MUUSAN on the move
Clean Elections YES
A big "Thank You" to all MUUSAN members who helped collect signatures for the Maine Citizens for Clean Elections ballot initiative! We received this message from BJ McCollister, Program Director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections:
Absolutely amazing. Together we collected 11,316 signatures on Primary Day. Not only did we hit our goal, but we more than doubled it! Needless to say, we are heading into the summer with momentum. Thank you for the important role you played in this success.
Preparations for the ballot initiative will continue through 2014. If you would like to learn more about how you or your congregation can be involved, email us
. MCCE has a wonderful multimedia presentation explaining the issues of money in politics. If you can host a presentation at your church, contact MUUSAN or visit MCCE’s website
Beyond Maine, campaign finance reform is one of the justice issues on the GA agenda. MUUSAN members attending GA will be following that discussion in Providence. Watch for updates on the Democracy page on the MUUSAN website.
Trudy Ferland collecting signatures for the
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections ballot initiative.
Join Muusan at the Pride! Portland Parade
MUUSAN is registered to march in the Pride Portland! Parade this year. UUs whose congregations will not otherwise have a presence at the parade are warmly invited to join us. Bring your congregation's GA banner! Regardless, UUs from around the state are welcome to march behind our new MUUSAN banner. The parade starts at noon on Saturday, June 21, from Monument Square in Portland and ends on Park Avenue in front of Deering Oaks Park. Check-in and line-up will begin at 10 am. Although it is not necessary to RSVP, specific information about the parade will be sent via email the week of the event; if we have your email address, we can let you know more details closer to parade time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before the parade, participants are invited to an interfaith service at 10 am at First Parish Church, UU, 425 Congress Street, Portland—a chance for people of different faiths to come together for Pride. The service is co-sponsored by the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, a state-wide interfaith network of clergy and lay religious leaders whose mission is to educate and advocate for the civil and human rights of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within our diverse Maine congregations and communities.
2014 Pride Portland! Parade – A Ruby Celebration: 40 Years of Progress!
Monument Square to Deering Oaks Park via Congress Street and High Street
12 – 1pm, Saturday, June 21
Environment & Climate Change Issue Group Report
- US Congressman and gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud
- Sarah Holmes, Coordinator of the USM Center for Sexualities & Gender Diversity, Co-Chair of GLSEN-Southern Maine and youth advisor for Portland Outright
- The Maines Family – transgender and student rights activists
At MUUSAN’s May 24 meeting at UU Community Church in Augusta, Environment & Climate Change group chair Melanie Lanctot reported on recent events.
Despite Governor LePage’s vetoes, three environmental initiatives did pass during the recent legislative session.
- Lawmakers rejected weakened rules regulating open pit mining. The protective 1991 rules will remain in place until the Legislature adopts new rules.
- New funding was provided for LakeSmart and the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, and also to combat invasive species. However, a bill that would reduce lake fertilizer pollution failed by 3 votes to override the governor’s veto.
- One of two bills promoting solar energy passed. The new legislation established goals for solar energy development and directs the Public Utilities Commission to produce a report on the value of solar energy to Maine’s people.
Call to Action
- At a public hearing at the State House, more than thirty persons spoke in favor of an initiative that called for divestment of fossil fuel stocks by the Maine State Retirement System. MainePERS, by law, can base their investment decisions only on financial benefit to retirees; they will study the issue.
- The UUA Board is supporting a resolution to divest of fossil fuel-related stock , to be voted on during General Assembly, June 25-29.
