Minutes for MPJC Meeting of January 25, 2016

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Lois (by phone), Wanda, Galen

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for November 16: The minutes were approved as corrected. Galen mentioned that he was helped by a Prebytarian, not Methodist, chaplain and he did not even touch a gun, let alone fire one.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: Issues in Admitting Refugees into the U.S. - Rey needs reminding that he agreed to get us started on this topic. Peter will remind him for next meeting. Lois mentioned that we should have a wide open door for refugees, especially in Indiana, since financier Morton Marcus in a recent column claimed that 460,000 people have left Indiana.

        b. December 10 Human Rights Day Program: We noted that there was the usual number in attendance. It was a good program although the kids in the video needed a practice session before they were filmed. It was too bad they had to dump out a whole pot of coffee. Perhaps the offer by David of a couple of carafes would have been sufficient.

        c. Book of the Month report: No one had anything to report.

       d. Veterans for Peace (VFP) chapter: Lois noted that the mission of this group is to bring back the celebration of Armistice Day in place of Veteran's Day and to end all war, which dovetails with our mission. She noted that veterans don't get good healthcare even with the new veterans' clinic in the area. She found out that one could start a chapter without many veterans since they accept allies who commit to their mission and pay their dues. Right now, Peter is the only member of VFP in northern Indiana. VFP has been around since the early 80's and has over 8,000 members with 150 chapters in Vietnam, England and Ireland as well as the U.S. At her MLK table this year, Lois got 50 people to sign that they agreed with VFP. No one refused to sign. We suggested that she try to see if folks would be willing to join a chapter at next year's table. We also suggested that she get in touch with other organizations such as CPNV, JWJ, URC, etc. for them to put info about VFP in their newsletters. Young people use the web and social media. It doesn't make a lot of sense for MPJC to take on organizing another group since we are already stretched pretty thin.

       e. Little Taste of Peace: Glenda Rae counted 166 people at the tables at the Beacon, the highest attendance ever. The space was very accommodating even though it was a bit cool. Some people got by the sign-in tables without registering, but most of the evaluations were very positive. We talked a little about the questions which seemed well constructed. The action question was last and some groups did not get to it. The facilitators were supposed to move the discussion along so all questions could be considered.

       f. MLK Day events and table: We had a table which Ellyn set up, and she, Pam, Wanda, Galen, and Peter staffed. There was a lot of interest in the bean poll, but it was hard to convince the bean pollers to take literature other than the pie charts telling where the tax money really goes. Peter had updated the Cost of War brochures and a few of them were taken. We had some bumper stickers which people took as well as some gun safety sheets. The focus of the table was on war tax resistance. We had agreed at the last meeting to ask other organizations there if they are doing anything for tax day and if we can join up with them in this effort. We were not able to get away from our table to do this. Perhaps we can make contact in the near future.

       g. MLK and the Vietnam War Teachin: Wanda and Galen had visited the Riverside Church where MLK had delivered his Vietnam War speech. They saw the pulpit where he spoke from. This teachin was well attended (over 40 people old and young, black and white, a wonderful mix). Peter and Ellyn's group had 3 white and 3 black folks, with 2 in their 20s and the rest in their 60's and 70's. One young woman was excited to learn about the Vietnam times. She did not learn about it in school. One older black woman said that her people were against the war because it was killing young black men in huge numbers, but why were white folks opposed. She was surprised to learn that others believed that war is wrong and that was why they were against it. We spent some time discussing the statement from the speech that "Silence is Betrayal." We don't learn from History and we don't teach our children about the Vietnam War protests, about the Women's Movement, etc. Everyone thought that the teachin was a great success.

3. Treasurer's Report: $43.72 with a $5.11 in petty cash. We spent $40 for the MLK day table.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We incorporated this topic into other discussion

    2. Topic of the Month: We decided to continue the topic: Issues in Admitting Refugees into the U.S. Rey will get us started.

    3. Tax Day Plans: Tax Day is April 18th this year, a Monday. We brainstormed a little about contacting CPNV and Jobs with Justice to see if they had any plans, developing some handouts on nuclear weapons (see below). We decided to work more on this at our next meeting.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: The next meeting of Frack-Free Michiana will be held at 6:30pm on January 28th at the River Park branch of the public library.

Mike Keen's wife, Gabriel Robinson, will speak about her book on the Studebaker worker families and the difficulties they had building houses on the northwest side of South Bend due to racism. She will speak at the lunch with the League at the Chocolate Factory on February 12 at noon. Come at 11:30 to order lunch if you want to.

Peter talked about an email post he sent out to the list about President Obama's plans to spend a trillion dollars to build 1000 new nuclear weapons and 100 new bombers and a number of nuclear submarines to carry them. How can we oppose this?

To send a message to the list, send it to mpjc@googlegroups.com. Peter will update the website about joining googlegroups.

CPNV is still collecting stories of nonviolence. Send your story to SB150peace@gmail.com

    5. Next meeting: Monday, February 15th, at 2:30pm at Peter and Ellyn's.