality.” Al wrote about this several years earlier. This time he will look at solutions to the problem rather than the problem itself. You can find the first article on the website, or ask Al for a copy.

5) Climate Change Focus -Carolyn Denison.: She and Bill Denison belong to a group called Manatee Clean Energy Alliance. It will be meeting at the church the third Monday of each month at 6:30 pm. Its plan is to have well-educated speakers go around to civic organizations, churches and schools and get the audiences to agree to make phone calls and to write government officials every couple months about making Manatee a clean energy county. We’ll give you names make suggestions on what to write. Our goal is to get a commitment from local government stop emitting carbon.

Bernita: It’s amazing how many groups are working on this. Climate is our focus, and we need to make it clear that we are not attached to a particular group. We need a motion.

Bill Denison moved that we take clean energy as a project of the Social Justice Committee. Linda seconded. Passed unanimously.

Rev. Fred: To select a group and endorse it, we need to follow a model Rev. Fred has experience with. First, Social Justice has to research the topic. Then, we make a recommendation to the board who in turn does its own homework. Finally, it goes before the congregation for endorsement. By following these steps, you build consensus.

We need a small group to work on this and bring back recommendations in writing. The group consists of Bill Denison, John Isham, Ed Kobee, Linda Marshall and Carol Alt.

6) Share-a-Dish

Bernita: She programmed the June 14th Share-a-Dish inviting Jeff Orenstein to speak on the National Popular Vote. The committee chairs are meeting June 9th to decide who hosts which Share-a-Dish. Bernita is going to request getting Social Justice a fourth. We already have three.

We the People Amendment and National Popular Vote

Ed Kobee: He went to a meeting at Fogartyville and heard two presentations. One was the attempt Move to Amend is making to get enough states to petition Congress to create an amendment to the Constitution to reverse Citizens United, the decision by the Supreme Court that designates corporations as people and money as free speech. This will stop money from being freely dumped into campaigns. Started in 2012, it’s a long process.

The second issue at the meeting was the National Popular Vote. This initiative would get states who sign on pledge all their electoral college votes to the winner of the popular vote. There are excellent

articles on these groups on Wikipedia.

2

7) Old Business

Rev. Fred: The Board voted to approve the purchase of the program “Transgender Inclusion in Congregations.” Rev. Fred will be able to do an online course on transgender issues with interested members.

Carol put on Twitter that our Fellowship supports Juliana’s case against the government on climate change. It will be streamed on Tuesday, June 4th at 5:00 pm. Bernita can send you a link which will take you to a live feed.

We will have the opportunity to work on the GA topic “Corruption of our Democracy” this fall. We have all the materials. They just need to be put together.

8) Announcements and New Business

Mae Steg from the Lakewood Ranch came to ask us if we want to partner with them in an arts and crafts program in which items would be sold at Bradenton’s Farmers Market benefiting Turning Points.

John moved to recommend to the board joining Lakewood Ranch in putting on a fundraiser for Turning Points sometime date to be determined to promote Unitarian Universalism in the county. Seconded by Linda Marshall. Passed unanimously.

Bernita’s announcements:

  • Farm workers’ Appreciation Day, Saturday, June 8th, 9:00 – 12:00, Palmetto.

  • Stop the Violence Program, Brady on Gun Control, Monday, June 9, 11:00-4:00, Pane Park in Sarasota.

  • Sign petition on County Charter Government.

  • I met a woman at one of my programs who had toured one of the detention camps in Miami. She said she would come and talk to us. I didn’t invite her, but I was wondering if we couldn’t add 10 minutes to our meetings to accommodate speakers like her.? I come across dozens of speakers who would be very interesting to our group. A Sunday Forum would be a possible venue for such speakers.

9) Adjournment: 1:07 pm

Next Meeting: July 7 Next Coffee Hour: June 23rd Next Share-a-Dish: June 14

Respectfully submitted by Randy Coleman

3

2. EDUCATION

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. Each month we learn about local charities and collect items. A “Wish List” is circulated for the items needed by that particular charity.

3. LEGISLATION

MUUF Supports

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 Medicaid for Senior Citizens petition for constitutional amendment to the Florida constitution.

4. MUUF supports the Charter resolution for Manatee County.

5. MUUF supports OCCUPY-Bradenton.

6. MUUF supports Indivisible-Progressives in Bradenton. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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”

4. PARTNERS

MUUF PARTNERS with many organizations for improving social justice.

A. We support Unitarian Universalist Association social justice groups:

sj_uuministryforearth UU Ministry of the Earth – uuministryforearth.org

sj_uujusticeflUU Justice Florida – uujusticefl.org

sj_uusc UU Service Committee – uusc.org

sj_standingonthesideoflove 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. 