- On May 21, UU Community Church of Augusta hosted an interfaith meeting on divestment sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light and 350 Maine. Twenty-one people attended, representing at least seven denominations (Baha’i, Catholic, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, and Quaker.) Rev. Margaret Beckman (minister at First Universalist in Pittsfield and MUUSAN treasurer) spoke on the religious basis of divestment – the earth is not ours but God’s, and that fear and greed keep us tied to fossil fuels. Nicole Dolan of Veris Wealth Partners spoke on the risks and benefits of divestment, and suggested that the fiscal argument for divestment is the possibility of stranded assets. We can only use a fifth of known reserves without causing catastrophic climate change, yet fossil fuel companies use investor funds to continue to search for new reserves. When a price is placed on carbon, the value of these stocks will “drop drastically”. Analyses show negligible financial loss from divestment. (Divestment meeting minutes are attached.) If anyone wants to be included in future conversations, contact Karen Marysdaughter.
On June 2, the EPA will be releasing regulations that reduce the permissible emission of CO2
from existing power plants. Please ask Senators Collins and King to fight for their passage!
Upcoming Event: First Annual Portland Greenfest, Sept. 13, 2014
Organized by the non-profit, Greater Portland Sustainability Council
in partnership with a number of leading community organizations, Portland Greenfest is expected to draw between 2,000 and 5,000 attendees to Monument Square and nearby venues for music, art, cultural performances, exhibits, children's activities and more, all centered around environmental sustainability. Let’s make sure that MUUSAN is represented!
New MUUSAN Website
MUUSAN has a new and revised website, www.MUUSAN.org,
The site was designed by John Adams and Lindy Gifford, both of the Midcoast Fellowship, with content from the MUUSAN steering committee and issue group chairs. We will continue to add to content.
The site includes a description of MUUSAN, specific issue group pages, resources, and events. On the Events page, you’ll find MUUSAN related events, but we envision the calendar page as a clearing house for all kinds of social justice events in Maine. If your congregation is hosting an event, use the form on the website to send the details to us and we will post the information.
Workshops and worship, policies and politics, old and new friends, 4,000 UU's all singing "Gather the Spirit…" If it's the first time you attend or the fifteenth, there's nothing quite like General Assembly, the annual conference of the Unitarian Universalist Association. And MUUSAN will be there, in numbers. Indeed, six members of our Steering Committee are attending GA, to be held June 25 – 29 in Providence, Rhode Island—Trudy Ferland, Kent Price, Lindy Gifford, Carol Larson, Dale McCormick, and Rev. Margaret Beckman.
Are you attending GA? Look for MUUSAN’s brochures at the State Advocacy Networks booth in the Exhibition Hall. Also watch for the brand-new MUUSAN banner during opening night's banner parade. Should we try to have some kind of MUUSAN social gathering while in Providence? It would be difficult, as folks are so involved with events at conflicting times, but it would seem a shame to pass on the opportunity. If you would be interested in a MUUSAN get-together, email Trudy at email@example.com.
Have We Met?
Since its inception in November 2012, MUUSAN folks have held regular meetings at the Community Church of Augusta, for a variety of good reasons. Prime among them are the more or less central location, imposing long travel times on as few persons as possible, and the fact that UUCC acts as our fiscal agent and email host. But the most compelling reason derives from our very purpose: Giving Voice to UU Values in the Public Arena.
Where is the public arena in Maine? From time to time Portland or Bangor or Lewiston can offer an argument, but when the Legislature is in session and often when it's not, Augusta is where the action is.
So we will continue to hold most meetings in the Capital City, but we are aware that we are making it difficult for many folks to attend a two or three hour meeting AND a long drive. We see mostly the same faces meeting to meeting, and it's not because people are disinterested. It's just too big an ask.
At our May 24 meeting we discussed this vexing issue and decided to convene from time to time somewhere other than Augusta. Accordingly, the first meeting out of Kennebec County
is set for September 13 at the UU Church of Belfast.
Please let all your friends know so they might put it on their calendars: 10 am to 12 noon,
with maybe another hour for a guest speaker; details still to be arranged. More in a following newsletter.
Have we met? Perhaps not, but soon!
Inequality for All Film Available
The Auburn UU church social justice committee purchased the Robert Reich film inequality for All and is eager to share it with other groups. Small donations are welcomed to help defray costs. If you're interested please email Toby Haber at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!