Learn more about UU fellowship of Bay County and UU hurricane relief efforts from the UU Justice Florida Newsletter

The Newsletter below was sent to us from Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida. See below for their contact info.

Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida

November 2018 UUJF Newsletter


Hurricane Michael – News from Panhandle UUs:

UU Justice Florida (UUJF) has been working for several years with the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative, setting up communication networks and working on preparedness in central and south Florida, and is now reaching out to include the Panhandle in the Hurricane Michael response.

The North Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative provides a collaborative online platform called a resilience system for each region that enables people with varying expertise and experience to address gaps in resilience. In North Florida it is being used to support Work Groups on the emerging housing crisis, food and supply distribution, and information dissemination. It deploys medical search and rescue teams to identify people in need of supplies and services, and crowdsources data about how resilient the area is in 26 categories (ie. housing, communications, transportation, etc) to identify hot spots. The resilience system is used to monitor official government notifications, and to disseminate information about where help is available. The data will be shared with agencies who provide help and with community leaders to improve future disaster responses.The organization is mainly looking for those who are living in minority and immigrant neighborhoods. These residents are more likely to be overlooked by the larger agencies, or might be frightened to come forward, or might not know how to find help.  They seek residents and communities in the areas affected by this disaster to find gaps or unequal outreach in services.

The organization is focused on addressing inequities, and therefore works to reach low income communities of color and immigrant neighborhoods. These residents are more likely to be overlooked by the larger agencies, or are often too frightened to come forward, or might not know how to find help. They engage residents and communities in the areas affected by this disaster to find and work to fill gaps of unequal outreach in services.

UUJF Director of Climate Resilience Ministry, Jan Booher, has been involved for several weeks in the Panhandle on Hurricane Michael relief efforts, creating and field testing data gathering apps, and working in coalition with faith partners, activists, universities and service providers to address emerging problems.  Here is a brief synopsis of her activities and findings.

The UU Fellowship of Bay County (UUFBC) was hit hard by the hurricane and its front entrance is not accessible.

• Buildings and trees were damaged or knocked down.  Cost estimates to clear tree damage range from $30,000 – $70,000 for 90 trees.
• Many members’s homes and autos were severely damaged or totally destroyed.  The church is helping members and neighbors.
• Communications are still spotty, making absolutely everything very difficult to achieve. Contacting contractors is difficult. Communication between members is difficult as they are often on different platforms (i.e.. Facebook, Facebook messenger, text, email, phone – which often drops calls or have bad connections making it hard to hear.
• The pond has a foul odor and may pose health and sanitary concerns.
• Playground structures and fencing are entangled in the branches of felled trees and damaged beyond repair
• The roof over the driveway receiving area in the back of the Sanctuary building was lifted by the wind, and resettled 5-6 inches from its former position.
• The identifying signage for the congregation is damaged and no longer affixed to a support structure and the solar panel for the lighting was damaged.

Disaster relief work is being carried out by Mutual Aid Disaster Relief with headquarters at UUFBC. This group has a makeshift sign reading “Solidarity, Not Charity.” They have water and other relief supplies under the covered drive way on the back of the building. They are using the Fellowship offices, and some of their colleagues occasionally join coordinating calls with the Disaster Resilience Initiative.

The great irony is that the one tree the congregation had deliberated over removing as a possible threat to the Sanctuary building is standing tall.

A minister from the UUA Trauma Resilience Ministry has been contacted and is expected in the next few days.  Amy Joy Doyle, a contractor and remodeler from UUCT is onsite at UUFBC to assess the damage.

UU Fellowship of Bay County Social Justice Team Chair Bob Gilmore and David McDougal (Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative and Miami Climate Alliance) are currently working their networks, to support Souls to Polls which may be able to provide transportation for area voters, who are being directed to mega-voting centers because many polling locations were damaged or destroyed. Paula Montgomery (UU Church of Pensacola and LWV) has provided research and clarity on the status of voting locations, and the local LWV leadership is working with Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative to get correct information to voters.

UU Fellowship of Bay County will start a GoFundMe site as well as making application to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund and Faithify. The “all or nothing” requirement for fundraising is waived for disaster relief drives.

