Many paths. One welcoming and diverse community.

Social Justice

scalesofjusticechaliceOur social justice ministry at UUCOV is in the best tradition of Unitarian Universalist history and principles. We support our Seven Principles, nurture our spirits, and help heal the world through:

Social Service: charitable assistance and hands on help to those in need
Social Witness:
publicly addressing justice issues
Social Education:
discussion, study, and reflection about justice issues
Social Action:
organized action to remedy injustice

Our five committees are focused on:

Community Outreach: work in the larger community
Common Good: local, state, and national public policy
Family Promise: on campus hosting for homeless families in need
Green Sanctuary: environmental issues
Interweave: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues

Social Justice News

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.

Even Florida Has Cold Nights

As the colder months are almost upon us, the UUCOV Social Justice Community Outreach Committee would like to spotlight the Cold Weather Shelter as a volunteer opportunity where we all can make a great contribution. The Shelter is an on-call service where volunteers are called upon to help the local homeless population in any of several ways.
Grace United Methodist Church on the island of Venice supplies the space and kitchen for the Shelter. Volunteers are needed to help with either serving dinner or breakfast, and others are needed to socialize for a few hours in the evening with the people using the shelter. Other volunteers are needed to stay overnight. The overnight stay is done in two shifts: either 11pm-3am or 3am-7am.
If you are looking for a worthwhile opportunity to help in our community, please consider volunteering at the Cold Weather Shelter. You can contact Eileen Leapley   or Phil Veach and Steve Batchelor .

UUs Behind Bars

Many in prison feel particularly lonely and vulnerable during the upcoming holiday season. Sunday, December 3 is your last chance to make a small, helpful gesture to one of the over 800 presently incarcerated UUs who are members of the Church of the Larger Fellowship*. Bring a greeting card to the Common Good table: with an undecorated, unsealed, stamped white envelope, signed with your first name only, with a short, upbeat sentiment written inside (e.g. we have not forgotten you or thinking of you this holiday season or …)
*Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) is a UU congregation without walls, connecting people all over the world for spiritual growth, worship, learning, and mutual support.

We Did It!

FamilyPromiseThank you for your outstanding support of the Family Promise Program. Your generosity in supporting the “Dream Walk” for Family Promise of South Sarasota County (FPSSC) is bountiful. We, UUCOV and VUCC, raised over $11,000 (of the total over $55,000) on the November 11th Dream Walk. WOW!!!
VUCC, St. Mark’s Episcopal, and UUCOV host our next families from December 24 to January 7 , which you know includes holidays. We will have the FPSSC van to drive them to the Day Center where families can relax and do laundry and use the playground and the computer, so we will need drivers; additionally, we need extra volunteers for day shifts because the Day Center will be closed for 6 of the 14 days.
Currently, there is 1 family in this host period, a single mother with 4 children, 3 boys and a girl, all under the age of 8. She has no car and a mountain to climb to escape her homelessness. And here is where we help, and you can help, by giving her hope and a hand up.
A typical family will be in the program for 60 or so days before FPSSC has found them an affordable home, helped them save their money, taught them some necessary life skills and put hope back into their lives. It can be exhausting work, but there will be joy in your heart knowing you made a real difference in the life of a person who needed a hand up.
Want to help and make a difference? Please call Cindy O’Dell 317-370- 6705.

CHAPS "Reverse Advent Bags"

HIV+/AIDS affected individuals have compromised immune systems and keeping themselves and their homes safe from bacteria and viruses is crucial toCHAPS Logo maintaining their health and the health of their families. SNAP cards (food stamps) only allow one to purchase edible items—no toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, deodorant,feminine hygiene products, household disinfectants, etc.
So, CHAPS Food & Hygiene Pantry, an all-volunteer, 501c3, non-profit pantry that serves over 210 South Sarasota County HIV+/AIDS clients and their dependents in North Port, Venice, Nokomis, Osprey and Englewood, provides 45 different hygiene items and household disinfectant products in addition to their food pantry items. They are collecting hygiene items of all varieties.
They have provided us with ‘Reverse Advent Bags’, which you will find on the lanai during December. Please take a bag and, instead of receiving a daily advent gift, GIVE ONE! A list of suggested items will be provided, all of which can be purchased at Dollar stores; filled bags can be returned to the lanai any time during the month of December. Checks in lieu of items may be made out to CHAPS, Inc. and left at the office with Salli. Thank you for your generosity! For more info about CHAPS go to www.chapsfoodpantry.com or see Salli in the office.