Manatee Clean Energy Alliance.Coalition of The Homeless (PATH) – fchonline.org

sj_odb Our Daily Bread – odb.org

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 – prismyouth.org     We support Prism in the Annual Gay Pride event in March.

sj_ciw-onlineCoalition 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.

sj_plannedparenthood Planned Parenthood – plannedparenthood.org   We support Planned Parenthood by participating in the volunteer activities and fund raising.

sj_tpmanatee 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.

sj_sarasotapeacenterSouthwest Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice – sarasotapeacenter.org

sj_manateenaacp 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.

sj_lwvmanateeLeague of Women Voters with issues of conservation and voting rights – lwvmanatee.org

sj_unidosnow 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.

sj_350 350.org gardenWe support and participate in annual Climate Change activities sponsored by 350.org.

Manasota 88.

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 - Monthly Special Collection

 

 

Special Collections  July Report by Bill Hayes

Our May Special Collection benefited Fogartyville’s Peace Center and raised $778.39. Mariano Vera and Jo Williams were point persons.

June’s Special Collection was scheduled for June 23 and will go to Planned Parenthood’s Southwest and Central Florida local chapter. Planned Parenthood is the major provider of sexual health services throughout this area. Al Usack is the point person.

The July 21 Special Collection will be for Hope Family Services. This local non-profit’s mission is to promote safety, strength and well-being for those affected by domestic violence. Barb McCrea is the point person.

The Social Justice Committee has formally established a Special Collections subcommittee consisting of Bill Hayes, Bernita Franzel, Barb McCrea, Bill Denison and Carolyn Denison. This subcommittee will suggest guidelines of eligibility for Special Collections beneficiaries and also suggest the actual beneficiaries. The subcommittee is open to any ideas from the congregation. Subject to Board approval, suggested beneficiaries for the first six months of the fiscal year are July: Hope Family Services, August: FELT (Feeding Empty Little Tummies), Sept: Downtown Ministries, Oct: MOTS, Nov: UUSC and Our D:aily Bread, Dec: Turning Points.

Special Collection on July 21, 2019 by Barb McCrea

Our Special Collection on Sunday, July 21st, will benefit HOPE Family Services and be specifically designated to fund the needs of their Emergency Safe Shelter. HOPE is a private not-for-profit corporation founded in 1979 based in Bradenton, Florida. The Mission of HOPE is to promote safety, strength and well-being for those affected by domestic violence. HOPE is Manatee County’s state certified domestic violence service provider.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by one partner, in an intimate partner relationship, to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but many children who grow up witnessing the violence. Frequent exposure to domestic violence not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems but can also teach them that violence is a normal way of life and increase their risk of becoming society’s next generation of abusers. HOPE’s vision is that through services and social change they can endeavor to provide the residents in Manatee County with the skills and information necessary to solve problems in a non-violent manner, thus work toward eliminating domestic violence.

HOPE provides a safe place in a confidential location for victims of domestic violence. The Shelter is designed to give victims time in a safe place, so they can evaluate their options and gain skills that empower them to live a life safe from an abusive partner. Mothers and children arrive at the Shelter with few belongings – if any. Mothers have urgent demands on what little money they may have and are unable to replace what they couldn’t bring with them. There are always ongoing Shelter needs, that’s why our Special Collection will be specifically designated to fund the needs of HOPE’s Emergency Safe Shelter.

On Sunday, July 14th, Elsa Hanna, a HOPE staff member and frequent visitor to our Fellowship, will be joining us for a Meet-N-Greet at our coffee hour when she will have brochures and answer questions about HOPE. Then on Sunday, July 21st, Elsa will speak to us about HOPE’s Emergency Safe Shelter, and we will take up a Special Collection that will be specifically designated to fund the needs of their Shelter. Please make your check out to HOPE Family Services and place it in the envelope provided for the offertory. Your generosity will be appreciated.

To find out more about domestic violence and HOPE’s services visit their website at https://www.hopefamilyservice.org/ or contact HOPE’s Outreach Office at 941-747-8499.

 

6. ACTION - Rural Hospital

 LAWSUIT DROPPED!
RURAL HOSPITAL PROJECT CAN GO FORWARD
by Joan Butcher

In late January Dr. Allen Weiss, President and CEO of Naples Community Hospital (NCH) and Kevin Cooper, the hospital Chief of Staff, were given the opportunity to resign and they did.

They had been the primary leaders of a lawsuit to prevent the construction of a small rural hospital in eastern Collier County near Immokalee which they claimed would take away patients and revenue from NCH.

Once they resigned, the new interim CEO, Dr. Leon Dutcher, made the decision to drop the lawsuit.

