World Refugee Day Commemoration

Each year the Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force hosts a local event to commemorate World Refugee Day.
This is one day set aside internationally to recognize the courage and resilience of refugees.

This year’s local event will be held on June 16th at 1:00pm at Pinellas Technical College located at 901 34th Street South in St. Petersburg.

The event will begin at 1:00pm with a networking time in the lobby area featuring heavy hors d’oeuvres from the PTC Culinary Arts Department and live music from Lakewood High School’s 54th Ave Jazz Combo.

At 2:00pm a short program will be held in the main auditorium featuring Al Ruechel of Bay News 9 as the Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Kriseman of St Petersburg providing opening remarks and a Dance of Hope by refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A brief awards ceremony will also recognize 5 former refugees/immigrants who have distinguished themselves by giving back to our refugee population in our community through our “Making a World of Difference” awards. These awards highlight the fact that our community is stronger and more welcoming because of the former refugees/immigrants who invest their time and resources here by giving back.

Finally, a citizenship ceremony will be held with 30 former refugees becoming U.S. citizens. The keynote speaker will be Sandra Grudic, a Pinellas County high school teacher, former refugee from Bosnia and current volunteer for refugees in our community.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Doug Haskitt at

World Refugee Day Celebration:

“Yesterday, Refugees–

Today, Americans”

When:   June 16, 2017, 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Where: Pinellas Technical College, 901 34th Street South, St. Petersburg, FL, 33711. From 34th Street South, go westbound on 11th Ave. S. (across from Gibb’s High School), go past the Commercial Trucking Training Area on your right, and take your 2nd right into our Main Parking Lot. The Main Entrance and Reception Area will be on the north side of the Main Parking Lot in the center of the building.


Celebrate Florida June-July 2017

Celebrate Florida newsletter




  May 31, 2017  

Greetings Florida UCC members,

Here are the links to the June/July issue of Celebrate Florida. You will find two versions of this document; one is the standard PDF, and the other is the interactive version, which requires that your computer has a Flash player.

Standard version

Interactive version

We hope you will find this issue informative, especially the articles about:

• Earth Day, Easter and “Time for Conversations.”

• Congregational activities around music, the arts, movies, books … and food!

• Creative ideas to energize, motivate and expand your ministry; this issue is chock full of possibilities.

• The many opportunities open to our Florida congregations, clergy and members (see box on page 1).

Thanks to all those churches that share information about what has been happening in their congregations. But if you aren’t, maybe the reason your church isn’t mentioned is because we don’t hear from you. If your church is one that does not share with us, there’s a simple solution: add us to your mailing list, either electronic or hard copy. Mail us your information — hard copy (to 9300 University Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32817) or electronic (to Yes, we do want to know what you are doing; there is always room for more good news.

We especially appreciate your providing the Celebrate Florida link information above to church members via your Sunday bulletin, newsletters, e-communications and your website. Please help spread all the good news about the United Church of Christ in Florida among your church members.

With blessings and appreciation for our covenant,

Rick Carson


Celebrate Florida archive

UCC in Florida website

UCC national site

Donate now

United Church of Christ in Florida
9300 University Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32817
Like us on Facebook!
(407) 835-7501
(800) 432-8311




One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers, come TOGETHER for a wonderful afternoon of music!

Sunday, May 28, 4:00pm
One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers Free Concert

Two great community choruses- One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers, come TOGETHER for a wonderful afternoon of music! This concert is FREE, and will include Freedom Songs, Civil Rights Songs, Spirituals, and Gospel Songs. You don’t want to miss it!
A freewill collection will be taken to benefit the choruses and Lakewood Methodist Church.

Location for One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers Concert:Lakewood United Methodist Church-5995 MLK Jr St. S, St. Pete


Rolling student fast of 2017 takes its place in storied annals of fight for Fair Food…

CIW list header
Rolling student fast of 2017 takes its place in storied annals of fight for Fair Food…

Weeklong fast at Ohio State University tapped into Dr. King’s “power in the universe that works for justice” and inspired a month-long movement on over a dozen college campuses;

Fast forges new leaders for the fight ahead, lays the groundwork for a student-led surge in the Wendy’s Boycott this fall!

