UU Justice Florida offers Unitarian Universalist members and friends the opportunity to continue your engagement with Florida government. If you have local interests, you have state interests because state legislation and state funding facilitate or restrict local government.
The Monday orientation is a networking opportunity, a learning opportunity and an easy way to acquire “Getting Around the Capitol 101” information. You will receive handouts and talking points for bills on the UUJF Tracker spreadsheet.
Monday evening you will hear presenters from UU Fellowship of Bay County (UUFBC) and from the Leadership, Empowerment and Authentic Development Coalition of Bay County (LEAD) regarding their many efforts to address the housing crisis and hurricane homelessness.
Tuesday starts with a group photo, scheduled meetings with your representative and senator or their staff members. Committees may be meeting, and you may wish to attend and possibly speak. The House or Senate may be in session.
Besides your own elected official, you may want to visit “friends” of bills you support and personally communicate your support. You may also suggest that a friendly representative to co-sponsor a bill that your representative is sponsoring. Be creative.
On Tuesday, youth from Panama City will appreciate your support in amplifying their message as they meet with legislators to share their stories of Coming of Age in the Eye of Michael and to support SB502 to study and fund Hurricanes recovery efforts. The PhotoVoice project, partnered with LEAD Coalition of Bay County, and supported by UUJF and UUSC, will present the photographs of 10 high schoolers to answer these questions:
What has home been for you since Hurricane Michael?
What has shelter meant for you? and
What makes you feel at home?
In case you have yet to find ways to learn about Tallahassee and the state, you may wish to check out the following:
The Florida Channel - Capitol Update is a half-hour public affairs program that airs nightly when the Florida Legislature is in session and weekly the remainder of the year.
The Bills-2020 tab on the Legislative Tracker lists over 150 bills of interest. The challenge that members of UUJF and its network of advocates face is to persuade Committee chairs to place these bills on agendas of committees to which they have been referred. Over 90% of bills we support will die unless we can muster sufficient committee member support to ensure passage in each of their committee stops on their way to votes on the House or Senate Floors. Beginning this week, subscribers to this list will receive targeted Action Alerts with talking points and contact info addressed to constituents of members of committees to which these bills have been referred.
In order to receive a targeted Alert, your address and complete ZIP+4 address code must be in the mailing list data base. If this is not your correct 9-digit ZIP+4 address code (Zip Code) you will not receive targeted Action Alerts unless you sign up with your street address and 9 digit ZIP code on the UUJF website Take Action page. Don't know your 9-digit ZIP+4? Look it up here
CLIMATE STRIKES CONTINUE—December 6 is an important date
SUNRISE MOVEMENT is holding a US national strike on December 6 that will support a Green New Deal. Support our youth and our environment.
News from Florida Unitarian Universalist Congregations
A Whole New World — FLORIDA's Immigration Crisis
December 7 - 10:30 am to 12:00 noon
The Vista Center, 2300 North Jog Road, West Palm Beach
Healing Justice of UU Fellowship of Boca Raton (UUFBR), as part of its work to help dismantle racism of all kinds (overt hate crimes to institutional and structural racism) chose to focus on immigration issues this year. This event features experts on the immigration crisis in Florida and is part of the Cool Series sponsored by the League of Women Voters. There is no charge for this program. Click here for program information and registration.
For Live Streaming: Go to Facebook. On the search bar type in League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County, Florida You will go to the LWV page. Click on the video.
The UU Church of Jacksonville (UUCJ) has been officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, effective October 15, 2019. The architect was Robert Broward who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and was influenced by his work. This listing was based on some of the unique architectural features of the building, UUCJ’s social justice ministry history and its present-day mission as well as its decision to stay in Arlington and promote the renaissance of the neighborhood.
