Friend,

October, 2020

Editor’s Note:

As we mourn in sorrow the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her unyielding struggle for the rights of women, minorities and the disenfranchised, let us honor her legacy and call on  Senators Rubio and Scott to fulfill her last wish she shared with us: "That I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
Text ‘Senate’ to 50409, follow the prompts, and send a message urging both Senators to oppose any and all efforts to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by RBG until after the 2021 inauguration.
Or you can celebrate RGB's legacy with action and sign on to this LETTER CAMPAIGN that will be delivered to Florida Senator's Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.

 

 

UUJF invites you –

Getting Ready for After the Election Two Zoom Programs October 1 and October 15

Oct. 1, 7:00 pm  

GA 2020 Justice Takeaway & UU Justice Guide 101

Presenter: Susan Leslie, Congregational Advocacy and Witness Director, UUA
Registration required. Free. 60 minutes
Actions taken at General Assembly will be discussed-questions welcome:

Susan Leslie will expand on the following General Assembly actions:

  • During the first all-virtual General Assembly annual gathering, delegates of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) voted for its member congregations to find alternatives to policing and to pursue police abolition within Unitarian Universalist justice work.
  • General Assembly delegates also voted to name the harm of 400 years of colonization and actively work to repair its impact as an Action of Immediate Witness to support Indigenous peoples and repair the harms of colonization.
  • The General Assembly agreed to extend the current Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI), Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy.

In addition, Susan Leslie will offer a review of current justice opportunities at the UUA.

As you know, Standing on the Side of Love, UUA’s most recognized Justice initiative, is now Stand with Love and Love Resists.   Attend to hear current information about: ARE, BLUU, CUUSAN, UUMFE, UUSC, UUCSJ, UUSJ and more.

Register here to receive ZOOM links for one or both events.

Susan Leslie, UUA Congregational Advocacy and Witness Director

Susan has worked in the UUA’s national social justice and multicultural staff teams since 1991. Prior to her service at the UUA’s national office, she worked as a research associate for the New England Municipal Center, a community organizer with the New Hampshire People’s Alliance and a Boston-based free-lance organizer.

 

 

Oct. 15, 7:00 pm

From Social Class Ally to Accomplice & Partner Workshop

Presenters: UU Class Conversations team (90 minutes) - Free

In this short, fast-moving and highly interactive online workshop, you will discover how social class and classism have shaped our lives, our beloved faith community, and the organizations we are part of and support. By first examining our own class backgrounds, we will gain an understanding of the strengths and limitations we bring to our work to challenge injustice, white supremacy and inequality.

 We will also examine the ways that oppressions intersect to exacerbate inequality and learn how individually and collectively, as class allies, accomplices and partners, we can eliminate barriers to a just, equitable society. As we look outward, we will also discover together how to become a more class inclusive faith community.

Register here to receive ZOOM links for one or both events.

 

 

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

Just Saying 09/2020

“What do you want to sustain or create?”  In a 09/03/20 email Darrick Jackson, Director of Ministries for Lifelong Learning reflecting on the death of Chadwick Boseman, posits this question.  He says, “All of us are being asked to choose, if we will continue the inherited cultural norms and structures grounded in systems of oppression or create something different. And if we create something new, how do we acknowledge our ancestors and recognize that they made grave mistakes?  I am clear that I want a better future, and even more, a better present.

And I have work to do to be a part of that transformation, both internally and in the world. In this pivotal moment at the intersection of COVID, Black Lives Matter, defund the police, and the presidential election, what world do you want to sustain or create? He ends with this prayer,

Goddess of Chaos, God of the crossroads, Spirit of Change,
Where do we go from here?
Everything is in upheaval.
The systems developed for support and safety
Are no longer focused on us.
And for many never were.
Every day we are reminded of the haves and have nots,
The coveted and the discarded.
We are called to sustain things as they are,
or rebuild it all,
And every option in between.
What path do we choose?
Guide us, holy one, in our discernment
Help us find our deepest values, our north star
And guide us along the next stage of our journey.
Blessed Be

 

While we strive to be the Beloved Community, our well-intentioned efforts to hold ourselves and each other accountable to our shared values, are vulnerable to repeating the “grave mistakes” of our ancestors.  While failure is inevitable, continuing our biological and cultural heritage of “might makes right” or any form of oppression can leaves us locked in a “winner take all” contest of who can use power to persuade those “others” into embracing our position, or more likely compliant and resentful, and plotting the next round of resistance and conflict. 

UUJF is currently engaged in a discernment exercise.  We are attempting to form consensus around what we hope to sustain or create.  We have generated a list of what we observe to be our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  We are striving to see UUJF through the eyes of our constituents and refine our lists into an action plan for the future.  You are our constituents.  We attempt to represent you in our efforts at influencing legislation here in the State of Florida and beyond.  If you have an observation that you think is relevant, please share it by sending us an email message. 

Vicky Robins from the Post Carbon Institute in an article entitled “What Could Possibly Go Right?” presents an example of the struggle for discernment and the urgency of the moment.  She leads off with a quote from Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” inviting us to take advantage of the moment. 

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat.” 

Stay tuned to see the results of our discernment and how you can contribute to a better future.