A little historical context…

Following the Montgomery Bus Boycott victory in 1956 — a year-long campaign that marked the first significant triumph of Dr. Martin Luther King’s methods of creative non-violence — Dr. King was invited to speak at the University of California at Berkeley.  The speech he delivered that day, June 4th, 1957, laid out the theological underpinnings of Dr. King’s new, and startlingly effective, philosophy of social change.  That philosophy would come to guide his life’s work over the next decade and help the Civil Rights Movement successfully mine a deeply-buried vein of enduring justice that laid below the layers of brutality and exploitation comprising America’s awful history of racial oppression.  Here is an excerpt from his speech, entitled “The Power of Non-Violence”:


I am quite aware of the fact that there are persons who believe firmly in nonviolence who do not believe in a personal God, but I think every person who believes in nonviolent resistance believes somehow that the universe in some form is on the side of justice. That there is something unfolding in the universe whether one speaks of it as a unconscious process, or whether one speaks of it as some unmoved mover, or whether someone speaks of it as a personal God. There is something in the universe that unfolds for justice and so in Montgomery we felt somehow that as we struggled we had cosmic companionship. And this was one of the things that kept the people together, the belief that the universe is on the side of justice. (emphasis added)

The bolded sentence in the excerpt above is the theme of today’s post.  The power to which Dr. King referred of non-violent protest to tap into a sort of universal instinct for justice — and, doing so, vastly multiply its impact beyond the immediate reach of the action itself —  is real.  It is the thread that ties the sacrifice and struggle of the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the many fasts undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi in his lifetime to challenge colonial rule and promote Hindu-Muslim unity in India decades before it, and to the remarkable rolling student fast in support of the Wendy’s Boycott that took place on over a dozen college campuses this past spring, decades after it.

And it is the power that will propel that nascent student-led movement to new heights this coming fall, to the booting of Wendy’s restaurants off campus after campus in the school year ahead, and, ultimately, to a Fair Food agreement between Wendy’s and the farmworkers whose exploitation has fueled the fast-food giant’s profits for far too long…

Head over to the CIW website for a full reflection on the historic rolling student fast of 2017!


Gun Safety Action Team Advocacy Webinar

League of Women Voters of Florida
Gun Safety Action Team Advocacy Webinar

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM EDT
Add to Calendar

This is an online event.

Greetings Leaguers and Coalition partners!

Are you passionate about keeping Floridians safe from gun violence and irresponsible gun legislation? Do you want to be a more effective advocate in fighting bad gun bills and promoting good ones? Then this LWVFL seminar is for you! We’re offering a one hour webinar on our gun safety advocacy program.
The webinar will include a review of the work that the Florida League has done in developing its gun safety advocacy, its focus on the health of the community, the formation of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and the promotion of our legislative goals — which include expanding background checks, banning semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and beating back expansive and reckless gun legislation.
Sign up to learn about SMART advocacy tactics and ACTION steps to support our legislative goals!
  • Patti Brigham, LWV Florida 1st VP and Co-Chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Andy Pelosi, Exec. Director of the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus and Co-Chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Julie Kessel, President of the LWV St Petersburg Area and Member of the Advisory Board of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Date and Time (EDT):

Wednesday, May 24, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

This event is a webinar. Please register for the event and you will be provided with log-in and call-in instructions to participate. Be sure to register early as attendance is limited to 100.
So, sign up and get ready to ADVOCATE!
Register Now!
Patti Brigham
First Vice President, LWV of Florida
League of Women Voters of Florida, 540 Beverly Court, Tallahassee, FL 32301-7530

ACTION ALERT! The Wendy’s shareholder meeting is just days away and the Fair Food Nation needs your help!…

The Fair Food Nation picketing outside of Wendy’s shareholder meeting in 2016

Call-ins, postcards, protests… We need YOU to join farmworkers and fellow allies in mobilizing for the Wendy’s Shareholder meeting on May 23rd!

In just a few weeks, Wendy’s will hold its annual shareholder meeting at the company’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio on May 23rd.  And for the fourth year running, Wendy’s executives and shareholders will be forced to confront the urgent, moral question posed by farmworkers and consumers of conscience: How much longer will the fast-food giant remain on the wrong side of history when it comes to social responsibility in its supply chain?  Ever since the launch of the Wendy’s campaign in 2013, tomato pickers from Immokalee, joined by religious, student and community leaders, have been an annual presence at the shareholder meeting, demanding answers from Wendy’s leadership — and this year promises to be the most powerful action yet.