The UU Church of Pensacola had a Sunday plate collection which was sent to the UUA Disaster fund, and has been working with the Disaster Resilience initiative. A returning citizen sponsored by UUCP was instrumental in getting over 150,000 pounds of Tyson Foods chicken to the area, and FDRI coordinated the logistics to Create a supply chain that has served tens of thousands of meals, with delivery into the projects and low income communities, where transportation is more challenging. Volunteers are still needed for that effort.

The UU Church of Tallahassee had a Share the Plate collection which will be sent directly to the UU Fellowship of Bay County. Members are driving to rural communities in Blountstown and Mariana to pick up laundry, wash it and return it, and have volunteered at the local shelter they have been supporting.

UU Church in the Pines (Brooksville) in Weeki Wachee will be doing a special collection each of the next two Sundays sharing pictures and words with others in hopes that they will be moved to share talents and treasure.

The UU Fellowship of Emerald Coast (UUFEC) survived the storm that came ashore approximately 50 miles east of their location. Congregation members have been collecting and sending supplies as well as volunteering to help.

The Southern Region has contacted the Fellowship and has advised them on these additional UUA resources.

The UU College of Social Justice may be able to assist later with coordinating hands-on volunteers. Information about this and a volunteer interest/sign-up form can be found here.

If someone is coordinating hands-on offers of help, Southern Region will gladly include that individual’s name and email address. If someone from the congregation would like to directly share information about immediate needs they’re welcome to do so via our Southern Region Facebook group.

The digital UUA Magazine has an article about Hurricane Michael and the UU Fellowship of Bay County.

Note to congregations – Do you have a disaster recovery plan to maintain contact with members or provide temporary housing or transportation when difficult situations are encountered?

Amendment 4 News and Updates

You are encouraged to sign up here to participate in phone banking for Amendment 4 right up to Election Day, November 6.

Click this link for a full report of UU Sarasota’s canvassing efforts in support of Amendment 4 on October 20.

UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, had these words to share about Clearwater’s Vote 4 Day on October 21.

Welcoming Immigrants to Florida

Sunday, November 11, 6:00 pm
Welcoming Dinner
UU Fellowship of Gainesville
4225 NW 34th Street, Gainesville

UU Gainesville, member of Welcoming Gainesville and Alachua County, is hosting for the first time a Welcoming Dinner in the Social Hall. Local immigrant families will provide supper featuring favorite native dishes. Click here to learn more about this organization.

Please make your reservation with Aaron Broadwell (g.broadwell@gmail.com) by November 4.  There is no charge.


Monday, November 12, 7:00 pm
Forum: National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC)
Buckman Bridge UU Church
8447 Manresa Avenue, Jacksonville

Step out for the evening on Monday, November 12 to find out about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) and how it will ensure the presidential candidate with the most votes will be the one sworn into office!

But, it takes states whose electoral votes total 270 or more to put the NPVIC into effect.

How close is Florida with its 29 electoral votes to joining in?

Will Florida be part of this movement? Do we want to be part? What part can you play in this movement?

Join us to find out more. Open to the public so be sure to invite family, friends, neighbors, coworkers.

For More Information Contact: Molly Brady, Chair, Social Action Committee mbrady1016@msn.com

Did you know?

Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida (UUJF) and its companion organization, UU Justice Florida Action Network, were formed in May, 2013 after functioning from 2007-2013 as a committee of the Florida District, known as the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Florida (UULMF).

Since its founding our organization has initiated targeted Action Alert emails on legislation under consideration, began publication of a monthly newsletter, co-sponsored four Interfaith Climate Conference Assemblies and formed the UUJF Climate Resilience Ministry.  Looking ahead for 2019 we will compile and circulate a wish list of state legislation and ask UUJF supporters to make appointments with their representatives in their local offices in January and February and ask for their help in securing hearings and passage.

To help in the preparation of this list, please submit your suggestions to info@uujusticefl.orgfor specific legislation on environmental protection, juvenile justice, non discrimination in housing, public accommodation and employment,  gun safety, Medicaid expansion plus any other areas of interest to you.

Mark your calendars for UUJF Legislative Day, March 11-12, 2019.  There was feedback from last year’s session asking for additional time for orientation and discussion of bills on the legislative calendar.  Please drop a note to info@uujusticefl.org if you are interested and are able to arrive in Tallahassee by 3:00 pm for this possible addition to our program agenda.

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Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida (UUJF)
P.O. Box 18954, Sarasota, FL 34276
941-266-8278  info@uujusticefl.org

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