Message from Rev. Richard ‘Bud’ Murphy, UUJF President

Just Saying 4/25/2021

Today, we are confronted by the life-threatening consequences of our human activity and human evolution is too slow of a process to provide solutions.  If we trust the science, much of our planet will become inhospitable to life by 2100, because of choices we are making today.  If we humans are to change the conditions leading to the destruction our planet, it will not be because we will have evolved physically.  The only change that can occur in time to save us will be in how we think and act, especially in how we handle conflict.

I’m convinced that every time we resolve real or imagined conflicts between stakeholders, we are moving in the right direction.  Our challenge will be managing our primal instincts, so that we can engage in a process where we identify both human and non-human stakeholders and their needs.  Only then are we able to discover solutions where the needs of all stakeholders are respected and met.

The first indication of a problem is when we encounter unacceptable behavior in ourselves or others.  Our next challenge is to figure out who is not getting their needs met because that stakeholder owns the problem.  If more then one stakeholder is not getting needs met we may have a conflict of needs.  This is usually when stakeholders push for a solution that meets their needs.  This either-or approach to problem solving usually results in unhappy stakeholders and solutions to problems that don’t stay solved.  This is also when primal instincts can push for a quick solution that meets our needs rather than taking the time to find solutions that meet the needs of all stakeholders.

Here is where being clear about the process is useful.  Distinguish between different processes.  What’s the problem?  Who owns the problem? What are possible solutions?  Are these solutions acceptable to all the stakeholders?  What’s the best combination of solutions that is most acceptable to all the stakeholders?  Don’t congratulate yourselves yet.  If the solution is going to happen, we need to clarify, who is going to do what, by when.  Finally, we need to set a time for evaluating how well the solution is working and modify the solution to make it even more acceptable to all stakeholders.  If we get better at resolving conflicts on small matters, we will be better at solving bigger matters.  Believe in the possibilities of solutions.  The surest path to a desirable and sustainable future is through the collective heart of a united humanity.

Time to bloom,

Bud Murphy, President of UU Justice Florida

 

Legislative Update

The 2021 Legislative session adjourned April 30 after passing more than 20 bills that will ultimately - 

  • diminish health outcomes and the quality of life of all Floridians,
  • threaten civil liberties and rights to free speech,
  • suppress citizens’ rights to vote,
  • preempt home rule to the state,
  • threaten Florida’s fragile environment,
  • marginalize and demonize members of the LGBTQI community,
  • expand proliferation of weapons and threaten public safety,
  • require religious practices in public schools, and/or
  • discourage executives of corporations and sports organizations from expanding operations or sponsoring events in Florida.

Action Alerts were published urging the Governor veto these bills.

To its credit, the Legislature did pass a bill establishing a database to record actions of police officer misconduct along with use of force standards to be incorporated in law enforcement agency policies.  These are just two of many police reforms advocated by the Black Caucus in response to the George Floyd murder.

In early Fall, you will receive a list of issues and concerns that have been introduced in previous years’ legislative sessions but died in committee. These bills represent missed opportunities to secure civil rights, protect the environment, provide for the health, safety and well-being of Floridians, support home rule, civic participation in government and the voting process.  Special focus will be placed on the redistricting process to reflect shifts in population recorded in the 2020 Census.

Members of UU Congregations and similarly focused community organizations are encouraged to form teams in the next few months to meet with their legislators in pre-session meetings next fall and early winter and ask that these findings be adopted into law.

Please drop a note to info@uujusticefl.org if you would like information, training or assistance in forming teams, creating agendas or talking points, making appointments or sharing your suggestions for improving Legislative Advocacy efforts.

 

Redistricting in Florida

Published results of the 2020 Census indicate that Florida will now have 30 members in the US House of Representatives.

 
 

The Fair District law requires that the 2022 session of the Florida Legislature draw impartial boundaries for congressional and legislative districts that are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries."

Join All ON THE LINE FLORIDA, LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, and the FLORIDA INDIVISIBLE NETWORK for a timely discussion of what we can do to prepare for redistricting and demanding a transparent and fair map drawing process for 2022.

When: Thursday, May 13th 7 pm to 8 pm

 

UUJF Climate Resiliency Ministry

I had the privilege of addressing the UU Fellowship of Bay County this Sunday on a service that included beautiful worship materials produced by the UU Ministry for Earth; skillfully coordinated by Charissa Thacker. I was asked to speak about Social Justice and Climate Change to this congregation that has been engaged in social justice in profoundly meaningful ways for decades and has joined our UUJF Legislative days in Tallahassee in numbers.

Here is the slide presentation for my presentation on Social Justice and Climate Change for UU Fellowship of Bay County on Sunday, April 25.

Climate Justice has evolved in the past decade from a discussion of how to convince people that the actions of people are causing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that is causing Earth to warm. The evolution of messaging has progressed to insurance and real estate discussions about sea level rise projections, and engineering projects that together comprise adaptation. This gave way to the understanding that we need to build resilience. We have now arrived at the point where many are suffering from the impacts of climate change. We now must protect the health and safety of those on the frontlines of climate change, many of whom live in low-income communities of color.