Following months of escalating action in the campaign — including the 14-day, 14-city Return to Human Rights Tour in March and six weeks of rolling student fasts across the nation — Wendy’s unconscionable rejection of fundamental human rights in its supply chain is growing increasingly untenable.  And on May 23rd, those at the helm of the multi-billion dollar corporate giant will be forced to reckon with farmworkers and consumers alike, face to face.

Between now and then, we’re going to need each and every member of the Fair Food Nation to keep the pressure up on Wendy’s — and that means you!  Here below is the Alliance for Fair Food’s official call to action, offering a series of actions that you can take to do your part.  Please share the call widely with your networks — and we’ll see you in the streets of Columbus on May 23rd!

Join farmworkers, Columbus-area allies and supporters from across the country for a major protest outside of Wendy’s shareholder meeting on Tuesday, May 23! 

After months of escalating action in the Wendy’s Boycott, demanding that the corporation respect farmworkers’ human rights, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their allies will show up in powerful witness outside of Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, May 23 from 8-11 a.m.

For over four years, Wendy’s has refused to meet face to face with farmworkers to dialogue and negotiate their participation in the Fair Food Program.  Enough is enough!  We will bring the call for farmworker justice to Wendy’s doorstep, directly to the company’s top executives and shareholders.

Here are four ways you can take action in the month of May!  All of the action items and how-tos are included in a guide, downloadable here.

1) Begin making plans to join farmworkers, Ohio Fair Food and allies from across the country on Tuesday, May 23 for a major protest outside of Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting, followed by a community lunch with CIW. Housing will be provided for those coming from out of town. Get in touch with us at for support in planning the trip!

2) Send a boycott postcard to Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor and Board Chairman Nelson Peltz, then organize your community, congregation, or student group to do the same! Download the postcard here to print, sign, and send to One Dave Thomas Blvd., Dublin, OH 43017.

3) Donate to the Wendy’s Boycott Fund to bring us closer to our goal of $25,000 in the month of May, to fuel sustained and growing action in the struggle for Fair Food – and bring us closer to an agreement with the final fast food holdout! You can donate online at or by writing a check to Alliance for Fair Food and sending to PO Box 509, Immokalee, FL 34143.

4) On Monday, May 22, participate in a national call-in day to Wendy’s Headquarters! Below is information about the call-in day and a sample script for your call. Once you’ve called, email us at to share a report!

Call-in Number: (888)-624-8140

Script: Hello, my name is __________ and I would like to leave a message for Todd Penegor.

As a dedicated ally of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, I want Wendy’s to know that I will continue to support the national Wendy’s Boycott until the corporation respects the human rights of farmworkers in its supply chain and joins the Fair Food Program. For four years, we have demanded that Wendy’s be a partner in the Program, but Wendy’s has failed to do so, instead offering a Code of Conduct devoid of enforcement mechanisms or worker participation and moving purchasing to fields where human rights abuses go unchecked.

Mr. Penegor should know we plan to make our voices heard during an action outside of Wendy’s headquarters tomorrow, calling on him and all shareholders to respect farmworkers’ dignity by joining the Fair Food Program. Unless you commit to joining the Fair Food Program during your annual shareholder meeting, scores of farmworkers and allies will be peacefully demonstrating outside — and the already tens of thousands-strong boycott of Wendy’s will continue to grow day by day!

Thank you for delivering this message.

This spring, thousands mobilized as part of the Return to Human Rights Tour in a unified cry on behalf of the broader struggle for human rights, highlighting Wendy’s decision to purchase tomatoes where working conditions are deplorable rather than use its market power to lift up human rights through the Fair Food Program.

Nineteen students and alumni at The Ohio State University fasted for seven days to pressure administration to end the university’s contract with Wendy’s, sparking over a month of rolling campus fasts across the country.  Hundreds of students around the country, as well as religious leaders and community partners, picked up the OSU protest, going without food in order to shine a spotlight on Wendy’s moral duty to respect workers’ rights rather than hide behind an empty code of conduct.  And now, we are returning to Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting more powerful than ever before.

Let’s send the message to Wendy’s leadership that they can no longer ignore the tens of thousands of farmworkers in their supply chain — or the tens of thousands of consumers boycotting their restaurants.


Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Gov. LeRoy Collins, 33rd Governor of Florida (

Gov. LeRoy Collins, 33rd Governor of Florida

Please read,6666.

