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 four committees focus on social justice from different perspectives:

Community Outreach: local
Common Good:
local, state, national and international
Green Sanctuary:
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender

Social Justice News

Community Outreach

Summertime and the Livin' Is Easy
Well, for some it is. As we heard through our Evicted series, and from other organizations that we support through Social Justice Community Outreach, the summer months can be very challenging for those receiving much needed services in our community. So, to those of us physically here in Florida, please consider these opportunities to make a difference this summer.

coffeeCoffee Talk Venice-9:45-12:15, Tuesday and Thursday. Upstairs room of the Venice Train Depot. Help set up, visit with guests, and shutdown. You can volunteer as little as once per month. Clients stop in and can have some fresh fruit, soup, sandwich, coffee, cookie. All are served and clients range from homeless to bicyclists and bus riders. Stop by to check it out and/or contact Pat Moser at 941-493-3541 or

Community Dinners-Help set up and serve at community dinners offered at four Venice churches on a rotating basis. 4:15-6:15 Mondays and Tuesdays. Contact Steve Batchelor or Phil Veach, 941-586-9751, or 941-586-3949,

FoodPantryMobile Food Pantries-A variety of locations and times to volunteer are available. This includes the Sprouts fresh food distribution. Go to and select “Give”, follow the link to “volunteer” and get registered and sign up for a specific date/time/location. If you have difficulty signing up, contact Heather Cline, 941-549-8156.

Sandwich Making- Show up the second Tuesday of the month at 8:30am, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 508 Rivera Street, Venice 34285. Gray Hall. Takes less than an hour.

bookLaurel Civic Association Summer 14-Reading Program- Wednesdays from 6/14 thru 7/19, 2:45-5:00, Laurel Civic Center, 509 Collins Road, Laurel 34275. Volunteer one Wednesday or many. Listen to elementary children read and help them with words they get stuck on. Contact DRE Jaye Williams, or John Jefferson at 941-483-3338.

Family Promise at UUCOV-We will be hosting families again the week of July 2-9. If you haven't been involved, summer might be a great time to start. There are a range of jobs from staying overnight at Asta Linder to providing food items, to prepping the living space, etc. Contact Cindy O'Dell, 317-370-6705 or FamilyPromise

Issues for the Common Good

All UUCOVers can help get the BIG MONEY out of elections and restore democracy statewide and countywide by gathering signatures for two petition drives. Both must be completed by December 31 of this year. Petitions are available at the Social Justice table. Francie Storey will give them to you and collect them once you gather signed petitions from your friends and neighbors. Just “take five” and bring them back completed. That will be a big help.

petitions1State petition drive: The Voting Restoration Amendment will restore the voting rights of 1,700,000 ex-felons in Florida who have fulfilled their debt to society and now lack all civil rights. Florida is only one of three states in the nation (including Kentucky and Iowa) that prevent ex-felons from voting. 700,000 petitions are needed statewide to put this on the ballot in November, 2018. Every one we gather will help.

County petition drive: for single-member district elections for County Commissioners and Charter Review Board members. 17,000 petitions are needed in Sarasota County by December 31 to put these on the ballot March 13, 2018 along with the School Board election. These will restore local control to our elections, help get the BIG MONEY out, and make our elected officials more accountable to the voters. Thanks to volunteers on the Common Good Committee, the Social Justice table on the lanai will be staffed and maintained all summer long.

Also, here’s a great way to impact our federal representatives. Indivisible meetings will be held all summer at the Jacaranda Library, along with actions to reach our Congressman. Check and email to find out when the meetings will be held and how you can help. Contact Billie Chambers at to join the letter-writing group and have letters published in the Herald-tribune and the Gondolier-Sun. Together, guided by our UU Principles, raising our voices on issues of importance, we can make a difference!

Collaborating with Others

FamilyPromise   South Sarasota County Family Promise needed 2 more host weeks to complete this year’s hosting schedule. So UUCOV, Venice United Church of Christ (VUCC), St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and the Jewish Congregation are going to collaborate to host the week of July 2 at our Asta Linder. We think the synergy gained from these 4 congregations working together, using Asta Linder, will substantially improve the lives of our families and the homeless in general.
For example, VUCC is donating $400 to UUCOV Family Promise each week they are a host congregation. We take this money and are returning it to the families via gift cards. We give the family a $100 check when they graduate from the program. We also buy gift cards for the families to have breakfast on the Sunday morning they vacate ALH for our Religious Education Programs. Families are delighted to have a nice breakfast on us.

Great News!

votebutton    The language of the Voting Restoration Amendment was approved April 20th by the Florida Supreme Court. Now the major petition drive begins to gather all 700,000 petitions statewide to put this on the ballot in November 2018.
If the ballot measure passes, it will restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis. Almost 2,000,000 people in Florida have never had their voting rights restored, although they have long ago paid their debt to society.
The other major petition drive is the Sarasota County effort to establish single-member districts for electing County Commissioners and Charter Review Board members. This will help reduce the cost of running for office, and open the field to more qualified candidates. There is another petition drive that could put those referenda on the ballot in 2018. Please “TAKE FIVE” of each petition and bring them back completed. Francie Storey on our Common Good Committee will be collecting them and turning them in.

How Do We Make A Difference

EcoEarth  The Green Sanctuary Committee, having just sponsored a successful program on CO2 emissions and consequent sea level rise and warming presented by Tim Rumage, is now gearing up for future events and projects. Ideas include a forum on ethical eating habits, screenings of movies relating to the condition of our planet, (for example Leonardo DiCaprio Caprio's "Before the Flood"), plus a concentration on March as Water Month and April as Earth Month, probably with a little help from our RE friends. Please lend your thoughts and ideas by becoming part of our new Green Think Tank. These are challenging times and Green Sanctuary needs YOU. Get in touch with Susan Brinckerhoff () or Marianne Koerner () to express your interest.

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