He considered it a public relations hassle creating an image problem in the community. Between the June 2018 initiation of the lawsuit and the January 2019 resignations there had been mounting negative public pressure via letters to the editor, billboards, testimony at legal depositions, demonstrations and other activities. The case has been dropped from the legal dockets. Once final approval steps are completed the original goal of constructing the new rural hospital can move forward!

After putting so much time and money into this worthy project Dr. Beau Braden, director of the Braden Health Clinic, along with his business manager and board of directors welcome this victory and view it as a complete repudiation. Switching from working on legal issues and returning to building design and construction issues has kept them very busy. In addition, they have been left with a $200,000 legal bill even without the anticipated February trial in Tallahassee.

Along with sharing the good news they sincerely and profusely thanked us for our efforts. How much impact did we have? While one can never know the specific influence of each activity, the sum of the various efforts and public pressure ultimately made a huge difference. Extending his heartfelt thanks, the business manager promised to keep us informed as they move forward.

I want to add my personal thanks to our Social Justice Committee members and everyone who signed letters and postcards. I believe we helped “win one for the little guy!”

7. ACTION - Wish List Giving

 

“Due to health reasons of one of the Wish List project team members, the project has been suspended until further notice.”

The Wish List Giving Project, with leadership of Barb McRea, focuses on collecting in-kind (new or gently used) items for local organizations according to their “wish list” needs. Below is a descriptive list of the current and the past Wish List Giving campaigns and the local organizations so generously supported with donations:

  • March:  This Project is on Hold.  We are supporting Manasota Operation Troop Support (MOTS) and their program to send Care Packages to our deployed service members. MOTS is a non-political 501(c) 3 organization who has been serving Manatee and Sarasota county troops and their families before, during and after deployment for over ten years. MOTS serves service members through referrals from friends, families, teachers and others in Manasota communities. It is funded by private donations from individuals, veterans’ organizations, local churches, fundraisers and grants. Each month volunteers from a variety of local organizations help MOTS pack and send between 35 and 50 Care Packages to our troops serving in foreign lands. The MOTS Director exercises sole control to ensure service member confidentiality and that all Care Package address labels and APO/Customs shipping forms are properly completed. MOTS also supports service members and their families back home by helping them with cash, gift cards, furniture, veteran’s food pantry, emergency financial assistance, community outreach programs and referral assistance depending upon their needs. Care Package items are mostly donated by individuals and various local groups, but what MOTS really needs help with is purchasing Care Package shipping postage. Of all the items included in these Care Packages, the most cherished by the service members are the personal messages of support and encouragement because it says that we care about them! Our campaign offers several ways to get involved: (1) Purchase Care Package shipping postage. It costs $18.40 to ship each box. MOTS really needs help with this! (2) Donate Care Package comfort items that help ease the hardship of deployment. (3) Meet-N-Greet MOTS Director, Linda Craig, for a presentation about MOTS’ mission. We’ll do this at the Social time on Sunday March 10th, after the Sunday service. (4) Write/Sign a personal message of support. We’ll do this as a group in the sanctuary on Sunday, March 24th, after the Sunday service. (5) Pack Care Package boxes. MOTS will provide the items we’ll pack. We’ll do this as a group in the sanctuary on Sunday, March 31st, after the Sunday service. Information on the purple insert in the Sunday service bulletin and on the red bin will give you the details. Our deadline is Sunday, March 31st, when we pack the Care Package boxes! Remember — The sole purpose of this “in-kind” (which means goods as opposed to money) giving program is to donate items to match specific needs of a local organization. If you wish to make a monetary donation to this organization, please contact MOTS directly: c/o Linda Craig (Director), (941)782-0748.

• February:  Time out to concentrate on auction.

• January 2019 campaign — Bishop Animal Shelter promotes the compassionate treatment of companion animals in Manatee County and surrounding areas from its adoption facility. As of January 20th, MUUF donated 26.1 lbs. of dog food and treats, 15.7 lbs. of cat food and treats, 2 blankets, 10 towels, 2 rugs, 2 sheets, 1 cat scratch board and 2 grocery bags of newspapers.

• December 2018 campaign — Turning Points provides a variety of free services designed to assist individuals and families to help prevent and end homelessness. MUUF donated 19 holiday bags filled with new Christmas toys and gifts for children.

• November 2018 campaign — SafePlace2B Youth Shelter provides a safe haven with family counseling for troubled teens who are in a family crisis situation. MUUF donated 11 grocery bags containing clothes, shoes, personal toiletries, housewares, recreational items and a holiday dinner certificate.

• October 2018 campaign — Feeding Empty Little Tummies (F.E.L.T.) a local non-profit charity dedicated to feeding Manatee County’s most needy — homeless students. MUUF donated 107 pounds of nonperishable food.

• September 2018 campaign — HOPE Family Services offers domestic violence outreach services and shelter for families and their dependents. MUUF donated approximately 60 pounds of school supplies.