Many paths. One welcoming and diverse community.

Common Good

capitolbuildingThe mission of the Common Good committee is to show how individuals can help to solve social and environmental justice problems at the source. We work closely with UU Justice Florida (www.uujusticefl.org), the UU Service Committee, and interfaith and secular partners for public policy and social change. By taking actions together, we empower the voice of our Unitarian Universalist values in the public arena and make a difference on critical issues such as escalating inequality, climate change, and justice for all.

We are trying to solve problems at the source so they don’t keep happening again.

You can participate as you have time in actions for systemic change even as you focus on hands-on help in the community. Here are some of the actions we can take together:

  • Civic engagement and public witness: events, rallies, and contacts with local, state and federal officials
  • Coordinated communication: letter-writing, petition-signing, blogging, social media outreach
  • Education: forums, worship services, films
  • Voter participation: encouraging voter registration, voter education, voter involvement, and opposing voter suppression.

Please sign up on the Common Good/UU Justice Florida list at the Social Justice table in the lanai for alerts on timely actions we can take. Together we can make a difference!

Common Good News

Over the Top - On the Ballot

votebuttonLed by Kindra Muntz, UUCOV contributed to the gathering of more than a million signed petitions to restore voting rights to convicted felons who’d served their sentences. Of these, 799,000 signatures were certified, surpassing the required 766,000 needed to get an amendment on the ballot. We Floridians will get to vote to restore voting rights on the November ballot. Florida is one of just three states that has permanently banned ex-felons from voting unless they get clemency. But if approved by 60 percent of us, about 1.5 million Floridians with felony convictions will be able to vote after they fully complete their sentences, including parole or probation. Those convicted of murder or sexual offenses would continue to be barred from voting.

Three opportunities to act for the Common Good

1) Borrow or buy the UUA Common Read ‘Daring Democracy’; be ready to join in February discussions and workshops at UUCOV.
Some copies will be available at the Social Justice table. Buy your own for $9.09 or less at Amazon.com.978 080703261 9

2) Join the March for Democracy in Sarasota ,January 20th. There will be speeches and music and an alternative program for those who cannot march. Sign up to travel by bus; the bus is scheduled to leave from Jacaranda near I-75 is filling up fast. We aren’t certain if a second bus can be scheduled. Buy a T-shirt if you wish.

3) Carpool with a group from Venice, Monday, January 22nd, to the state Capitol for the most exciting UU Justice Florida Legislative Days ever! Our uujfKeynote Speaker Monday night is Desmond Meade, the founder of the Voting Restoration Amendment campaign. We will be celebrating his good work and, we hope, the SUCCESSFUL completion of the petition drive to put the amendment on the ballot in 2018 This is a wonderful opportunity to see the Florida Capitol, meet with the legislative staff, and see our legislators in action. As representatives of the UU Justice Florida Action Network, we will be lobbying our legislators Tuesday morning on bills for the common good. You will be given a packet of information about the bills and lobby training Monday night. UU Justice Florida pays for your Monday night dinner and hotel. Register and join us for this informative, intense two-day experience. We have dinner enroute on the way back and are home Tuesday night by 10:00 PM.

Activism in Small Ways

The winter edition of the UU World has excellent articles on activism and religious identity. Good news: you can care about social justice without marching in the streets. You can take small steps that can make a difference from the comfort of your own home. As in all your efforts of giving, you only do what feels good to you.
Here are three opportunities:
1) If caring about social justice is part of your faith identity, just sign our list “Help Change History” at the Social Justice table to be aware of the possibilities. You can see what others are doing and be involved only if and when you have time and interest.
2) If you want to see what UUs are talking about in Florida on social justice issues, or want to participate in the conversations, or learn small ways to help on a variety of issues, join two public Facebook groups started by UUs in UUCOV and statewide: https://www.facebook.com/groups/InTouchCommonGood/  and https://www.facebook.com/groups/uujusticeflorida/.
3) And if you are already mobilized, know voting rights are important to you, and can take petitions for the Voting Restoration Amendment to ask friends to fill out, then bring back to us, please do!
To put this on the ballot in 2018 , we must – by December 31 - have one million petitions in the Supervisor of Elections offices statewide. Our deadline to mail them is December 12. If UUs can help achieve this goal, we can truly change history in Florida. See the 6-minute Samantha Bee video at www.miamirights.com for why this is important.

People are Mobilizing

Fist WeThePeopleThere’s a program on December 6 you may want to attend, 7pm at the Venice Gardens Community Center, 406 Shamrock Boulevard. After an appraisal of the book “Dark Money”, Barbara Somma will lead a discussion of a 2020 petition drive to put a Move to Amend resolution on the statewide ballot.
“We the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”
Already 21 state legislatures have passed or have in progress resolutions, and numerous cities nationwide have passed resolutions or better yet, ballot initiatives. https://movetoamend.org/resolutions-map Move to Amend and American Promise are heading in the same direction and mobilizing people nationwide. It’s time we pressed Florida to get on board!

“Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry”

Our Common Read this winter grew out of a concern of the UU Minister’s Association that discussions of race in Unitarian Universalism have too often Centeringpresupposed a White audience and prioritized the needs, education, and emotions of the White majority.
A group of distinguished UU religious professionals of color was called to form a committee on Antiracism, Anti-culturalism,, and Multiculturalism; their task was to reframe Unitarian Universalist anti-oppression work by putting the voices, experiences, and learnings of people of color at the center of the conversation.
The resulting book, “Centering”, captures the papers that were presented and the rich dialogue from the conference to share personal stories and address the challenges that religious leaders of color face in exercising power, agency, and authority in a culturally White denomination. “Centering” explores how racial identity is made both visible and invisible in Unitarian Universalist ministries.