Restoring Respect”, a community conversation, at The Cathedral Church of St. Peter

ST. PETERSBURG–The Cathedral Church of St. Peter will host a five-part series, “Restoring Respect: A Community Conversation,” starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The initial gathering, “Restoring Respect: Where Did It Go?” will offer a panel discussion with President Donald R. Eastman III; Eric Deggans, television critic for National Public Radio; and Dr. Brendan Goff, professor of history at New College, Sarasota.

“Lack of respect for those who look, think, worship or vote differently is one of the compelling issues of the day,” said the Very Rev. Stephen B. Morris, dean of the cathedral. “It is something we all confront, day in and day out, regardless of who we voted for in the presidential election, where we are on the political spectrum, where we get our news,” Dean Morris said. “This is a time of heat without light, shouting without listening. We want to contribute to a community conversation that helps us get beyond that, listen and learn from each other.”

Additional sessions and topics are:

Nov. 14: Restoring Respect: In the Media; Jan. 16: Restoring Respect: In Religion; Feb. 20: Restoring Respect: In Race; March 20: Restoring Respect: In Politics.

All five sessions are free and open to the public. The Cathedral is at 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. The entrance is on Second Avenue N, and there is free parking in the city-owned lots on the north side of Second Avenue opposite the Cathedral. Information:(727) 822-4173.


Lakewood UCC is a member of the Florida Coalition to prevent gun violence

Your energy is needed!
The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is on the move again with introducing bills that would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Senator Linda Stewart and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith brought the bills forward in the 2017 Legislative Session, and they are again sponsoring them for the upcoming 2018 Session. We applaud them for doing so. Read about their announcement here.
These bills did not get a hearing last Session, even though Florida had just experienced what was, at that time, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
This week with the terrible news out of Las Vegas, now the site of the worst mass shooting in American history, the ban is more relevant than ever. The Nevada shooter possessed 47 guns, and jerry-rigged his semiautomatic rifle so that it would work like a fully automatic weapon. The result was at least 58 people dead and over 500 injured.
We cannot allow the further normalization of gun violence. We should not have to fear getting shot whenever we step into a movie theater, nightclub, or attend a concert.
The fight for smart gun laws remains in the states. Senator Stewart’s and Rep. Smith’s proposals—SB 196 and HB 219—deserve a hearing. The time for debate on responsible gun safety legislation is long overdue. We need your help to encourage Florida Legislative leaders to hear these bills!
Please call the following lawmakers and request that they give Senate Bill 196 and House Bill 219 a fair hearing!
Senate President Joe Negron
Senator Bill Galvano
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Greg Steube
House Speaker Richard Corcoran
House Rules Chairman Rep. Jose Oliva
House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman, Rep. Ross Spano
Thank you! With the thousands of members under the umbrella of the Coalition and League of Women Voters of Florida, we can affect grassroots change that will make our state safer from gun violence.
In League,
Pamela Goodman
Patti Brigham
Co-Chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

League of Women Voters of Florida


Florida Coalition to end gun violence

Lakewood UCC is a member of Florida Coalition to end gun violence

Media Contact:
Pamela Goodman
President, LWV Florida
Patricia Brigham
Co-Chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Statement from LWVFL and Coalition on Las Vegas Shooting
Once again, Americans awoke this morning to the news of another horrific mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. At this writing, at least 58 were killed by a lone gunman. In addition, over 500 people were injured. Just a little more than a year after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the mass shooting in Las Vegas is now the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
While we are still learning the facts of what happened, the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence mourn the loss of life of so many innocent people in Las Vegas. However, the response of our elected officials with messages of “thoughts and prayers” is insufficient. We do not elect our government officials for thoughts and prayers. We elect them to make law. We cannot continue to allow easy access to assault weapons in our country. We have seen the consequences of such access too many times. We honor the lives lost today with our unwavering commitment to protect all communities from gun violence.
Pamela S. Goodman
LWV Florida
Patricia Brigham
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Andy Pelosi
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

Response to Las Vegas Shooting


Las Vegas Response, Oct. 2, 2017


Having trouble viewing this email? Click here Oct. 2, 2017

Conference Call


Rev. John VertiganDear Church,

The member congregations and staff of the Florida Conference woke this morning to an all-too-familiar tragedy; a mass shooting. Our hearts break at the thought of more terror being spread by a lone gunman with a high-volume weapon. We are brought back to the morning of June 12, 2016, when the PULSE nightclub became a crime scene and a memorial.

