Minutes for MPJC Meeting of January 3, 2007


Present: Lois, Bernie, Ed, Lee, Ellyn, Peter

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for November 15: The minutes were approved as written.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Saturday Vigil Participation (Rey): The Saturday vigils have been well attended for the last month with 7-8 folks turning out. Peter made a second set of signs and stands for Ted to keep, so we no longer have to depend on the Monday folks to bring signs on Saturday. The response from passers-by has been mixed, but no more confrontations have occurred.

        b. MPJC statement on Lebanon/Gaza ( Lee, Caroline): We have not heard back from Neve (Caroline contacted him) or Sis (but Lois said she had not been able to get in touch with her because Lois' computer has been down) in answer to our outline of response to this situation. We asked them to suggest ways to resolve the conflict. When we get their responses, we will formulate a statement for comment on the list.

        c. CLAP project (Carol): Carol could not attend and we had no news on this project.

        d. Meeting with Donnelly (Peter): Peter did not succeed in contacting anyone who could set up a meeting with Donnelly. Now that Hodge Patel has been named his South Bend director, we will again try to set up a meeting. We will ask for a meeting with Donnelly himself and ask him our questions. We need to convince him how important it is to end the war as soon as possible. The Democrats' 100 hours plan has no mention of the war. The message we are getting from the press is that the Democrats do not want to seem weak on defense and won't push for withdrawal in spite of the fact that the major issue in the election was the conduct of the war. We should get folks who worked hard on Joe's campaign to attend the meeting with him.

        e. MPJC Statement on Withdrawal from Iraq (Lee): Lee has made no progress on this statement. We noted that MPJC already has a strong statement on immediate withdrawal and those at the meeting did not see a need to modify it.

        f. IPJN report (Lee): Lee handed out the minutes from the last conference call. The main points are that the best way to put pressure on the elected officials is to build the peace movement and bring about a groundswell for withdrawal. Saying that the peace movement was betrayed by the Democrats leads nowhere. There was no promise to end the war from the Democratic party before the elections. We should support the January 27th UFPJ rally in DC. The Bloomington folks are arranging transportation. The 2007 Midwest Peace and Justice Summit will be held April 13/14. They want to encourage attendance by young people this year. IPJN is encouraging the member groups to get involved in the Action Options project. The Action Options Tool is the next level of interactive website that many of us have desired the IPJN website to be. We will have the opportunity to be easily linked to many other statewide coalitions: Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Minnesota, and soon, many others. Essentially, a group posts an action they are planning and other groups can decide to support the action. A final item concerns the Declaration of Peace. There have been 600 organizations sponsoring 375 events in 100 cities from May to September. The next phase II is focusing on defunding the war in Iraq. 120 groups have signed direct action pledges including Voices for Creative Conflict, AFSC, UFPJ, NW Indiana Against the Iraq War, etc. It was recommended that all should go to the Website and review their actions being planned. It was also suggested that IPJN be a sponsor. If there are no objections voiced, IPJN will sign up as a sponsor, after the holidays.

Caroline is working on a proposal for us to develop a leaflet for door-to-door canvassing. IPJN will print the leaflets for us and pass the idea to the whole network. She will report at the next meeting.

         g. Yellow T-shirts (Ellyn): Ellyn purchased 25 large and extra-large Work for Peace t-shirts for use at vigils and the meeting with Donnelly. There was a brief discussion on how to wear them during the cold weather

    3. Treasurer's Report: We have $438.30 in the bank and received a $5.00 donation at the meeting. Although we agreed to spend $50 to renew our www.michianapeace justice domain name, Kay was able to find a cheaper host. We spent $8.00 for reregistering the domain name and $6.00 to forward those who use www.michianapeacejustice.org to the community.michiana.org/justice host site where we keep our web pages.

New Business

    1. MLK Day Events: Lois will have a table all day at Century Center on January 15. She wants help organizing the message. She thought of focusing on counter recruitment materials with some coverage of the good that the money we are spending on the war ($355 billion and counting -- never made part of the budget) could be doing re health care and other social issues. Peter will update the Cost of War brochure and get the flyers and brochures from the art fair table to Lois. We will march with the banners at noon from the County-City building to Century Center. We will find an anti-war quote from MLK to pin to the bottom of the MPJC banner.

    2. Donnelly's Inauguration: The meeting turned out to be before the inauguration, but several of our activists as well as busloads of union folks have gone to DC to attend.

    3. UFPJ Rally in DC on Jan 27: Notre Dame is organizing vans to take folks to DC. PSA and the Peace Coalition are working on this, but things are on hold until ND reopens next week. We will push for an enhanced Saturday vigil on the 27th to offer local support for the rally. Perhaps someone can attend the CPNV meeting on Tuesday, January 9, at the Unitarian Church to see if they are planning anything.

    4. Topic of the Month: We decided to work on the Topics already proposed.

    5. Other topics and issues: January 11 is the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo prison camp for detainees who are being denied their rights. We will develop some signs for the regular vigils next week to spotlight this situation. The web site is witnesstorture.org

    6. Next meeting: Tuesday, February 6, at 1036 N. Niles Ave.