Sarasota United for Responsibility and Equity (SURE) was founded 12 years ago when clergy from diverse congregations throughout the city of Sarasota recognized the need to unite with one another to form a powerful voice. SURE has an interfaith membership of 17 congregations with over 20,000 members from across Sarasota. It is a justice ministry, fostering community-wide action on the problems of individuals and families in the areas of poverty, crime, sickness, housing, education and environmental degradation.
Our local justice ministries seek to live out the calling of God “to do justice,” as stated in Micah 6:8 and Matthew 23:23-24. “Doing justice” means holding our political and economic systems accountable to the core, Biblical values of fairness, love and respect. To do justice requires having enough power to hold these systems accountable.
Because one congregation doesn’t have enough people-power to hold the systems accountable for justice, congregations together build power and exercise their power by turning out hundreds, even thousands, of people to an annual community meeting – the Nehemiah Action – to win needed changes. Pine Shores is a participating and committed congregation.
- In 2016 SURE secured $2.25 million over the next three years for a Comprehensive Treatment Court that will help homeless people with mental illness get into 6 months of housing and wrap around services.
- In 2014 Sarasota arrested more kids for first time, non-serious misdemeanors than Miami-Dade, a County 5 times our size. In 2015 SURE got the local stakeholders; the State Attorney, Public Defender, and Chief Judge to support the implementation of Civil Citation in Sarasota for the first time ever. In the first three months of the Civil Citation program, youth arrests dropped by 77%.
- SURE got the School Superintendent to adopt a restorative justice program to reduce suspensions in all County Schools by 2019. Keeping children in school means a better educated workforce, less kids going into adulthood with arrest records, less crime on the streets, and less burden on the family.
- The Addiction Recovery Pod in the Sarasota County jail was created in partnership with the Salvation Army. To date this program has reduced recidivism by over 60%, and more than 1500 inmates have participated in the program, while incarcerated. The cost to the taxpayer……..zero dollars.
If you would like to be part of SURE and represent Pine Shores in identifying serious problems and research solutions that will be presented to the proper officials and work with them to make “sure” our community is a just one, please call the church at 941-922-1597.