We hold our sister churches in Las Vegas in our prayers, knowing that the path to wholeness is a long one and that the scars of those few minutes of gunfire will stay with the Las Vegas community for years to come. As congregations in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and Hood, Texas, have taught us, the work of healing goes on long after the cameras are gone and the candles have gone out, and people are left with pain in body and soul.

We are also witnesses to the power of love. We learned from the PULSE shooting that communities can come together to proclaim and live out the gospel news that LOVE WINS. Violence scars and strains our communities, but it is not the final word.

But as faith communities that respond to individual need, to natural disasters and to the specific needs of our local communities, we have to ask ourselves and our nation this question: what are we called to do to help end gun violence? Whatever the motive of this shooter, he had the means to inflict enormous harm in a very short time. Can we continue to wring our hands and accept this violence, or will we seek policies that limit the access of angry people to means of destruction? As contentious as this issue can be, it is one that we must confront if we are to honor the memories of those who have been lost today and each day.

The Florida Conference is a member of the Florida Coalition to End Gun Violence, and we encourage our local settings to act for the safety and security of all God’s children. We hold in prayer those who have lost loved ones, or who face long-term rehabilitation. We ask that our members be sensitive to victims of violence who are re-traumatized by this event. And we pray for the courage to confront the gun violence in our society, believing that change can happen.

Be at peace and be in touch, won’t you. LOVE WINS.

Rev. John Vertigan

The Rev. John Vertigan
Conference Minister

A pdf version of this letter on Florida Conference letterhead is available here for further distribution.


e-Celebrate archive

UCC in Florida website

UCC national site

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United Church of Christ in Florida
9300 University Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32817
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Another Florida Execution Scheduled

Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Michael Lambrix for Thursday, October 5th at 6pm. This would be the 25th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Originally scheduled for February 2016, Mr. Lambrix’s execution was put on hold when the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hearst decision declared sentencing juries must be unanimous. There were hopes that Lambrix would be resentenced to life in prison, where he has already served 33 years. But the state of Florida has since determined that the Hearst decision could not be considered retroactive, so the 8-4 and 10-2 jury decisions to execute have been declared legally binding.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. More information is available at We expect that there will be a vigil at the time of execution; information about that will be shared when available. In the meantime, letters to Gov. Scott (400 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399) are an appropriate response.


Help for Hurricane Harvey

Help for Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 28: Evacuees are helped to dry land after their homes were inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is already engaged in response to Hurricane Harvey by supporting partners and planning for recovery. Giving to the Harvey appeal ensures that 100% of your support will be used for disaster relief and rehabilitation targeting the unique needs of vulnerable individuals and families. We do this by being nimble and adaptable in each disaster which allows us to fill gaps in services through provisions of spiritual care, community organizing, repair and reconstruction of homes, tools, building materials and volunteer coordination.

This Epic disaster will require an epic response. Your generous contribution today makes the long-term response that will be needed, possible.

Read more about how UCC Disaster Ministries is responding and how you can help by clicking here.


League of Women Voters’ Sunrise Over the Bay: Sustainability Summit

Sunrise Over the Bay: Sustainability Summit
Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT
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Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 8th Ave SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5020
Driving Directions

Hello Claire!

Solar panels, bicycles and electric cars, green stormwater management, preserving beaches. Each of these helps make our area more sustainable.
What’s going on in your county? Your city? Maybe even your neighborhood?
Sunrise Over the Bay, sponsored by the LWVSPA Sustainability Action Group, will look at the many ways organizations and individuals are working towards clean energy and clean water–and sustainability.
Speakers include:
  • Alan Brand, AKA the “Solar Shepherd”
  • Mary Dipboye, FL SUN Solar Co-op
  • Claude Tankersley, St Pete Public Works
  • Holly Greening, Tampa Bay Estuary
  • Andy Squires, PC Beach Restoration
  • Susan Glickman, Southern Alliance Clean Energy
  • Dr. Gary Mitchum, Associate Dean,USF College of Marine Science
Topics will include solar energy co-ops, actions the City and County have taken in support of solar energy, and community solar opportunities. Also, as part of the conversation about climate change, participants will explore stormwater and wastewater planning, integrated sustainability action planning, and beach replenishment,
Register Now!
Doors will open at 8:00 am. A 20-minute break mid-program between sessions when light refreshments will be provided.


Metered street parking is available, along with the pay lot at the Mahaffey Theatre.

Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available. Tables will be available at no charge to non-profit exhibitors. Please reply to this email to reserve your vendor/table spot.
We hope to see you at Sustainability Summit 2017!
LWV-St. Pete Sustainability Action Group Co-Chairs,
Lisa Vanover
Claire Karas
Susan Tuite
LWVSPA, P.O. Box 11775, St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Workshop Offers How-to for Citizen Action

Workshop Offers How-to
for Citizen Action
A spirit of activism not seen since at least 2008 is sweeping across America. Motivated by the 2016 election campaign and its outcome, people on both sides of the political aisle are energized to become active in the political process – either to support the policies of the current administration at the national, state or local level, or to oppose them. But many are unsure of how the process works. How does one begin to make a difference in the political world?


Former Congressman David Jolly and Pinellas County Commission Chair Janet Long will provide national and local perspectives on our system of government at a workshop as part of our Civics Literacy Initiative. Sponsored by the Institute and the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area Democracy 101: A Civic Action Primer takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 at the American Stage Theatre, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg. This free workshop will provide the basics of government structure, policy-making, and civic engagement.


Moderating the workshop will be Tara Newsom, Professor of Social and Behavioral Science at SPC, and Julie Kessel, president of the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area. They will give a brief overview of the nuts and bolts of government as well as strategies for engaging with elected and appointed officials. Advance registration is available here.

St Petersburg Plastic Bag Ban Petition

As the St. Petersburg City Council considers a ban on plastic bags, 36 members of Lakewood UCC signed a petition in support of such a ban. Along with the petition, Rev. Kim Wells sent a letter of explanation, it read:

Dear Members of the St. Petersburg City Council,
Greetings!  Our church is committed to the directive in the book of Genesis that humanity care for the Earth (Genesis 1:28).  We take this responsibility very seriously.  We feel an obligation to protect the Earth and all of the life that it supports.  We continue to seek out ways to fulfill this requirement of the Christian as well as the Jewish faith.
To this end, we enclose a petition in support of the limitation of the use of plastic bags.  This petition was circulated in church on the past two Sunday mornings.  There were about 30 people in attendance each Sunday.  We feel that the banning of plastic bags is an important way to show greater care and respect for the Earth and for the wildlife of our area.
I was in Portland, OR for a week in May attending a meeting and seeing the area since I had never been there.  After four days, I noticed that I had not been given a plastic bag at a store.  Paper bags had been used.  The next time I went to a store I asked about this.  Was there some kind of law or prohibition against plastic bags?  Oh yes!  The clerk was very enthusiastic about it and was quite surprised to hear that we did not have this in Florida.
Thank you for pursuing this initiative here in St. Petersburg.  Hopefully other municipalities will follow suit.  It’s good to live in a city that is setting the pace!
Many thanks for your leadership and service.
Rev. Kim Wells, pastor

Lakewood UCC presence at Candlelight Vigil for Charlottesville

On Sunday evening, August 13, Susan Pomeroy and Sue Sherwood from LUCC attended the Charlottesville Solidarity Vigil at Demens Landing in St. Petersburg. This candlelight vigil drew people together within 24 hours of the tragic and deadly confrontations in Virginia. This gathering was organized by many local organizations, among them the Women’s March Pinellas Chapter.

It was a hushed atmosphere. Gradually 300-500 people of all ages gathered – silently walking across the park to stand together or sit on the grass and talk quietly – remembering, mourning. praying, and breathing deeply of the power of community. Many in the crowd quietly held signs as in the January marches: Love Trumps Hate, Black Lives Matter, We the People Can Resist. The Uhurus silently wove through the crowd with a sign and flyers for their mayoral candidate.

There were many inspiring speakers — County Commissioner Ken Welch and Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith among them — the crowd often breaking into applause. One shared that the violence of Charlottesville brought back memories of what it was like growing up in racially charged Florida decades ago, urging us to reach out to one another across the differences that divide us and claim common ground. City Council’s Darden Rice called us all to view again the photo of the car plowing through the crowd in Charlottesville and to look deeply into each of the faces there.

As the evening drew to a close, we were heartened by this caring community with the pink sky above us and the babies around us, cuddled and happy as we raised candles of hope for their future to be one of justice and peace. We lingered after the candle-lighting to hear the shared music and poetry – passion expressed in so many ways.

