Minutes for MPJC Meeting of January 13, 2009


Present: Peter, Pam, Ron, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Bob

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for November 19: The minutes were approved.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Campaign to Establish a Department of Peace: Lois had introduced this topic at the last meeting by encouraging us to send postcards to Barach Obama asking him to make violence reduction and prevention a national priority. Ellyn had brought postcards and most of the folks at the meeting wrote out one. Ellyn will put on postage and send them on January 20. We decided to have them available at our Martin Luther King day table and also at the West Side Democratic Club on Inauguration Day. Peter will prepare a flyer explaining the effort and giving folks some guidelines for writing their messages. For more information visit www.thepeacealliance.org

        b. IPJN report: No one present had any information on IJPN.

        c. Youth Violence as a public health crisis: Lois had introduced this topic, but we forgot to ask her for an update and she was not able to make the meeting because of the cold and snow. She was trying to get a resolution passed by the City Council and a proclamation by the mayor on this topic.

        d. Meeting with Donnelly's Representative: Ellyn and Pam had made an appointment with Rep Donnelly's office for a meeting in late November to ask him about withdrawal from Iraq and pressing Obama not to send more troops to Afghanistan. The meeting went well and Hodge promised to pass our views on to Donnelly. The group gave the same message to Bayh's representative. We dropped in on both Donnelly and Bayh's offices on a Monday in late December when it was too cold to vigil.

Ellyn also mentioned that Donnelly sponsored an event in Kovaleski last summer to interest young people in the military academies, and it was time for him to sponsor one to showcase the peace corps, americorps, and other civilian service projects. Ellyn will get a meeting with his staff to discuss this project.

        e. MLK table: Lois will organize the table. Peter and Ellyn will help set it up at 7am on Monday, and Pam and Ron will help take it down before 5pm. We will also help Lois staff the table during the day, especially from 1:30-3:00 when the CPNV and the Catholic Peace Fellowship will hold a workshop on conscientious objection. Lois wants to feature literature on this topic at the table as well as information on counter recruitment, cost of war, where taxes go, bean poll, cluster bomb info, post cards to Obama and our Reps, etc.

     3. Treasurer's Report: Glenda Rae reported that we had $ 202.95 in the bank and $1.76 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We decided to get back to this topic after we had covered the other topics in New Business. Time ran out before we could revisit it.

    2. Camp Hope progress: Peter brought everyone up to speed about this project of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Folks are holding a daily vigil at Hyde Park, three blocks from President Obama's Chicago house to encourage him to take action on 8 different issues: War in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Torture, Immigration reform, universal health care, home foreclosures, use of diplomacy in foreign policy, global warming, and full employment. They have a presence in the park all day, and have evening programs at neighboring churches. We were going to participate on Saturday, January 10, but it was too cold and snowy for us to go. See www.camphope2009.org for further information.

    3. Response to the Gaza violence: This tragedy evoked a heated discussion. Several folks believed that the Israeli response was way out of proportion to the Hamas rocket attacks. Others showed some sympathy for the Israeli citizens whose homes were being destroyed by Hamas rockets. All agreed that the violence on both sides was killing and maiming innocent civilians and called for a ceasefire. Ellyn had made a sign for the vigils: "Cease Fire in Gaza" and this principle was endorsed. We recalled the statement of MLK, "Violence Begets Violence." Glenda Rae mentioned that over 80 folks had participated in a downtown vigil that afternoon sponsored by folks of Palestinian descent. We also agreed that it was time for the U.S. to stop funding Israel with weapons and money they use to buy weapons.

    4. Policy on war in Afghanistan: We agreed that the war should stop - no surge - bring the troops home. We decided not to make this a topic of the month since we have had poor response to these TOMs recently.

    5. Topic of the Month: We are still working on the environmental issue. Bob mentioned the importance of keeping military recruiters out of the schools. We brought him up to date with our past efforts in this regard, especially with JROTC.

    6. Other Topics and Issues: Move-on is sponsoring a meeting with Donnelly on January 14 at 1pm to raise concerns about the environment.

    7. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:25pm.

    8. Next meeting: The next meeting will be at Pam and Ron's on Tuesday, February 3, at 7pm.