Richard “Bud” Murphy, Pres. UUJF

 

UUJF Board Actions

The UUJF Board has accepted invitations to collaborate with the following organizations in support of their efforts detailed below.

Florida Voices for Health in support of Medicaid Expansion.

The Faithful Democracy Coalition in support of a broad array of democracy reforms to create fair, functional, and healthy democratic systems as detailed in its Voters Covenant.

In addition, UUJF President, Rev. Bud Murphy, has co-signed signed a Position Statement on HIV and COVID-19 on behalf of the UUJF Board addressed to lawmakers and decision-makers of the state stating that the fight against HIV must remain at the forefront of the State’s priorities in light of threats to public health posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Voters’ Guide to Proposed Amendments on the 2020 Ballot

The UUJF Board has endorsed a ‘YES’ vote on Proposed Amendments 2, 5 and 6 and ‘NO’ votes on proposed Amendments 1, 3 and 4. Click here for a ballot summary and comments.

The first Florida National Phonebank made over 1000 calls and had over 500 conversations! The goal is to double that number at our next national phonebank to Florida Voters on Thursday, September 29th, 7:00 - 9:00 pm ET.

Sign up here

 

 

Congregational Outreach

Being Poor Is Expensive-Banking services coming to Laurel Neighborhood of Venice - major partnership brings hope

L to R: UUCOV President Pamela MacFarlane, UUCOV Minister Rev. Khleber Van Zandt and UUCOV member Rosemary Hagen delivered the $20,320 donation to Michael Fluker, Executive Director of the Laurel Civic Association for LCA’s new Hand Up program.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice (UUCOV) has a history of partnering with the Laurel Neighborhood of Venice, Florida.  This neighborhood, mostly people of color, is economically challenged and has been systematically denied access to resources that many take for granted. The Laurel Civic Association during discussions with the congregation asked for assistance in securing the initial funding for an “Empowerment Program” to bring banking services to their “unbanked, underbanked and underserved” citizens.  They sought to bring basic services to our neighbors -check cashing, checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and savings accounts.

This need for banking services for minority populations has been written about nationally.  The Federal Government in the early 1980’s established Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).  CDFIs have in their charters the mandate to serve underserved areas.  The Laurel Civic Association entered into an agreement with such an institution contingent on our ability to raise sufficient funds to underwrite such an endeavor in its initial phase.

The congregation had spent several years reading, studying and attending lectures about racial inequality and our white privilege and despite challenges, such as a pandemic and a sabbatical leave of our minister, the Board unanimously supported an effort to raise $20,000 to fund this initiative.  This was our most ambitious social justice fund raiser in the life of this congregation.

In June, 2020 a fund raiser was initiated asking for our congregation to support this endeavor.  By August 1st, the Social Justice Team was so proud to announce that we had exceeded our goal.  Later in August congregational leaders met with Michael Fluker, Executive Director of Laurel Civic Association, to present the donation.

Mr Fluker announced that the program, once implemented in early October, will be called Hand Up and “will provide the needed tools for education and support to establish financial stability and improve our clients’ financial health.  If we are to break the cycles of poverty in our community, we must intercede on behalf of the people living on the margins of society.  Financial growth brings security and a sense of hope in what the future might hold”.

UUCOV is grateful for the Social Justice Team for providing the opportunity to the congregation to fulfill its  mission to be a caring community, pursuing justice.

 

 

Orange Origami Cranes Honoring Victims of Gun Violence  

In 2018, Amanda Cook, an artist and poet in Gloucester, Massachusetts, initiated an art project to remember the victims of gun violence in the U.S. (over 37,000 each year). Her goal was to collect and exhibit 37,000 orange origami cranes as a symbol of hope and healing. Cook’s announcement spread to origami enthusiasts nationwide.

Bonnie Hurley, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, Florida  (UUCOV) learned of the project through her involvement with Origami USA. Hurley shared her own knowledge and passion of origami to teach adults and young teens from the congregation and wider community how to make the paper cranes through a series of trainings. The intergenerational origami activity meant our youth got to be involved with the adults on a social justice project. Even the young children in RE learned about the Japanese tradition of folding 1000 cranes for good fortune from the book, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr, which was part of their peace curriculum. In addition to using origami paper sent by Cook, the folders cut squares from orange construction paper, calendars, magazines, and catalogs.  The first flock of origami cranes from UUCOV flew north in June 2019. Recently they made a third donation, which brought the group’s contribution to Cook’s exhibit, so far, to nearly 3,000 cranes.

Orange has long been used as a symbol for both danger and safety and people involved with taming the epidemic of gun violence in the United States are encouraged to wear orange on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, which takes place every first weekend of June.  Go to wearorange.org for additional information.

The art project continues to gratefully accept donations of folded cranes from individuals or organizations.  If your congregation would like further information about the origami crane project, visit https://orangeorigamicranes.blogspot.com/  At the current time, the artist for this project, Amanda Cook, has received approximately 20,000 orange cranes and is looking forward to more to complete her art project which we expect to get national attention.

 

 

A training program led by Bonnie Hurley (front row holding placard) with UUCOV adults and teens.

 

 

Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the November newsletter to info@uujusticefl.org by Oct 15 for publication Oct 20.

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Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida Action Network
P.O. Box 1310  | Orange Park, Florida 32067
904-514-4304 | info@uujusticefl.org

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