“Excellent, excellent column by one of Florida’s best. This is especially prescient as The ‘Groveland Four’ bill has a passed the FL House and heads for passage in the Senate.” — Facebook page of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The author of the article is Martin Dyckman, a former St. Petersburg Times political writer.


Join others this Saturday for the annual human rights conference at the University of Tampa’s Vaughn Center, 9th floor, from 9am-5pm.

This year the conference will begin with a film screening of Drawing the Tiger, followed by a keynote address from the documentary’s co-directions Amy Benson and Scott Squire. Multiple panel discussions and presentations will be held throughout the day.

This event is free and open to the public.


Menorah Manor will continue to fight on behalf of Florida’s frail seniors

Tomorrow, April 20 at 10:00 AM, LeadingAge Florida will hold a press conference to discuss the devastating impacts of the Florida Health Care Association proposal for a Prospective Payment System for Medicaid, which is now included in the Florida Senate budget.

Location: Bon Secours St. Petersburg Health System
10300 4TH Street North. St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Time: 10:00 AM

The following people will be speaking:

-Kip Corriveau, Director of Mission at Bon Secours St. Petersburg Health System
-Peter Crosa, Bon Secours Board Member
-Monsignor Robert C. Gibbons, St. Paul Catholic Church
-Rob Goldstein, Chief Executive Officer, Menorah Manor
-Kent L. McRae, President/CEO, Mease Manor

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. Also, it is not too late to call and email the Chairs of the following two committees:

-Senator Jack Latvala: Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee
-Representative Jason Brodeur: Chair, House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee

Remember to communicate the following:
1. Reject the Florida Health Care Association Medicaid Prospective Payment Plan. The plan has not been properly vetted, hurts high quality providers like Menorah Manor, and is poor public policy.
2. The proposed plan provides a windfall to poor quality providers with no requirement that the additional funds must be spent on improving quality, programs or services.
3. There is no reason to rush this ill-conceived plan through. Allow all interested parties the opportunity to come together to craft a plan that is in the best interest of seniors in the State of Florida.


Boycott Wendy’s Protest: 5-Day Tampa Bay Student Fast Action!

CIW list header
**Correction: The Tampa Bay action will be this Wedneday, April 19th at 7 PM.

Today, over a dozen students from The University of South Florida, The University of Tampa, and Eckerd College launched a five-day fast in support of Ohio State Student/Farmworker Alliance’s “Boot the Braids” campaign, pressuring the OSU administration to end their lease with the fast-food giant until Wendy’s joins the Fair Food Program. On Wednesday at 7pm, halfway through the five-day rolling fast, join student fasters from the three universities, farmworkers and Tampa Bay-area allies for a spirited protest!

WHAT: Boycott Wendy’s Protest: 5-Day Tampa Bay Student Fast Action!

WHERE: Wendy’s at 1615 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL*

WHEN: Wednesday, April 19 at 7:00pm

*Please do not park in the Wendy’s parking lot

Tampa Bay students organized the fast as part of a wave of nationwide rolling solidarity fasts, called by OSU SFA at the end of last month’s week-long fast by 19 OSU students and alumni to demand that OSU administration cut the contract with Wendy’s.

From Tampa Bay schools to OSU, students are sending a clear message to Wendy’s that the student-led campaigns to Boot the Braids will continue to swiftly grow across the country until Wendy’s respects farmworkers’ human rights!

Contact Patricia at for more information.

See you in the streets!

The Immokalee Crew


FADPUpdate: Capitol Rally Report and Events

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Capitol Rally Report and Upcoming Events

Thursday, March 30, more than 400 concerned Floridians, representing a diversity of groups from across the state, rallied with us at the Capitol Building in Tallahassee to call for an end to the death penalty and support Orlando State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s decision not to seek death sentences.

10 buses along with carpools brought Floridians from Pensacola, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa/St. Pete, Broward, and Miami-Dade. A petition with 130,000 signatures was delivered to Gov. Scott. It was a beautiful, powerful, and inspirational experience. More than 20 Florida leaders spoke passionately to the crowd about the current and historic realities of Florida’s failed death penalty program. The rally was absolutely thrilling and uplifting.

Thank you everyone who made this possible. A bold, broad-based new era in the long struggle to end executions in our state has begun.

To see amazing photos from the rally, click here or visit the website.

Exciting upcoming events and actions! Please visit the FADP “Events” page for details.

