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

Just Saying 8/28/2021

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven.

At this time of year there is a sense of beginning in congregational life.  Based partly on the natural turn of the seasons and rooted in an early agrarian America, deeply dependent on the seasons. 

In our Unitarian Universalist tradition, we revisit this seasonal awareness.  People return from summer holiday; students start back to school and, in many congregations, we celebrate the Ingathering Water Communion ceremony.  Members bring water representing their home or a place they have visited and pour it into a common vessel as a representation of their mingling of diverse needs and resources and the recognition that a loving community is a source of strength and resilience.

Our human experience is embedded in this flow.  We depend on these rhythms for renewal and momentum.  When disconnected from natures cycles, we create our own.  

Sometimes our contemporary world obliterates the natural rhythms, and in their place, we experience an unrelenting barrage of information, too often triggering emotional alarm.  Triggered often enough, we can become emotionally depleted and sink into depression.  If we mention to a friend that we get depressed from consuming the 24 x 7 news cycle, our friend offers simple advice.  “Stop doing that.”  I offer the same advice.  Today’s Internet and Cable News shows are designed to capture our attention and what better way than to portray the global crises of human suffering.  If we are to survive and function, we must limit the amount of our exposure.  This is not a denial of the suffering, but a recognition of the importance of an ebb in the flow to our wellbeing.  

From a historical perspective, our lack of knowledge and ineffective response contributed to the bubonic plagues, and pandemics of global consequence.  Some suggest that our experience with the Black Death prepared us for a surge in scientific investigation and discoveries that contributed to the Age of Enlightenment and accelerated development in the arts and sciences.  

We will hopefully come out of this current pandemic cycle before we experience the dire consequences projected.  Whether in our congregations or beyond, may we learn from the mistakes of others and save ourselves from learning from our own mistakes.  Find out more about how you can help move us toward a desirable sustainability by getting involved with UUJF initiatives in this season of new beginnings. One of our Unitarian Values is the primacy of reason. May it be so.


Richard “Bud” Murphy, UUJF Pres.

 

Legislative Update

The 2022 Legislative Session convenes January 11, preceded by six weeks of committee meetings beginning the week of Sept. 20 and ending the week of Nov. 29.

If you are meeting with your legislators in their offices, virtually or in County Delegation meetings, you may find the items on the Legislative Advocacy page helpful in framing your discussion.

Watch for targeted Action Alerts to express your support or opposition when key bills are placed on committee agendas for your Legislators to vote on.

Please drop a note to info@uujusticefl.org if you would like help in forming teams, in creating agendas or talking points or to offer suggestions on improving Legislative Advocacy efforts.

Redistricting Process starts in September 2021

Months overdue, key U.S. Census numbers were released Thursday, August 19, 2021, that will allow Florida lawmakers to begin the process of redrawing congressional and legislative districts for the state’s 21.5 million residents.

“I would like to be optimistic about this current redistricting cycle,” said Ellen Freidin, leader of the FairDistricts Florida Movement and CEO of FairDistricts Now, Inc. “So far, the Legislature has not given us any reason to be optimistic that the Fair Districts amendments will be adhered to. But we always remain hopeful and are looking forward, as I’m sure you are, to watching this process unfold.”

The House and Senate plan to have a joint website to provide detailed information to the public. Also, input will be gathered during committee meetings held in advance of the 2022 legislative session. Lawmakers are expected to approve final maps during the session, which will start in January.

House Speaker Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) advised members to “stand by” as the website, which will provide interactive maps and a place for constituents to submit input, will be rolled out before the Sept. 20 start of committee weeks.   WUSF Published Aug. 13, 2021

No action yet. But stay aware and be ready to advocate for fair districting by contacting your elected representatives.

 

UUJF Climate Resiliency Ministry

This summer the 2021 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grant Team led by Lawanna Gelzer , Project Manager, Dr. Wanda Jones and Jan Booher, UUJF director held a successful virtual and in person team meeting to brief the community members and the stakeholders on the EPA Justice Grant Project regarding Self-Reported Air Quality Survey Results.

The survey had a total of 180 respondents in 3 historic African American communities, Parramore, Mercy Drive and Holden Heights in Orlando. The self-reported survey captured important baseline data, such as data respiratory health of respondents and their families., health care access, basic need for health and safety, respondents’ history of place and knowledge and perception questions. 

The results showed that more than half of respondents either strongly agree or agree that they are worried about air quality in their home (50.2%), that indoor air quality can have a negative impact on people’s health (60.6%) and that indoor air quality is affected by outdoor air quality (71.9%). More than half of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that there was nothing they could do to change their indoor air quality (63.2%), that they were not concerned about their home’s indoor air quality (68.1%) and that indoor air quality doesn’t affect people’s health (70.8%).

The survey was not only informative but also empowered the local community members by teaching them how to measure air quality. Additionally, Dr. Jones offered the community members other opportunities for engagement such as, “Measuring Pollutants and How to Map Them”, Outdoor “Air Quality Monitoring Traffic Counts” and “Data Analysis”, just to name a few.

 
 
 

UUSC CEO and President Rev. Mary Katherine Morn released this statement in response to the news that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on the morning of Saturday, August 14.

 
 
 

Side with Love Action Center

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives. — Audre Lorde

The work that we do together to build a world in which all of us are free and thriving is interrelated. When we ground our spirits, grow our skills, and act strategically for justice in deep relationship with each other and our Movements, we choose to Side With Love.

Join your UUA Beloved Community to work for a better local community, national community. Go to https://sidewithlove.org/ for inspiration and action opportunities.

 
 
 

Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the October newsletter to info@uujusticefl.org in time for publication September 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
P.O. Box 1310 | Orange Park, Florida 32067
  info@uujusticefl.org

 

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