Message from Rev. Richard ‘Bud’ Murphy, UUJF President
Just Saying 10/2020
Sometimes we may find ourselves questioning the validity of what others think, feel and do. We ask, “How can they think that way? Why do they promote beliefs that seem to defy common sense, let alone the established principles of science?”
In thoughtful moments, we may question who we are, and why we have inclinations to certain thoughts, feelings and actions. While most behavioral experts consider self-knowledge, a part of wisdom they also admit it is not easy to achieve. Like the nature of human consciousness, the nature of self is a challenge to understand. The Eastern philosophers invite us to be the observer as we move through life. They encourage us to examine what we consider to be true, while at the same time to recognize that once we designate something as true we are inclined to cling to that conclusion and filter our future observations to reinforce the validity of our truth.
Our truth with its resistance to change includes our truth about our own lovableness and the lovableness of others. For most, these truths are established early in our lives and rarely questioned. In fact, we humans have developed ways of being in relationship that reinforce those early conclusions. Our lives follow a script that we adopted in our childhood. Reviewing the script gives us the opportunity of change for the better.
As our country undergoes the forces of political, economic and ecological struggle we each feel the stress of uncertainty which tends to make us resistance to change just at the point when it would be useful for us to increase our ability to look at the world from a variety of perspectives and to acknowledge the experience of others even when they seem out of touch with our reality.
Many studies report that mindfulness practices, activities that encourage calm restore our resilience and increase our plasticity, our ability to adapt to change. I’m taking breaks from the 24-7 news. I’m focusing on breathing and the validity of just being for a few moments. Join me. I’ll see you on the other side ready to nurture the Earth, our only home.
Once the November general election is in the history books, it will be time to turn our attention the the 2021 session of the Florida Legislator beginning early next March.
Here is a brief outline for a suggested strategy and timetable to maximize our impact. The current pandemic will necessitate a few changes from how we have approached this effort in the past but, with your input and participation, we will establish relationships with members of the newly elected Legislature and make our voices heard.
Form small teams of advocates for progressive legislation with members of your congregation
Network with others from likeminded organizations such as a local Indivisible group, FL-iCAN, Sierra Club, ACLU, Equality Florida, LWV, NOW, Moms Demand Action and immigration reform groups to name just a few
Review the 2020 Legislative Advocacy Agenda for 2020 on theUUJF Website
Suggest additions or changes to the Legislative Advocacy Agenda from you as an individual or in consultation with members of your team and send them email@example.com
Plan to participate in a December virtual training session (date and time to be determined) to review a revised Legislative Advocacy Agenda and suggestions for holding virtual meetings with your Legislators
After the new Legislators are sworn in on November 17 and an updated Legislative Advocacy Agenda is circulated and posted on the UUJF Website, make an appointment for your group for a virtual meeting with your House and Senate Legislators sometime in January or early February.
Encourage members of your congregation who are not receiving UUJF newsletters to sign up so they will receive targeted Action Alerts as bills are introduced and referred to committees for hearings.
Regrettably, the pandemic and sheltering in place will not permit us to hold our annual Legislative Day event in Tallahassee in 2021. However, we feel that strong UUJF member support and participation in the above will more than compensate for not being able to meet in person next year.
Of course, if you are satisfied with the status of education for our children, availability of and affordability of health care, public safety and human rights in Florida then feel free to ignore the above.
In order to receive targeted Action Alerts, your current address must be in the UUJF mailing list data base. If——is not your correct 9-digit Zip+4 address code please update your current street address on the UUJF website Take Action page.
UU Justice Florida joined the ZOOM world in October
Susan Leslie, UUA Congregational Advocacy and Witness Director, reported on Justice GA 2020 and Justice 2021. Most of the items reported here were mentioned in her talk. Watch for the recorded program on our website soon.
The Board was also pleased that UU Conversations presented their Introductory program on Being a Social Ally-From Ally to Advocate to Partner. Look for that on our website soon.
