Message from Rev. Bud Murphy, President of UU Justice Florida
I asked a friend about a communication plan I'd seen. She asked, who are you trying to reach and what would you like them to do as a result of your message? She also recommended that UUJF look for coalitions with other organizations aligned with our purpose and values. Her comments helped me understand why we publish this e-newsletter and why we are reaching out to individuals and groups who potentially share our values and are willing to take an active role in our educational and legislative advocacy work.
We currently have three broad areas of focus relevant to the State of Florida.
1) Environmental Justice - Empowering marginalized communities by identifying current community leaders. Raising awareness about environmental threats. Supporting more accurate monitoring of environmental pollution by members of those communities, encouraging the sustainable use of resources and fostering greater community resilience in the face of extreme climate events and sea rise.
2) The health of our democracy through various election reforms
3) Human health and welfare through universally accessible healthcare
Our legislative advocacy is guided by efforts to track relevant Bills and provide action alerts at key points in the process. Our volunteer network members build relationships with their local District Representatives in the Senate and House.
We support community organizing by identifying relevant funding sources, assisting in successful grant applications and building grassroots citizen networks to identify and implement proactive and remedial actions in environmentally vulnerable communities.
Our legislative advocacy culminates is an annual Legislative Day when volunteers travel to the Capital in Tallahassee. The day before we meet with our Representatives or their staff, we gather at the UU Church of Tallahassee and strengthen our connections with one another. We clarify our focus and conduct role plays to prepare for the next day.
This year Jan Booher, who directs our Community Resilience Ministry obtained funding and organized a Photo-Journalism Project. She provided inexpensive cameras to a group of young adults impacted by recent hurricane devastation and their continued homelessness. She asked them to create journals with photos and essays depicting their experience. A number of them attended the Legislative Day and highlighted the need for continued funding for follow-up assistance and the importance of preparing for similar future events. Jan helps write grant applications for relevant groups and is currently working with 100 Black Women, a group seeking a grant to monitor air quality in the Paramore neighborhood of Orlando, Florida.
On March 13 and 14 of 2020 we will participate in an iCAN Conference with the theme of building Blue Green Communities. If you want to see UU values in action, plan to attend. This is a link to the Registration.
If you are looking for a way to make a difference, we welcome your contributions and your willingness to volunteer. Let's tailor an opportunity with you to experience the power of united informed action.
With just two weeks remaining in the 2020 session here’s a quick recap along with a heads up for what lies ahead.
There are 200 bills on the Legislative Tracker that have not been placed on their respective committee agendas. Thus, passage this year is extremely unlikely.
A big disappointment has been the passage of the Parental Consent for Abortion bill in the Senate. House passage and Governor approval are expected.
Regrettably, bills preempting municipal and county regulations and restrictions to the State are progressing as are bills limiting citizen initiatives to amend the State Constitution. Bills funding and supporting charter schools are also making progress diverting funds from public education. While Senate bills calling for criminal sentencing reform have been favorably received, their House companion bills are languishing in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
On the brighter side, several bills protecting Florida’s waters and funding land conservation are moving forward.
Here are several suggestions for those committed to incorporating UU principals into law and public policy.
Respond to targeted Action Alerts with E-mails and calls to legislators on committees to which these bills have been referred.
Urge Committee Chairs to place bills of interest on their respective Committee agendas.
The theme for General Assembly in June 2020 is Rooted, Inspired, & Ready! We are in touch with our theological roots, we are engaged in transforming our faith and we are fired up to take action in the wider world. Naomi Klein has been chosen to give the historic Ware Lecture.
Early registrationis now open, with adult full-time registration for $400 through March 15.
April 24-26 Revolutionary Love in Washington, D.C.
All Souls Church Unitarian in Washington, DC, will have the pleasure of hosting Revolutionary Love: Toward a More Perfect Union, a multi faith, multicultural conference dedicated to just that: helping us build the vision, deepen our partnerships, and get fired up for the work ahead. With inspiring movement-builders like Ruby Sales, Valarie Kaur, angel Kyodo Williams, Traci Blackmon, Brian McLaren, Linda Sarsour, William Barber, and more, we will gather to learn, strategize, and share best practices for liberating our democracy.
Community Screening of The Condor & Eagle for World Water Day
UU Ministry for Earth is honored and proud to be an Executive Producer of the award-winning documentary, The Condor and The Eagle, and has set a goal of holding as many UU community film screenings on (or around) World Water Day (Sunday, March 22) as possible.
Click here to view the movie trailer and for information on scheduling a screening in your congregation.
In states all across the country UUs are using the non-partisan lists at Vote Forward or Reclaim Our Voteto send thousands of letters and postcards to get people registered and voting this year.
If you’re already in motion to #UUtheVote, make sure you’rereporting your activitiesso we can tell our collective story and celebrate our accomplishments.
If you or your congregation is still in planning mode, we have two online meetings on March 5 with UU the Vote's Susan Leslie, Pamela Coukos from the Reeb Voting Project at All Souls Church, DC, and others to share How to Get Started with #UUtheVote. Join us March 5 at either 12pm or 8pm Eastern Time:
It’s all part of the lead-up to our own SUUPER Tuesday on March 31 when congregations will finalize their goals as part of our collective effort. (Check out the individual and congregationplanning guides for help).
Getting out the Vote Screening Opportunity
Screenings are a great way to educate your community, motivate your constituents to take action, or to raise money for your cause. Consider partnering with community groups to sponsor a showing.
Suppressed: The Fight to Vote, a new documentary by Robert Greenwald (Director of Outfoxed, Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price, and Making A Killing: Guns, Greed, & the NRA) Runtime: 38 minutes