Your help is urgently needed now for the growing statewide struggle to end the death penalty. Please make a much needed and appreciated donation today. Please share this message with others. Only with your help can the work be done and progress made.



LWVF Logo (better resolution?)
Tomorrow, April 4th, three bad bills will be debated in the House of Representatives.
HB 849 will be heard on the floor of the House. This bill would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons on private school property.
HB 245 AND SB 128 will be heard on the floor of the House.  These bills would require prosecutors to try Stand Your Ground (SYG) cases twice – once in a pretrial hearing and once in front of a jury.
Call your Representative (click here to find Rep.) and tell them that you are their constituent and that you strongly urge him/her to vote NO on HB 245, SB 128, and HB 849!
Also, tomorrowApril 4th, the Senate will hear SB 1052. 
This additional Stand Your Ground proposal would remove a requirement that a person first must be attacked in his or her dwelling, residence, or vehicle before using or threatening to use force. This would allow a person who perceives a threat to use force without first being attacked.
Call your Senator (find them here) and tell him/her to vote NO on SB 1052.
Thank you for all that you do!
In League,
Pamela Goodman
LWV of Florida

Honoring Dr. King’s Death this Tuesday

From: Awake Pinellas <>
Date: March 31, 2017 at 6:20:16 PM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: Honoring Dr. King’s Death this Tuesday
WHAT: Workers, Race and Class: 1968 Black Resistance
WHERE: James B. Sanderlin Center: 2335 22nd Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712
WHEN: THIS Tuesday April 4th @ 6:00pm
On April 4th, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the Fight for $15 and the Movement for Black Lives will hold over two dozen actions nationwide to honor the legacy and vision of King and recommit to the struggle against systemic racism and poverty wages. When Dr. King was killed nearly 50 years ago, he was in Memphis to support black sanitation workers who were on strike against politicians intent on busting their union. King saw a deep link between the labor and civil rights movements and believed that union rights were fundamental to achieving racial justice. He died while in Memphis for a strike because he knew that when people join together they build power to make change. Let’s continue that vision together.
Here in Florida, we will be hosting three special events connecting the dots between Dr. King’s struggle for racial and economic justice and the battles we are fighting today. We will also examine our current predicament as communities of color prepare to fight back against this administration and Republican efforts to curtail protest and decimate worker rights via draconian legislation.
In St. Petersburg, racial justice and labor leaders are convening a Town Hall Discussion entitled Workers, Race, and Class: Black Resistance from Then to Now” bringing together veterans from the 1968 Black-Led St. Petersburg Sanitation Worker Strike and current leaders and workers in the Movement for Black Lives and Fight for 15. We will hear from leaders of the historic 1968 sanitation worker strike, a pivotal moment that defined race and labor relations in the City and how those events connect with the fight for fair wages and worker rights today as the Trump administration gears up to expand Right to Work legislation nationwide.

Execute justice not people Rally in Tally

Join FADP, Equal Justice USA, NAACP, Latino Justice, Florida Council of Churches, Orange County Black Voice, and Color of Change in Tallahassee on Thursday, March 30 at 12:30 PM to call on Governor Rick Scott to execute justice NOT people!

A bus will leave the Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N, St. Petersburg, FL 33703) @ 7am. Register online if you’d like to be on it!


Rally with us in Tallahassee


Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Rally with us in Tallahassee!

Join FADP, Equal Justice USA, NAACP, Latino Justice, Florida Council of Churches, Orange County Black Voice, and Color of Change in Tallahassee on Thursday, March 30 at 12:30 PM to call on Governor Rick Scott to execute justice NOT people!

Rally In Tallahassee Flyer

Not only does trying to enforce the death penalty unnecessarily waste millions of taxpayer dollars over and above the cost of sentencing those same people to life in prison with no parole, it prolongs the judicial process for decades, forcing victim’s families to re-live the worst day of their lives over and over again.

Shockingly, Florida leads the nation with 26 people on death row exonerated and released due to evidence of wrongful convictions. Florida’s death penalty is rooted in racial bias – never in Florida’s history has a white person been executed for killing a black person. There is no proof that the death penalty prevents violent crime or protects law enforcement officers.

Last week, after an extensive and non-partisan investigation of the facts and reality of the death penalty process, State Attorney Aramis Ayala, elected on a platform of criminal justice reform, announced she would not seek death sentences in any cases in her jurisdiction. She acted very responsibly and within her rights as State Attorney.

