Social Justice Committee
The Social Justice committee meets via Zoom at noon after the Sunday service on the first Sunday of each month. All meetings are open to Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship members and guests. We encourage our members to be informed and to work towards bringing about social justice changes together as a group as well as through individual efforts.
We invite leaders of local charities to tell us about 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.
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.”
The monthly newsletter, UPDATE, gives commentaries about current concerns.
Manatee UU Fellowship supports:
- Legislation towards averting climate change.
- Manatee Clean Energy Alliance.
- Efforts to enable ex-felons to vote under Amendment 4
- Black Lives Matter movement.
- Move to Amend.
- The Medicaid for Senior Citizens petition for constitutional amendment to the Florida constitution.
- The Charter Resolution for Manatee County.
- The Ban Assault Weapons movement.
Manatee UU Fellowship partners with many organizations for improving social justice.
A. We support Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) 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
- Welcoming Congregations
B. We support local groups and local chapters of national charitable groups.
- Our Daily Bread
- Turning Points
- Manatee Justice Ministry
- Climate Change activities sponsored by 350.org
- ALSO Youth
- Coalition of Immokalee Workers
- Planned Parenthood
- Southwest Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice
- League of Women Voters
- Unidos Now
Each month our fellowship has a Special Collection to benefit a carefully selected nonprofit organization which shows a genuine need for help and is in alignment with our values. This year, due to the pandemic, adjustments were made and we have donated to:
- Hope Family Services
- Downtown Ministries
- Our Daily Bread
- Healthy Start
- Spanish Community Church (turkeys for Thanksgiving)
- Manatee Justice Ministry
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Through Get Out the Vote we received a $500 grant from UUA which we used to encourage members of the community to vote by distributing formal requests for ballot by mail.
From the UUA we received a $1000 matching grant to accompany member donations towards Manatee Justice Ministry.
In addition to the monetary gifts listed above:
- We provided 500 hygiene kits to the homeless in Manatee County. With the 2020 MLK Day of Service award to Manatee UU Fellowship for Downtown Ministries, the kits were distributed to the needy.
- Helped block a lawsuit preventing the building of a new rural hospital in SE Florida in 2019 through letter writing.
- Enabled our fellowship to meet and maintain Green Sanctuary standards as we show “respect for the interdependence of all existence of which we are a part.” (7th principle)
- Collected needed tangible items in our Wish List collections for local groups in need.
- Assisted Turning Points, which aspires 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 more than 6,900 persons with 161,100 services in the past year.
Chair: Mariano Vera
Created in 1989, the Green Sanctuary program is a path for congregational study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges. It provides a structure for congregations to examine their current environmental impacts and move towards more sustainable practices grounded in Unitarian Universalism.
Manatee Clean Energy Alliance
The Manatee UUF congregation has voted to sponsor the Manatee Clean Energy Alliance and work with its members to support Clean Energy in Manatee County by 2035. Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 is also striving for this goal. Until our building closed due to COVID-19, the alliance met monthly at Manatee UUF.
Go to manateecleanenergyalliance.org for information on the alliance.
Manatee Justice Ministry
Manatee Justice Ministry (MJM) is a countywide coalition of congregations and a member chapter of Direct Action & Research Training (DART). Its goal is to heed the call of our religious traditions by using our collective voice to create justice for the citizens of Manatee County by finding viable solutions to the systemic inequities and have those solutions implemented through municipal, county, and state referendums and legislation.
Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a founding congregation of this coalition. This project is funded in part by the Congregation-Based Community Organizing Matching Grants Program of the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility.
More information about MJM activities and DART can be found at: https://thedartcenter.org/Manatee-County/
Manatee UU Fellowship is part of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Welcoming Congregation Program that works to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are full members of its faith communities. As such, our congregation includes and encourages new LGBTQ members and visitors as full and welcome participants. Recent activities of our fellowship have included offering a six-session course titled “Transgender Inclusion in Congregations”, and we participate each year in the Manatee Pride festival, all proceeds from which benefit programs of the ALSO Youth, which supports, encourages and helps empower LGBTQ youth in Manatee County.