The Arc of the Moral Universe Just Got a Little Shorter
As It Bends Toward Justice
UU Justice Florida & UUJF Action Network Report, October, 2015
UU Justice Florida and UU Justice Florida Action Network, again, had a very successful year. Coalition building expanded, resulting in an Interfaith Climate Change conference, a new educational workshop piloted, and the work of legislating to uphold our UU principles continuing full steam ahead.
For the first time, three all-day, interactive Social Justice Empowerment workshops entitled "Free the Giant Within" were organized and offered through the Clusters. The UU "Commit2Respond" climate change program was featured.
In conjunction with the Florida Council of Churches, a first ever "Interfaith Climate Conference: Bridging Spirituality, Healing, and Action" was held in Longwood, Florida, with a star-studded line-up of the state's leading environmental organizations speaking (and 80 people attending). The 2nd annual conference is planned for January 28th-30th, 2016, again at the Longwood Church.
The Seventh Annual Legislative Days occurred at the State Capitol in Tallahassee March 23-24. Thirty-seven UU's from eleven congregations gathered to share, learn, and lobby their representatives. The UU's opposed fracking and bills allowing guns on campus, and supported civil citations for juvenile, first-offenders. The fracking and guns on campus died in committee and the civil citations bill passed. The 2016 Legislative Days will be February 8-9 in Tallahassee. Sign up early at www.uujusticefl.org to attend.
The UUJF and UUJF Action Network Boards continued to meet monthly by teleconference. In addition to Climate Change, Escalating Inequality, and Justice for All (all of these benefiting from the effort for Move to Amend), the Board dealt with immigration, fracking, gun safety, and other issues that became front and center.
UUJF and UUJF Action Network held its second annual congregational membership meeting in Orlando April 18 where members were offered the opportunity to: become board members, brainstorm action issues that UUJF should deal with, and to prioritize those issues. For the first time, racism was mentioned together with the companion issue of incarceration. A new board member came on board who is extremely interested in incarceration issues and will greatly add to the work of the group.
Gerald’s liaison congregations are 100% active in UUJF and all eight are dues paying members. Statewide UUJF is growing. Twenty-eight of the forty-six Florida UU congregations are members.
A variety of events such as the Second Florida Earth Festival were publicized and attended. UUJF is the perfect vehicle for sharing, coordinating and building for a better world. The UUJF website (www.uujusticefl.org) was updated. Especially important is the posting and sharing of social justice activities in which each local congregation is engaged. Our companion website for posting your events is https://justfluu.wordpress.com/. Please send your latest and greatest updates to Martha Hartgering at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual board members used their talents and resources to push for reforms by writing newspaper and magazine articles, speaking before local city/county councils/commissions, presenting forums and Sunday services, photographing events, creating brochures, and managing the website, Facebook, and Twitter social media accounts.
So, the vital work for a safer Florida, more fair America, and a sustainable world goes on. As always, more can and must be done, but can best be done only with the help of every congregation and YOU. The goal of 100% membership of all Florida congregations is within sight. Please join us at http://www.uujusticefl.org/donate.
With your talents and contributions, UUJF will bend the Arc of the Moral Universe even further toward justice.
Gerald Goen, UUJF Board Member, Tarpon Springs