This was a big win for the safety and well-being of Orange and Osceola County families and all Florida taxpayers. However, Gov. Scott, an extreme proponent of the death penalty, abused his power and interfered in the lawful discretion and duties of the State Attorney and ultimately removed Ayala from an upcoming potential death penalty case.

That’s why we’re rallying in Tallahassee; to deliver a message to Gov. Scott’s office: Floridians are here to #StandWithAramis and to end the death penalty in our state.

Will you Rally in Tally with us?  We encourage you to bring friends, family, and carpool to Tallahassee. But if you don’t have a ride, there will be buses picking up participants in the following cities:

Orlando | Walmart Neighborhood Market @ 7am
1101 S Goldwyn Ave, Orlando, FL 32805

Jacksonville | Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church @ 7:30am
2036 Silver St, Jacksonville, FL 32206

Tampa | Faith Lutheran Church @ 7am
12703 North Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33608

St. Petersburg | Allendale United Methodist Church @ 7am
3803 Haines Rd N, St. Petersburg, FL 33703

Register to attend and secure your spot on the bus today!

See you in Tallahassee,

Mark Elliott
Executive Director
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

FADP is a non-profit and non-partisan Florida organization of individuals and groups united to abolish the Death Penalty in Florida.



The Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

The Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is a project of the League of Women Voters. Lakewood United Church of Christ is a partner in this coalition. There is a link at the bottom to a list of all the Coalition partners.

Advocating for meaningful gun law reform for a safer Florida

Preventing gun violence is not a 2nd Amendment issue;
it’s a public safety issue.
Dear Coalition partners and supporters,
March has been a very busy month so far for the Coalition!
Senator Gary Farmer, D-Ft. Lauderdale, outlined his proposed bill to close the “Mile-Wide” background check loophole at gun shows during a press conference in Tallahassee hosted by the Coalition.
Powerful GOP Lawmaker Sen. Anitere Flores came out in opposition to guns in airport terminals and on college campuses. These bills were proposed by Senator Greg Steube, R-Sarasota.
Coalition Co-Chair and LWVF 1st VP Patricia Brigham participated in an enlightening conversation on Gun Safety and legislation with veteran journalist Mike Lafferty in the LWVOC Hot Topics event: Ballots Not Bullets. Brigham also joined Republican Attorney Wade Vose on the “Decision Florida” Facebook Live Show with WMFE Health Reporter Abe Aboraya on gun bills moving through the Florida Legislature.
Hot topics Gun Safety
Hot Topics:  Ballots no Bullets

Hot Topics: Ballots Not Bullets, A Gun Safety And Legislative Solutions Conversation With Veteran Journalist Mike Lafferty & Coalition Co-Chair/LWVF VP Patricia Brigham. We Have Included A Facebook Live Video Of The Event.

Brigham said that the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, of which the League is leading, is backing one bill that would ban semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines and another that would close a loophole by expanding background checks for gun-show sales. There is no guarantee either will be heard during the committee process. The Coalition plans to bring these proposals back every year until they pass.
The coalition will be vigilant. “We will protect the public from bad bills; the League believes in responsible gun ownership,” Brigham said. “Gun control is not a Second Amendment issue but a public-safety issue.”
There is a plethora of bills for this legislative session, Brigham said, because the National Rifle Association and its Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer lost ground in the last few sessions. “The gun lobby is not used to being challenged.”
This year, Brigham said, both campus-carry and open-carry (for those 1.7 million Floridians who hold concealed-weapons permits) may be on “shaky ground.” Campus-carry, as last year, is particularly “shaky” because, Brigham said, it makes no sense in an environment of alcohol and drug use, not to mention student depression (leading to suicide). In addition, university officials and law-enforcement groups are on the record opposed to campus-carry.
Passing responsible gun legislation is laid upon the states because, Brigham said, the federal government did next to nothing, even after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012 when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (Congress has even banned funding for the Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence.)
All bills, with their filing numbers, are on the League Web site (see Citizen Toolkit), and Brigham encourages partners and coalition supporters to study them and let legislators know if you’re opposed.
“The better informed we are, the safer we are,” Brigham said.


