Social Justice Ministries - New and Growing!
Our Mission Statement

Recognizing  the interconnectedness of all Creation,

we seek to act for God's justice

and encourage our congregation

to participate in justice ministries.

"What does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." 

Micah 6:8

Economic Justice - Poverty is just one of the many evils that results from economic injustice. So, too, are inadequate wages and benefits.

 

Environmental Justice - Whether we admit it or not, the climate is definitely changing.  What, if anything, can we do about it?

Immigration Justice - Concern for the the stranger--the alien--is part of our Judeo-Christian social justice heritage.

Racial Justice - Racism has been called "America's original sin." What can be done to combat it?

Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
 
 
Lights for Liberty

On July 12, Indivisible Action SW Florida held a “Lights for Liberty” candlelight vigil in our church. The event was established to bring attention to the plight of asylum seekers, immigrants, and most importantly, immigrant children who have been separated from their parents and families and are incarcerated in a “for-profit” prison at Homestead, Florida. Lights for Liberty is an international organization which organizes events to support human rights and to promote human dignity. On July 12, nearly 700 vigils took place around the world to bring attention to the treatment of immigrants in the United States.  

 

Our vigil had about 70 attendees participating in the evening’s program which consisted of a first person testimonial about her visits to Homestead, solemn readings of immigration lawyers’ quotes from children who had been interviewed, a reading of the names of the children who have died in U.S. custody as they came to America for a better life, and finally, a candlelit moment of silence to reflect on the predicament of the people who are incarcerated across the country.

 

Vielka Wambold recently returned from a weeklong “witness” to the conditions she saw at Homestead and reported on her experiences. Vielka’s account was wrenching as she talked about climbing on ladders so that she could see over the walls to the children fenced in beyond the barricade. Witnesses wave signs and posters in support of the children and to indicate that they are not forgotten and that we care about them. The protesters have gathered around Homestead’s premises for many months, with sometimes hundreds of caring people congregating in the hot sun. The children are in very crowded conditions, are not allowed to see siblings, have no access to education, recreation, or language training, and are not allowed visits by Congressional members or immigration lawyers. These practices go against the notion of basic human dignity and human rights responsibilities.

 

Petitions were circulated throughout the evening beseeching our members of Congress (Senators Rubio and Scott and Representative Steube) to take action to close down these camps, especially Homestead, stating that these practices are inhumane and un-American. These have been mailed to Washington on behalf of our Indivisible membership. There will be more Indivisible action events protesting these camps in the foreseeable future. A collection was also taken to help offset costs for water, chairs, umbrellas, cell phones, poster supplies, and housing needed to support the witness program. Over $500 has been sent to the organizers at Homestead.  Submitted by Judy Minier, Indivisible Co-Facilitator

 

Support for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and the Fair Food Program was the first "social action" of the Social Justice Ministries Committee, which began its work in December of 2017. This is a "shared" ministry with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Charlotte County.  

An ongoing part of this ministry are the monthly protests that are held at a local Wendy's to heighten public awareness of the Fair Food Program and Wendy's continued resistance to participate.

On March 14, 2019, the CIW is mounted a protest at four universities around the country that have a supplier relationship with Wendy's.  One of the locations is the University of Florida in Gainesville.  Two members of the church attended the protest traveled with CIW members by bus.  Other members of the church as well as our Endowment Team provided donations to help offset travel expenses for the group.

Nobel Prize Winner Terri Root, Ph.D.

The Social Justice Team has been instrumental in bringing Nobel Prize Winner Terri Root, Ph.D., to our congregation not once, but twice!

 

Most recently, on April 12, 2019, Dr. Root's timely presentation, "Innocent Victims: Impact of Plastics on Wildlife," was in partnership with other environmentally-conscious groups, including the Citizens' Climate Lobby (Port Charlotte-Punta Gorda Chapter), Environmental Indivisible (a sub-group of Indivisible), Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, Peace River Wildlife Center (which displayed some rescue birds), and The Last Straw.  Dr. Root's research while at Stanford University addressed how plants and animals are changing with the changing climate.  Her presentation encouraged us to use less plastics, especially single-use plastics, because of their impact on wildlife and, ultimately, us.  The event was well received with 125+ attendees, who appreciated the message, door prizes and refreshments.  Our thanks to the CUCC-PG Endowment Committee for their financial support of this event.  You can see her speech by following the link below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qhoDDcvVmslwGF7cMVNxd7rF7LNCYcYz/view?usp=sharing

On April 21, 2018, Dr. Terri Root enlightened the community on the problems of "Changing Climate."  You can see her 2018 speech by following the links below:

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TYgSLI_bq6tu7qO2uJePrzmk-ZSnRHpj/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FIiWe1CqlvdUwpnbldbKsbPDRz8n5x1O/view?usp=sharing

"Reclaiming Faith, Hope And Justice"
A Presentation by Natosha Reed Rice

On November 10, 2018, we had the privilege of listening to and interacting with Natosha Reid Rice, Associate General Counsel, Habitat for Humanity International, Inc., and Associate Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia.  She travels around the world speaking out on behalf of the historically disadvantaged.  She shared some words of wisdom for our community. You can watch her speech by clicking on this link:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qZ9UTYVK9xAsVHHUKMhsaWiXGzy23Ezp

The Congregational United Church of Christ

1201 Aqui Esta Drive

Punta Gorda, Florida  33950

Telehone: 941-637-8443