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.

Highlights of Social Justice meeting on March 1, 2020

Bill Hayes has agreed to be Chair until June 30, 2020. We welcomed special visitor Neil Vandereen from Lakewood Ranch UU.

Writers for Social Justice articles:
Bernita – Contact person for CIW in April UPDATE and Bulletin
Bill Hayes – Special Collections Report to the April Update
Randall – Minutes of March meeting to Board of Directors March meeting
Bernita – Highlights of March Social Justice meeting for April Update and Website

Special Collections—Bill Hayes:
February 16 – Healthy Start – Carol Alt $575
March 29 Prism – Chuck Wolff
April 19 – CIW Fair Food Program – Bernita
May 17 – DART – Rev. Fred and Bill Hayes
June 21 – Planned Parenthood – Lisa Marie

Issues. An Action Paper by Chris MacCormack has been added to the display table with the Immigration Issues paper and resources. Carolyn Denison distributed contact information for legislators. Individual letters to Jewish community can be sent together in one package.
Share-a-Dish program May 8 suggestions: Green grocery bags, LGBTQ issues, Black issues.
Homeless Census found that there are less homeless in Manatee County this year.
MLK Jr Day of Service at SCF awarded us a statue which we will put in a prominent place. MUUF project was via DownTown Ministries to purchase and distribute 500 hygiene kits to the homeless and needy of our County.
Gay Pride Festival March 21. The sign up sheet has many volunteers. Booth plans are in order. Rev. Fred will be in the opening ceremonies.
UUA Get Out The Vote grant – Mary Frances. $500 was requested for Mail in Ballot requests for about 10 community groups doing door-to-door voter registration.
UU the VoteLisa Moschin will present ideas of community mobilization at next meeting.
Structuring the Social Justice Committee has begun – condensing our many issues into smaller groups that incorporate several activities. 

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. Frequently a member writes a thorough paper about an issue chosen in the Social Justice meeting. These Issues are available to members and friends on the website under ISSUES and by copies on the display table.

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.

3. LEGISLATION

MUUF Supports

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.

4. PARTNERS

MUUF PARTNERS with many organizations for improving social justice.

A. We support Unitarian Universalist Association social justice groups:

 

B: We support LOCAL groups and local chapters of NATIONAL charitable groups
  • 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.
  • PRISM.  We support Prism in the Annual Gay Pride event in March.
  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers. We support the annual  observances of the Immokalee Workers each March efforts to have retailers join the Fair Food Program for the workers at Immokalee and other areas.
  • Planned Parenthood.  We support Planned Parenthood by participating in the volunteer activities and fund raising.
  •  Turning Points – Jobs for Vets – We support Turning Points programs by donating food, clothing; by volunteering, by applying 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 –
  • 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.
  • League of Women Voters with issues of conservation and voting rights.
  •  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 mentor education program.
  •  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

 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.  
August -Feeding Empty Little Tummies (F.E.L.T.) 
September – Downtown Ministries  
October 20 – Manatee Operation Troop Support  (MOTS)
November – Unitarian Universalist Service Corps  (UUSC)
December – Turning Points
January – Our Daily Bread
February – Healthy Start
March – Prism
April – Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Fair Food Program
May – DART program of Manatee ministers for Social Justice
June – Planned Parenthood

 Action:  Saving the 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!”

 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 Special Action in 2018-19.

January 2019 campaign – Bishop Animal Shelter
December 2018 campaign — Turning Points
November 2018 campaign — SafePlace2B
October 2018 campaign — Feeding Empty Little Tummies (F.E.L.T.)
September 2018 campaign — HOPE Family Services