Farmer Press Conference, Back ground checks legislation
Proposed Bill to Close Gun Show Loophole
Senator Gary Farmer, D-Ft. Lauderdale, outlined his proposed bill to close the “mile-wide” background check loophole at gun shows during a news conference in Tallahassee hosted by the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
“What does this bill do? It requires all firearm sales be conducted by a licensed firearms dealer,” Farmer said.
Decision Florida, WMFE
Decision Florida on WMFE
Watch the “Decision Florida” show about gun legislation hosted by 90.7 WMFE health reporter Abe Aboraya. Abe talked about gun bills moving through the Florida Legislature with Republican attorney Wade Vose and League of Women Voters of Florida‘s Patricia M. Brigham.

Upcoming Events
Join the Sarasota Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for the forum, “Why Can’t We Do Something?” Featured speakers: Mark Barden, Co-Founder of Sandy Hook Promise, Cristen Rescigno, also with Sandy Hook Promise, and Patti Brigham, Co-Chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
We’re taking on the NRA, the gun lobby, and the politicians they fund to make Floridians safer from gun violence
The mission of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is to reduce and prevent gun crimes, injuries, and deaths via:
  • A state ban on all semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity feeding devices
  • Comprehensive universal background checks and ensuring that the State provides all relevant records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
  • Continuing our efforts to defeat unsafe gun legislation including Open Carry, Campus Carry and Stand Your Ground expansion
Contact: Patti Brigham
1st Vice President LWV of Florida,
Co-chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
The League of Women Voters of Florida, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please visit the League’s website at:
League of Women Voters of Florida, 540 Beverly Court, Tallahassee, FL 32301-7530

We need a budget that uplifts the common good!

President Trump released his “skinny budget” last week. The President’s budget is only a proposal, Congress will ultimately set our Nation’s spending priorities, but it is still important because it signals what the new president is thinking and what his vision for our common life is.

The President’s budget proposal calls for a large increase in military spending. This cost would be offset by severe cuts across much of the rest of the government. It would eliminate dozens of long-standing federal programs that assist the poor and slash funding for environmental protection, scientific research, foreign aid, and diplomacy.

This proposed budget also codifies a promise to build a wall on our southern border. It sets aside more than $4 billion to begin the building process as well as beefing up staffing needs to support more deportations.

Act now – Urge Congress to work towards a budget that reflects our commitment to the common good, uplifts all people and protects God’s Creation!

Reminding us that Jesus calls us to attend to the needs of the least of these, General Synod 25 challenged the United Church of Christ to support policies that serve the common good, saying:

“Our Christian faith speaks directly to public morality and the ways a nation should bring justice and compassion into its civic life.  In the story of the last judgment, Jesus tells us that nations will be judged by how they care for their most vulnerable citizens, those Jesus describes as, ‘the least of these who are members of my family.’ This story in Matthew (Matthew 25: 34-35) is not about personal salvation; rather it is presented as a story of the judgment of nations.”

This budget doesn’t reflect the values or commitments which we as people of faith hold dear. Now is the time to speak out!


THE ART SQUAD and the Activists ride again!

THE ART SQUAD and the Activists  ride again!  This time at the beach with red towels! (Start collecting extra red towels now.)

We plan to go to Treasure Island Beach the Beach and organize folks into giant human letters.

After we take aerial photos, sing, drum and watch the sunset we will join circles all over the world lighting at the 7PM candle lighting and meditation for World Peace and Justice.


THIS IS SET FOR NEXT WEEK! We need help to make it happen. Please pass this notice to whoever you can and ask your friends to repost it everywhere!

ALSO PLEASE come to my art studio  on  this Sat. March 4 at   1 :00 PM   to work on staffing the committees.  

Do this by going to the Facebook page, friending us and signing up for our event.  

You will find the committee sign-up and all the transportation and parking information there as well as my address and directions to my house and the committees there.

Our e-mail :


We are closing the event at 2000 so please go to the Facebook page and sign up NOW .

Here are the list of possibilities.

Media : get the word out and meet the press at the event

Set up – people to come early to the site and actually inscribe the letters in the sand

Clean-up– people who will take big plastic bags and scour our area at the end

Peacekeepers to keep disrupters from causing mayhem (and bad vibes)

Posters: cutters ahead of time and poster making supervisors at the site,

Letter Leaders who will fill up the outlines of their letter with people

Loud Voices  Chanting/Singing Drumming leaders who will encourage/conduct free form music throughout

March 8, 2017   5:30-7:15 PM

Come sit in the sand with us, form letters that say RESIST

and light a candle for world peace and justice.