August, 2020


##UU the Vote is very excited to launch a partnership with New Florida Majority in efforts to turn out millions of voters in Florida.  You are encouraged to participate in one of three phone banks on Thursday evenings -- July 30, August 6, and August 13 from 6:00-8:00 pm ET.

Sign up for the July 30 phone bank here.

New Florida Majority staff will provide orientation, training and scripts using the Open Virtual Phone Bank platform. Cell phone and laptop needed.



Florida’s Primary Vote is August 18, 2020

Vote by mail has started.
Early voting will be staring soon.
Research the candidates; choose the best.

Six Amendments are on November 4 2020 ballot

Four citizen initiatives are on the ballot.

  • Amendment 1: Only citizens can vote in Florida
  • Amendment 2: Raises the minimum wage to $15 by 2026
  • Amendment 3: Establishes top-two open primaries
  • Amendment 4: Requires constitutional amendments to be passed twice.
The Florida Legislature place two constitutional amendments concerning property taxes on the ballot.
Stay alert to the discussions. Important to vote.



Florida Legislature 101

Event: Florida Legislature 101 with Rep. Anna Eskamani
Date: Tuesday, July 28
Time: 5:30 pm- 6:30 pm EST

Florida Representative Anna Eskamani and her team will host a virtual event for Floridians who want to know more about the inner workings of the Florida House of Representatives.

Sign up here for the ZOOM link or watch it livestreamed on Representative Anna Eskamani’s Facebook page.

Here are a few questions to be addressed on the legislative process:

  • How does an idea become a bill?
  • How does a bill become a law?
  • Who participates in the lawmaking process?
  • How can I become a strong advocate?
  • How is the lawmaking process in Florida different than other states?

This workshop will undoubtedly be of value for those who plan to participate in virtual UUJF team meetings with State Legislators in advance of the 2021 Legislative session.

Questions or concerns? Please reach out to District Secretary Lauren Cooper.



Climate Resilience Ministry Summer News

Two summer interns funded by the UU College of Social Justice are working with the UUJF Climate Resilience Ministry to provide support to community leaders/communities by collecting, formatting and displaying community data on community platforms as requested by the communities. Each also attends virtual meetings and serves as technical support. The UU College of Social Justice feels that having the experience of seeing the importance of data for communities in need and following the lead of community members is a valuable experience. The team is working with community organizations in Orange County (which includes the City of Orlando), Sarasota and Manatee counties with an emphasis on the neighborhood of Newtown in Sarasota, and Bay County.

Jan Booher explains that communities need data to talk about their concerns to people in the power structures. For example, Orange County and Bay County had limited capacity and resources regarding information. Now, with the community platforms and ways to organize data on those platforms, a community can assess their needs and make plans based on data. Then, they can show the data that supports the needs to organizations and government that can address the problems. For example: COVID-19 data was difficult to find regarding ethnicity and age by neighborhoods and zip codes. That information has been accessed and is being tracked. That information and community voices achieved more testing sites in hard hit areas and more assistance. The goal is to keep people healthy and safe.




The UU Ministry for Earth, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Green Sanctuary Program and the UU United Nations Office have launched the Create Climate Justice initiative, with three current priority focus areas:

  • Strengthening Unitarian Universalist communications and mutual support networks for Climate Justice
  • Mobilizing UUs in solidarity with Indigenous front-line communities
  • Supporting the Just Transition to an ecological civilization through partnerships and civic engagement

View the 39-minute Brookings Global webinar interview with Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability for Orlando.

The webinar Includes progress of Orlando Climate Plan, Environmental Justice, doubling down on Green Economic Development during COVID19, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) with the SDGs, getting more municipalities on board with sustainability, and funding sources for low income communities.

Note the timeline for some of the key parts of the interview so you don't have to listen to the whole thing - (even though every minute is really good)

0-3:30 - Dead time
13:00 - Air Quality, COVID, disproportionate inequities, electrifying bus system, moving away from coal and natural gas, building up solar
18:00 - Aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
20:00 - Reaching out regionally to include the seven nearby counties in the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, the East Central Florida Resilience Committee, Thrive Central Florida, and beyond to coordinate actions.
23:30 - Tips for working with more conservative governments
27:00 EJ in more depth.
31:00 Financial support for EJ communities, and home resilience

- and join the SLCC group in CCJnet to stay connected with UUs around the country engaged in strengthening and accelerating local climate actions.



HR 763, Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019

At its July 8 meeting the UU Justice Florida Board voted 5-0 to support HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. The bill would put a fee on carbon at the source, and return the dividend to the people. HR 763 has been supported by Citizens Climate Lobby This bill would reduce America's carbon emissions fast. Scientists, economists and climate advocates agree that it is simple, comprehensive and effective.


The 2020 RNC Convention scheduled for late August in Jacksonville is sure to become a COVID-19 superspreader event.

The Mayor and Sheriff of Jacksonville have said they cannot guarantee security for the Republican National Convention because planning is incomplete, funding is inadequate and not enough law enforcement officers are readily available.  Large partisan crowds will no doubt result in the deployment of anonymous Federal agents whose presence will most likely incite violence rather than maintain order.

Email Governor DeSantis and Mayor Curry and demand that they rescind invitations to host this event out of concern for the health and safety of Northeast Florida residents and convention participants.

Also email the Jacksonville City Council and express your opposition to proposed bill 2020-0399 on the agenda of the July 28 Council meeting that would enable and fund this ill-conceived and potentially catastrophic event.

Be sure to include your name, address and contact info.


Congregational Outreach

Social Justice Lecture Series
UU Congregation of Lake County
Event: Our Farm Workers: Essential or Expendable?
Date: Sunday, August 2
Time: 7 pm
Speaker: Jeannie Economos, Project Coordinator for the Farm Workers Association of Florida
Zoom presentations on Justice Issues are every 2 weeks.


Last week:
July 19: The Question of Race: Has Lake County Changed in 30 Years?
In the news: After two years of spirited conversation and action, a Confederate statue Being removed from the US Capitol building has finally been deemed unwelcome by the Lake County Commissioners.
The presenter concluded that everybody has “to be committed to having courageous conversations and dialogues and engage each other with honesty, open-mindedness, and vulnerability; to listen deeply to better understand each other’s perspective; and to ‘sustain the conversation when it gets uncomfortable or diverted or misunderstood."'



Amendment 4

Florida's Felony Disenfranchisement upheld by SCOTUS

On Thursday, July 16, the US Supreme Court refused to overturn a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocking a lower court decision that had struck down the Florida GOP's modern-day poll tax. As a result, the law is guaranteed to remain in effect for the state's Aug. 18 primary and likely for the November general election as well.

A federal district court judge had struck down this law as an unconstitutional poll tax, but the 11th Circuit stayed that ruling while Republicans appealed. Republicans passed the law in question last year after voters amended Florida's constitution in 2018 to end lifetime voter disenfranchisement for up to 1.4 million people who had served out sentences for all but the most serious crimes. This ruling means that almost all of the 1.4 million people need to pay all of their court costs and fees before registering to vote. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which spearheaded the Amendment 4 effort, estimates that only 6% of the former felons affected by Amendment 4 have been able to pay their fines and register to vote.

If you want to help the remaining 94% register and vote go to The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) website  and make a contribution toward their fines by clicking on Donate > Fines and Fees Fund.  Sixteen congregants from River of Grass UU Congregation have contributed.

Steve Jens-Rochow



Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the September newsletter to by August 15 for publication August 20.

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Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida
P.O. Box 1310  | Orange Park, Florida 32067
904-514-4304 |

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