We were especially touched by Rabbi Michael Torop of Temple Beth-El, who blessed us with one of the most ancient prayers in Judaism:

Yevarechecha Adonai u’vishmarechav
May All that is Good surround you and protect you;
Ya’eir Adonai panav eleicha v’chuneka
May All that is Good enlighten you, and may you then shine it on others;
Yisa Adonai panav eleicha, v’yaseim lecha shalom.
May All that is Good be your constant companion, and may such Goodness bring you, indeed bring to all of us, wholeness, completeness, unity and peace.

–Sue Sherwood

Click on any picture for a larger image.

Here you can see the Vigil from the front near the stage. Squatting down & holding the “Hate Has No Home Here” sign is Joran Oppelt, President of Interfaith Tampa Bay. The Interfaith statement to the community is immediately below the picture.

Interfaith Tampa Bay Statement
In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, VA and as members of Interfaith Tampa Bay, we feel it is imperative to make our position clear.
It is the mission of Interfaith Tampa Bay to build bridges between individuals and faith communities through shared dialogue and experience, heal ourselves and our society by serving the community and fighting injustice together, and effect change in our world by promoting non-violence and religious pluralism.
This amazing and beautiful country belongs to all of us, not just one race, not just one religion. And while we believe in the benefits of multiculturalism, a culture of hate is not sustainable for our city, our society or the planet.
We invite people of all faiths (as well as our atheist brothers and sisters) to join us in our stand and support for what is right and just for all.
We believe that by whatever name we choose – God, Allah, Creator, The Force – there is something that connects us all. And that unifying principle, that Golden Rule – no matter how difficult it may seem – is that we love one another.
It is time to send a message to those who would support a culture of hatred, fear and xenophobia (specifically white nationalism and white supremacy). It is time for us to share the antidote for those who would poison the minds of our children. The message is that your time is up and we are not willing to let you divide us or run our country into chaos. The antidote is love, acceptance, courage, non-violence and dialogue.
Interfaith Tampa Bay stands in solidarity with all who uphold these principles in Tampa Bay and beyond.
Peace be upon you, Shalom aleikhem, As-salamu alaykum.
The Board of Directors of Interfaith Tampa Bay
Joran Slane Oppelt, President
Imam Abdul Karim Ali, Vice President
Rev. J.C. Pritchett, Secretary
Rev. Doral Pulley, Treasurer
Rev. Canon Katie Churchwell
Rev. Katy Korb
Kitty Rawson


Operation Attack July Newsletter

Operation Attack
1310 22nd Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33705 (727) 822-1187


July 2017 Peggy Junkin & Diane Klamer – Lead Volunteers
Hours: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm (1st, 2nd, 3rd Tuesday each month)
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm (One evening a month)

The 2017-2018 school year will be beginning on August 10. Operation Attack continued our regular Tuesday morning schedule through the summer months, providing both food and children’s clothing. We hoped by continuing the summer schedule that our clients would feel less stress as they prepared for their children’s new school year. We appreciate your help in providing the students in our community the appropriate clothing, new underwear, socks, and a school uniform, if required. During the first half of the year we provided assistance to 271 families, clothed 301 children and fed 661 people.

We wish to extend a big Thank You to our friends at St. Andrew Lutheran Church who had a special collection for layette items in observance of Rachel’s Day. Rachel’s Day is a time set aside to mourn the loss of our children and to renounce the forces of violence and fear. The day takes its name from Jeremiah 31:15-17, in which matriarch Rachel grieves for her children. We were blessed to receive baby items, including newborn diapers, sleepers, onesies, bibs, clothing and more.

Each one of you, with your regular donations, special food and clothing drives, and volunteering your time, are critical to our being able to serve our neighbors who need this support.

Volunteers Needed
• To launder, sort and organize by gender, items donated and purchased for layettes.
• To be an “on call” volunteer when we need substitutes for our regular volunteers while they are on vacation or there is a special need.

Clothing Needs
As well as underwear and socks, we especially need jackets of all sizes and uniform items required by many of our schools.
Boys slacks/shorts, khaki or navy, size 5 -16
Girls slacks/shorts/skirts/skorts, khaki or navy, size 5-16, teen 7 & 9
Polo shirts without logos for both boys and girls, size 5-16, teen S,M,L
(white, navy, hunter green, maroon, sky blue, red)
We also welcome donations of newborn diapers to be included in the layettes and travel size hygiene products for seniors we serve from the Neighborly Care Network.

Food Needs
We can always use canned fruit, soup, vegetables, meat, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter and cereal.

Speakers/Tours available
We would be happy to speak to your group about Operation Attack or provide a tour of our facility.


United Church of Christ presence at St. Pete Pride 2017


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
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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.