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
MLK Award to MUUF for Downtown Ministries
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service, is a national holiday observing Dr. King’s birthday on January 21. For the following week nationally funded projects enable volunteers to give a Day of Service. About 30 projects are funded through State College of Florida for volunteer participation in Manatee and nearby counties. MUUF’s award for $3,056.57 is for Downtown Ministries to provide hundreds of hygiene bags for the needy in Manatee County.
Each project hosts activities to which we all are invited to give a Day of Service. MUUF’s project has two days:
1 – Tuesday, January 21 from 6:30-8:00 in Palmetto where volunteers are needed to put the many items into the kit bags: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, razor, soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, combs, tissues, washcloths and more. The address is: 1713 8th Avenue W. unit 56 in Palmetto. If you want to join in, just arrive. No rsvps necessary.
2 – Saturday, January 25 from 8:30 to 10:30 am at the parking lot of the West Bradenton Baptist Church at 1604 17th Street W in Bradenton. Here a free breakfast is available as well as the distribution of the hygiene kits. Just arrive and tell Christine or Ian you are there.
Over the past few years MUUF’s awards have benefited Project Light, Joseph Storehouse for indigent living, Turning Points Dental program and Turning Points computers for applying for a job or housing, etc.
Highlights of Social Justice Meeting on January 5, 2020
1. The Special Collections
A. Amounts collected in the past months:
November for UUSC $1327,
December for Turning Points $83
January 15 – Our Daily Bread – Carol B.
February 16 – Healthy Start – Carol Alt
March 29 – Prism – Chuck Wolfe
April 17 – CIW – Bernita
Issue of the Quarter: Mary Frances distributed the first installment of a series of articles on Immigration. The installment had been reviewed by email by members of the Social Justice committee.
Share-a-Dish January 10, 2020 – Protecting Our Future will feature a video by Greta Thurnberg followed by discussion. There may be opportunity for Letter writing with Bill and Carolyn Denison and signing postcards boycotting Wendy’s for not supporting the Fair Food Program for migrant workers.
MLK Jr Day of Service Project: Jan 21 and 25 at Downtown Ministries gives community members an opportunity to give a Day of Service on either Jan 21 or Jan 28. Details in UPDATE
UU Justice Florida Legislative Days: Mary Frances has the list of positions taken by UUJF on bills coming up. She will be meeting with legislators in collaboration with other UUs from Florida congregations -Jan. 27-28.
Gay Pride event on Saturday, March 21, 2020. A sign-up sheet will be on the display table for setting up, staffing the booth, and taking down.
UU the Vote – John Isham will tune us in to the UUA special program on Sunday, Jan.12 at 4pm. All welcome. See page 4 in UU World – Winter 2019. More Details as they develop on Home Page of website.
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. Once a month we sponsor the Monday evening meeting with Manatee Clean Energy Alliance.
1. MUUF sponsors Manatee Clean Energy Alliance. MCEA meets the third Monday each month at 6:30 pm to discuss ways to support Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” program to change Manatee County government to activate clean energy programs.
2. 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.
3. MUUF supported the right to vote for ex-felons in Amendment 4 and now support efforts to enable their voting.
4. MUUF supports the Medicaid for Senior Citizens petition for constitutional amendment to the Florida constitution.
5. MUUF supports the Charter Resolution for Manatee County.
6. MUUF supports the Ban Assault Weapons movement.
7. MUUF supports Indivisible-Progressives in Bradenton.
Pictures are from Move to Amend demonstration at Rt 41 at Bahia Vista in Sarasota with 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: We support LOCAL AND NATIONAL charitable groups.
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.
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.
350.org 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
Action: Special Collections Organized by Bill Hayes
Each month the Fellowship has a Special Collection to benefit a social justice organization. The schedule for July 2019 to June 2020 includes:
July – Hope Family Services. This organization helps those subjected to domestic abuse.
August -Feeding Empty Little Tummies (F.E.L.T.) which provides weekend meals for needy children.
September – Downtown Ministries provides food and health kits to needy citizens
October 20 – Manatee Operation Troop Support (MOTS) provides care packages to military overseas.
November – Unitarian Universalist Service Corps (UUSC)
December – Turning Points
Action: Saving the Rural Hospital
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!”
ACTION – Giving all through the year
Turning Points mission is to provide, coordinate and facilitate services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Manatee County. It’s One Stop Service Center served over 6900 persons with 125,570 services in the past year.
Their Needs List consists of: Food and Baby Formula, Bicycles, Bungee Cords, Drop Cloths, Games, Jeans, Mosquito Repellant, Paperback Books, Reading Glasses, Shoes, Sleeping Bags, Socks, Toiletries, Tool Belts, Tools, Toothbrushes, Towels, Underwear, Washcloths, and Work Boots.
Cash is much needed for: Carpet Steam Cleaner, Folding Tables, Furnishings for the Family Waiting Area, Children’s Furniture, Industrial Vacuum, Office Supplies, Paper Shredder, Pressure Washer, Rubbermaid Bins, Security Camera, and Telephones.
Items can be put in the blue bin at MUUF, in the rear of the sanctuary. Mail checks directly to: Turning Points, 701 17th Ave. West, Bradenton, FL 34205
ACTION: Wish List Giving.
Organized by Barb McRea, the Wish List is focused 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 past Wish List Giving campaigns. Due to health reasons of one of the Wish List project team members, the monthly project has been suspended except for the continuing Giving to Turning Points.
• 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.