UU Justice Florida's Climate Resilience Ministry supports exceptional leaders in communities on the frontlines of climate change to measure and document climate impacts, lead discussion and planning efforts, and to inform residents about how to protect their health and safety on the frontlines of climate change.

Jan Booher, Director, UU Justice Florida Climate Resiliency Ministry

 

News and Events from the UUA, Congregations and Affiliated Organizations

 

Register now for the 100% virtual General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, June 23-27 . Participants will worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Registration is open to all.

Registration is $200 per person. Financial support for registration as well as a payment plan are available. General Assembly registrants receive access to the 2021 Online Participation Portal including live and on-demand video content, the virtual exhibit hall, chat features, support, and a (new!) GA mobile app.

Voting Rights - Georgia and Florida at GA: 2021 Ware Lecture: Stacey Abrams and Desmond Meade will be the Ware Lecture speakers on Saturday, June 26, 7 pm EDT.

 

UUA Draft Statement of Conscience on Undoing White Supremacy

The UU Association’s draft of this year’s Statement of Conscience, “Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action,” is now available for review and study. It calls for Unitarian Universalists to “engage in urgent action to confront the moral crisis of our time,” and is expected to be offered at this year’s virtual General Assembly, June 23-27

 

News and Events from Congregations

UU Congregation of Lake County (UUCLC)

Protecting and Enjoying Our Waterways Series - April, May and June
See taped April program and learn about the “Free the Ocklawaha Movement”.
One of the topics discussed in the Waterways series Social Justice and Environment presentation on April 11 was the Free the Ocklawaha Movement.
 
Upcoming:  "Managing Our Growth"
Speakers: Doug Shields, Lavon Silvernell, and Rob Kelly
When:  Sunday, May 9, 7pm – 9pm
After May 2, register here for "Managing our Growth"
 

Buckman Bridge UU Church and UU Church of Jacksonville are members of Jacksonville's ICARE (Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment), one of eleven Church Based Community Organizations in Florida cities connected with the DART (Direct Action Research & Training) Center. Three additional Florida cities are in the process of organizing DART affiliates. Each affiliate follows a yearly cycle of information gathering in the congregations, selection of issues to pursue, deep research about those issues, then challenging public officials to adopt programs or take actions that are needed.

Working together as a statewide coalition, DART organizations influenced the state legislature to enact a law in 2018 requiring law enforcement to issue Civil Citations to youths for a list of 12 common youthful offenses. That has significantly reduced the number of youths being arrested each year. The law also provided for Police in cooperation with State Attorneys to establish Adult Civil Citation programs. Some counties and judicial districts have established such a program, but not Jacksonville. If put in place, it would change the experience of approximately 10,000 adults arrested each year in Jacksonville for minor, non-violent offenses like driving with a suspended license or an expired license tag. These arrests currently cost individuals upwards of $1,500 to get their licenses back. At ICARE's Nehemiah Action Assembly April 19, State Attorney Nelson committed to work with ICARE and Sheriff Williams to develop an adult Civil Citations program. Sheriff Williams did not attend the Assembly but sent word the next day that he would work with State Attorney Nelson to develop this program.

Every issue ICARE addresses has a Steering Committee guiding the research activities. All three ICARE research committees active this year had a UU representative. Lois Hoeft, UU Church of Jacksonville, served on the State Collaborative committee that addressed Adult Civil Citations. Molly Brady of Buckman Bridge UU Church served on the Mental Health committee that addressed Crisis Intervention Team committee. Kenneth Christiansen also of Buckman Bridge UU Church served on the Crime, Drugs and Violence committee that addressed the Group Violence Intervention program.

Screen shot showing just a few of the 200 BBUUC AND UUCJ members participating in the 2021 Jacksonville Nehemiah Assembly.
 

Does your congregation participate in DART or ICARE? Please drop a note with a brief outline of your efforts to info@uujusticefl.org.

 

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Myers, the SWFL RESET Center and the Music & Arts Community Center welcomed the public to view this eye popping, heart opening quilted representation of the approximately 45,000 immigrants being held by ICE in detention every single day.

The quilt was the brainchild of Glen Ring, a member of the Human Rights Coalition in Concord, New Hampshire and was displayed April 23 and 24 in the beautiful UUCFM courtyard.  It gets people thinking and communicating “about humanity and people treating people humanely,” says Ring.

On Saturday afternoon, April 24, there was a program of live music and these speakers:

Maria Cardenas, Co-Founder of Immokalee Grassroots Movement for Immigration Rights
Erica Luque, Esq., Leading Latina, Inc., a non-profit working to empower the next generation of Latinos.
Lupe Gonzalo, member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).
 

Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the June newsletter to info@uujusticefl.org in time for publication May 25.

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Visit the UUJF website and UUJF Facebook group
View archived UUJF newsletters.
 
Does your congregation have an online sermon or event that addresses a Justice issue?
Is your congregation involved in upcoming social justice initiatives in our area? Send us a link or more information to publicize your programs and actions.
 

Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida Action Network
P.O. Box 1310 | Orange Park, Florida 32067
  info@uujusticefl.org

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