Manatee UU Fellowship
Manatee 2014-2015 UU Fellowship Justice Report www.manateeuuf.org/
Move to Amend (MTA)The committee proposed a resolution to support MTA which would change the Supreme Court’s decision in “Citizens United.” The resolution was voted unanimously by our congregation and other Florida UU congregations soon followed. Members continue to support demonstrations and discussions about this topic. The congregation hosted Rhana Bazzini on the second day of her walk from Sarasota to Tallahassee calling attention to legislators along the way about the need for campaign reform. Several members attended Rhana’s welcome home event in Sarasota and heard David Cobb’s motivational talk. The committee will continue to strongly support this amendment next year. Our group is involved with the Sara-Mana Affiliate chapter of Move to Amend.
Green Sanctuary committee designated three Saturdays in March, April and May to work with Habitat for Humanity. A representative of Habitat for Humanity spoke at the Earth Day Sunday service.
Support for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers continues.
Climate Change and Water Issues Work continue. Working with Sierra Club, along with League of Women Voters and Audubon, petitions were gathered for the Florida Water and Land Conservation Act which was on the ballot in the November 2014 election. Locally, members have joined others in the community in protesting the development at Long Bar Pointe which would destroy mangrove shoreline. After a Share A Dish meeting of several presentations about pollution by the Mosaic Mining Company, a tour was arranged and six MUUF members spent the day at Mosaic with presentations by guides, tour of the facilities and viewing of reclamation areas. In September with our 350.org banner we joined others in Sarasota observing the NYC Climate Change March.
ISSUE papers prepared by member for Social Justice webpage posting. Issues addressed: Move to Amend; Minimum Wage Increase, Voting Rights, Global Warming, and Low Carbon Living. An Issue paper, Be Sure To Vote, was emailed to each member. Looking ahead: Petitions for restoring the right to vote for ex-felons are being distributed, as it the solar power amendment
SHARE A DISH DINNER presentations: Local voting problems, notably steps taken by the local supervisor of elections to close minority polls and limit early voting days. Three Ballot Initiatives (Land and Water Legacy, Medical Marijuana, and appointments of judicial replacements). After a several Share A Dish meetings learning about pollution by the Mosaic Mining Company, a tour was arranged and six MUUF members spent the day at Mosaic with presentations by guides, tour of the facilities and viewing of reclamation areas. In September with our 350.org banner we joined others in Sarasota observing the NYC Climate Change March. Hector Tejeda, executive director of UnidosNow discussed the current plight of young Hispanics and the need for assistance so they can stay in school. He also introduced two students who have never had a family member attend college. He explained the program helps them to understand and maneuver through the maze of college applications and financial statements. At this event Hector was given a letter of support for their grant application to Veach program at UUA for funds to develop a counseling program for parents of young Hispanic youths, putting in action the U.S. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).
Get Out the Vote UUA grants: MUUF was awarded two $500 UUA grants to Get Out the Vote. One went to the new CIW radio station in Immokalee which aired radio messages in Spanish to register to vote and to go to vote. The second went to WLSR in Sarasota for radio announcements in English and Spanish to register to vote and to go vote.
OCCUPY, represented by Roy McChesney, meets every Monday evening and co-sponsors with the Social Justice Committee educational programs. The programs have included: DVD of Bill Moyer’s interviews with Gretchen Morgenson on “Getting Tough with Wall Street Banks” and Petere Dreir on “The Role of Organized Citizens on Organized Oppressors.” Also John Osborne from Planning and Zoning of Manatee County spoke and answered questions about development in new areas of the county. Another speaker, Skip Parish, spoke of the ease of manipulating voting machines. Documentaries were shown: “Dirty Wars” by Jeremy Scahill,“Chasing Ice” about the melting glaciers, “A Place at the Table” on the hungry in the US. Educational evenings included each episode in the series of “The Untold History of the US” by Oliver Stone. The play, “Project Unspeakable” about J F Kennedy, R F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X was co-sponsored.
Demonstrations are held the first and third Saturdays of each month at the southwest corner of Manatee Avenue and 43rd Street West. NAACP members joined the demonstrations this year and the issue “Black Lives Matter,” was added.
Programs in 2015 included: “Incarceration Nation,” “Racism in America and Push Back” with Amy Goodman,“Disruption, Climate Change,” “This Changes Everything,” “Koch Brothers in 2014,” the “War on Whistle Blowers.”
LGBTQ issues. We followed the news about legal battles on Florida’s gay marriage amendments, but we had to wait to celebrate the joyous outcome until 2015. And then we did! In January of 2015 Rev. Dee Graham conducted three weddings and one vow renewal. The Social Justice Committee with other MUUF members supported the services with music, flowers and refreshments as well as cheers and applause.
MUUF had a table at the first Manatee Gay Pride festival in March 2014 and then had a tent and table at the second Manatee Gay Pride event. We offered MUUF rainbow literature and token gifts.
One Stop Center. Our Daily Bread, serves free meals to those in need. Eight volunteers serve meals every third Thursday of each month. A fellowship members serves as a liaison to the Coalition of Homeless Agencies, which meets monthly. A few members volunteered as census takers at the January Homeless Census..
Peace and Justice. One member took the six-week course on Non-Violent Disobedience at the Peace and Justice center. He represents our group at many demonstrations and visits to legislators and public hearings, i.e., Gun Control on Thursdays in Sarasota.
KIVA: Overseas mission through KIVA as “MUUF Team” started by four MUUF members. This is a micro-finance program for people in various countries, with the loans being paid back and hopefully reinvested.
$ 75 SWF Coalition for Peace and Justice; $60 support of multi-cultural music program with African Methodist Church;$100 table at first Manatee Gay Pride festival; $ 70 membership for UUJF at $1.00 per member; $70 membership for UUSC at $1.00 per member; $25 co-sponsor educational programs at Occupy;$100 Kiva Team for microfinance—-$500
Manatee UU Fellowship 2013-2014 www.manateeuuf.org/
Mission:The Social Justice Committee mission is to promote peace, to enhance the general welfare of all, to help the needy and those who, for one reason or another, are being treated unfairly in our society. Legislation: Move to Amend Resolution supported. Organizations Manatee works with: Our committee supports 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
Sharing: A committee arranges speakers from local charitable groups which work directly with people in difficult circumstances and a collection is taken to support their work. The committee feels it is important to support various groups which may be overlooked by faith-based donations and to support organizations that promote UU liberal faith-traditions. See church website for list. Supporting: A Welcoming Workshop is held in the fall of each year. We participate in Gay Pride events including Manatee County’s first Gay Pride Day in 2014. The Day was sponsored by PRISM which we support by special collection each year. PRISM meets at our Fellowship weekly. Movies with a welcoming theme are shown once a month on Saturday mornings followed by pizza and discussion. The movie focuses on an issue pertaining to GLBTQ, minority or cultural concerns. Cultural Diversity The choir has sung at Ward Temple African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and the AME choir has sung at our church. Special events like our Gospel Song Fest, and Civil Rights Songs, are among favorite evenings followed by fellowship and food. Singers of United Land (SOUL) is a group with different singers every year, from different countries. This year is the fifth year visiting here on their Eastern United States tour. Their songs are from their homelands in their own languages with native instruments. Each year the singers bring a message of universal understanding. Members provide housing for them for a week during which they sing at local schools and teach children about the value of diversity. The church presents a free local concert for the public with a reception following, enjoying talk with the singers. In 2014 the singers were from Croatia, Taiwan, Nigeria, Uruguay. www.singersofunitedlands.org/ ==============================================