Tampa Friends Meeting, while small, can be mighty when taking action, especially when we join with other individuals and organizations, Quaker and non-Quaker, for action involving our community, the region, our nation and the world. To learn more about why we hold these values, why we witness and seek social and economic justice, visit our Queries and Advices page.
Florida Representative Anthony Sabatini has filed HB 211, the Transgender Youth Medical Care Ban, which calls for imprisoning doctors for providing medical care to transgender youth, putting politicians between trans youth, their parents, and their doctor. The text of the bill can be found online.
According to Equality Florida, attacks on the transgender community in Florida (especially transgender women) are increasing following the state’s passage of the ban on trans youth in sports (signed into law by Governor DeSantis on June 1, 2021). In addition, viral videos show trans children in Florida schools being physically bullied. A 2017 report by the CDC reported that 35% of trans students are bullied at school and 35% attempt suicide. The full report can be found online. Transgender Identity and Experiences of Violence Victimization, Substance Use, Suicide Risk, and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among High School Students — 19 States and Large Urban School Districts, 2017 | MMWR.
As Quakers, consistent with our belief of that of God in everyone and our testimony of social and economic justice, in order to meet our responsibilities to the community and the world, we are to “do all in our power to end governmental, social, economic, and educational injustices in our community and to create equal opportunity for all. [To that end] we are to encourage inclusiveness and discourage discrimination…encourage all efforts to overcome prejudices…and to cherish diversity.” (Southeastern Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends Faith and Practice, 4th edition 2013)
Therefore, on 10 October 2021, Tampa Meeting approved the following minute:
Tampa Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, recognizing the injustice of the proposed HB 211 in denying transgender children medical care, calls on our Florida state representatives and senators, as well as Governor DeSantis not to support this bill.
Tampa Monthly Meeting encourages a letter writing campaign to Friends’ state representatives, senators, and to Governor DeSantis. If you do not know who your Florida senator or representative is, visit this link and enter your address. Then you will have to find your way to a contact link for them. Email the Governor at GovernorRon.Desantis@eog.myflorida.com and/or a phone call to the Governor’s office at 850-717-9337. For additional assistance, please call the State Assistance Information Line at 800-342-3557.
UPDATE: We are happy to report that the governor has reversed his decision on accepting federal funding to help alleviate hunger in Florida children.
According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times dated 24 August 2021, “Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administraton has not yet applied for up to $820 million in food assistance to more than 2 million Florida children...”
Because our Quaker faith tells us there is that of God in everyone, including children, we are called to aid the poor and helpless and to care for the vulnerable.
Tampa Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, recognizing the severe problem of childhood hunger in Florida and society’s moral duty to confront this, calls on our elected officials to apply for all Federal food assistance benefits to fully fund, among other programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. i. e. SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) and the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program.
Tampa Monthly Meeting encourages a letter writing campaign to Governor DeSantis. Email the Governor at GovernorRon dot Desantis at eog dot myflorida dot com and/or a phone call to the Governor’s office at 850-717-9337.
For additional assistance, please call the State Assistance Information Line at 800-342-3557.
Two baskets have been placed in the foyer of the back (worship) building for donations. One is for nonperishable food items and the other is for new and unused toiletries and clothing. The donations will be taken to a local food bank weekly. Thank you for sharing.