Susan also shared the following inspiring story about the First Unitarian Church of Louisville:
Louisville, KY (AP) –The story of how the First Unitarian Church of Louisville flung open its doors to protesters who marched for justice for Breonna Taylor began years before the helicopters swirled overhead, before police in riot gear began marching up the alley.
On October 1st, Harvest Moon rose shortly after sunset in the Northern Hemisphere. This burst of evening light provides an extended time for farmers to harvest summer crops and plant new seeds for the Fall season.
What and how have you grown this summer --- personally, in connection to your community, and in connection to movement uprisings for justice?
Unitarian Universalists are invited to mark this seasonal transition by reflecting on this question in the Harvest moonlight, and setting intentions to Harvest the Power of community this Fall through a sprint of collective action and faith formation weaving together all Unitarian Universalist justice ministries. This is a shared endeavor between UUA, Side with Love, UU the Vote, and UUMFE
Join Special guests Joanne Pérodin Climate Justice Program Manager of The New Florida Majority, Nicole Pressley UU the Vote National Campaign Manager, and Allison Hess UUA International Engagement Associate. This event is sponsored by The New Florida Majority, UU The Vote, Create Climate Justice, The UU Association Office at the United Nations and The UU Ministry For Earth.
UUs have made over 1.3 million voter contacts - working with frontline groups - building relationships for the long haul. In Florida - New Florida Majority (NewFM) - started with just Florida UUs making calls in Broward County and elsewhere where primaries included races for state attorneys in every county and sheriff in many. Guided conversations were about police violence, criminal legal reform, and systemic racism.
UUtheVote started by calling people of color and later assisted NewFM to expand its base by calling white people who had indicators that would resonate with UU values. (party affiliation, independent, ballot initiative supporter, zip code location, answers from previous phone banks, canvasses). Later national phone banks focused on issues of voter suppression, helping people make a voting plan, Get absentee ballots etc.
In October, 120 folks from Florida have participated in phone banking including volunteers from UU Miami and All Faiths Fort Myers.
Two million contacts by the UUtheVote initiative (UUs and the lead partners) is the goal for Election Day.
UUtheVote in partnership with New Florida Majority has scheduled two more national phone banks - Sign up here for the final Get Out the Vote phone banks to Florida on Oct. 27 and/or Nov. 2
UN Day in Gainesville
“The Future We Want; The United Nations We Need”
Saturday, October 24, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, on ZOOM
This annual event is co-sponsored by the UU Fellowship of Gainesville Social Justice Council
Theme: “The Future We Want; The United Nations We Need”
• Dr. Kwame Akonor, Author, Associate Professor, Seton Hall University
Topic: “Re-imagining the United Nations”
Enforcing Human Rights, Challenging Institutional Racism, Creating a 21st Century Security Council
• Sophia Rodriguez, UNA-USA Fellow; International Relations, University of Florida
Topic: “A World of Global Justice”
• Envisioning a world of equality & justice for all.
• Jeffrey Weisberg, Executive Director, River Phoenix Center for Peace BuildingTopic: “International Peace” International peace begins with peace building in the local community, schools, prisons, law enforcement.
UU Fellowship of Gainesville and UUtheVote are partnering ---
Voter Caravans urged citizens to vote early this year by participating in car caravans. having been and encouraging voting. The last Caravan will be October 25, 2:15 pm drive through Northeast Gainesville. Signs were taped to car windows encouraging voting.
Turn, Turn, Turn: UUA Southern Region Virtual Assembly 2020
Saturday, November 14, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Join your Southern Region staff team and sibling Unitarian Universalist congregations in the Southern Region for a day of collaboration and learning! UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray will be our keynote speaker in the morning.
Afternoon workshops include:
• Widening the Circle of Concern with Kathy McGowan and Rev. Nato Hollister
• What's Next? The Changing Congregational Landscape with Natalie Briscoe and Connie Goodbread
• Small Group Ministry and Membership Paths with Cameron Young and Lillian Drab-Braddick