Every Voice and every Vote Counts – Actions in Sarasota and Clay Counties
UUs speak out against 2019 redistricting in Sarasota County
Thanks to UU Congregation of Venice UUs Rebecca Leas, Kindra Muntz and Marty King (who came in a wheelchair!) November 19th to speak at the Public Hearing of the Board of County Commissioners against the proposed redistricting of the county in 2019, along with 6 other UUs who joined 200 people to pack the hall. Thirty-six residents in total from all over the county spoke against this rushed effort, which used flawed data, and a map created by a former GOP Chair who had been convicted of fraud in a prior election. It became clear this was simply a brazen effort to gerrymander the districts so the current Commissioners could retain power.
Read the whole story and see the video of the November 19 Sarasota BCC Special meeting.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune summarized the results in this editorial.
Despite this setback, it is important that people are standing up, making their voices heard, and speaking truth to power. We the People should choose our elected officials, not have elected officials choose their voters. We must encourage principled people to run for office.
Clay County speaks out and Commissioners listen
At its November 26 meeting, the Clay County Board of County Commissioners passed a watered-down substitute resolution declaring “Clay County’s support of the Second Amendment and opposition to infringement of the right to bear arms.” The Clay BCC Board Chair acknowledged that inflammatory language in the original resolution declaring “Clay County as a Second Amendment Sanctuary” was deleted in response to over 80 emails and phone calls from members of Moms Demand Action, Clay Indivisible and the Buckman Bridge UU Church that were sent to their Commissioners protesting this resolution.
Over a dozen members of these organizations spoke at the meeting saying their goal was to protect public safety and not to take guns from responsible gun owners’ homes.
Both actions underscore the impact and influence that citizens and constituents have on public policy when acting in concert to make our progressive voices heard.
UUJF and affiliated organizations
News from the Coalition of UU State Action Networks (CUUSAN)
CUUSAN is a central meeting place for UU Justice Florida and 21 other UU State Action Networks (SANs) as well as newly forming SANs. CUUSAN seeks to give voice to UU State Action Networks and support their efforts in upholding UU principles through social action.
UUs from around the country are coming together to attend the #UUtheVote Launch on January 12. The UUA National #UUtheVote Team will be hosting a nation-wide Zoom call and are asking people to watch in groups at their congregations, at house parties, and on-line. Grants for UUtheVote will be available starting in January 2020 for local groups for their registration efforts and voting outreach.
Click here for more information about the campaign, UU Funding Program GOTV grants, and a video message from UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray.
Write Here, Write Now
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice Advocacy Corps conducts regular monthly visits to Capitol Hill on the second Tuesday of the month delivering letters from members of UU Congregations around the country on topics of immediate interest. Issues through next March are:
WHWNSunday, December 8 - Address climate change through tax incentives for clean energy to slow greenhouse gas emissions
Mid-December through February 27 for March 10 Advocacy Day - Special Migrant Justice nationwide letter-writing event in partnership with the UU Service Committee.
To sign up your congregation, contact Lavona M. Grow, Advocacy Program Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-786-5206 mobile, 202-600-9132 UUSJ office
Can a football protest help address climate change? Advocate for divestment at your school!!!
On November 23rd, over 200 students, faculty and alumni from Harvard and Yale staged a sit-in at half-time at the annual Harvard-Yale football game in New Haven, Ct. One UU from Venice joined alumni from both universities to watch the game on TV in Sarasota.
Kindra Muntz, H ’65, said “I am proud of the current students and faculty who support Divest Harvard. It’s time that our university takes meaningful action to address the existential threat of climate change.”
The University of California system, with its 80-billion-dollar portfolio, announced September 17th that it will end its investment in fossil fuels, thus joining Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts, which committed to ending their investments in fossil fuels in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Middlebury College voted in January 2019 to divest as well. Columbia, Stanford and Georgetown have divested from coal companies.
Have any colleges or universities in Florida considered joining the divestment movement as well? Can you identify alumnae/i to reach out to them? The sustainability of our planet is at stake. Click here for basic information and here for a report of the sit-in at the football game.
Submitted by Kindra Muntz, UUJF Past President
Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the January newsletter to email@example.com by December 26.
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