Minutes for MPJC Meeting of February 2, 2010


Present: Peter, Pam, Ron, Glenda Rae, Rey, Lois

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for December 16: The minutes were approved as written.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Peaceable Assembly Campaign: Aimee and Jen took the petitions we signed before and during the MLK celebration to DC and gave them to Nathan in Donnelly's office with our message to end the wars and funding for war. The Washington portion of the campaign was a little disorganized as the organizers had just come off an extended fast. Before she left, Aimee had put up a signup sheet on Google Docs for a pair of folks each day to sign up to visit the offices of Donnelly and Bayh. Most of the slots were filled and we maintained a daily presence at those offices. On Monday, February 1, Ellyn got an appointment with Hodge Patel in Donnelly's office and she, Aimee, Danille, Rey, and Peter talked with him for almost an hour. We asked him what were Congressman Donnelly's goals for our presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan especially after we begin to pull out. We urged him to push for rebuilding the damage in those countries as well as Iraq. We also asked him to make as big a deal on his website for encouraging young people into civilian programs such as Americorps or Teach for America as he makes of those entering the service academies and the military services. We asked him to continue pushing comprehensive health care. Hodge said he would pass on our concerns to the congressman.

        b. Topic of the Month: War Tax Resistance: Peter had found that MPJC already had a policy re war tax resistance. He updated it and sent it out on the listserv for comment. He kept the comments in mind when revising the document. Everyone at the meeting approved the revised policy. Peter will send it out on the listserv for final comments and then update the website.

        c. Health Care Initiative: There have been several rallies that MPJC has participated in since the last meeting, including one very cold day in late January outside Senator Bayh's office. There will be a community outreach forum focusing on health care at 5:30 Monday, February 22, at the Patient Education Center in the Gerontology building across from Madison Center. This is the first program in the FOCUS series (Forums on Critical Issues Affecting Us).

        d. MLK Day 2010: Lois arranged for two tables at this event. Ellyn and Ron set up the tables and Lois, Pam, Ron, Ellyn, Peter, Kevin, and Rebecca took turns staffing the tables. There seemed to be fewer people perusing the tables this year, but they were attracted by the bean poll on tax spending and the computer showing the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan constantly escalating. Kevin set up this exhibit. Lois had a number of good conversations. The march from County-city building was well attended and we carried the MPJC banner. The young people's program is purposely scheduled from 3:00-5:00 so they will attend at least one other workshop before then. The final reports on the success of the workshops was not available yet.

        f. Library photo contest: Lois submitted two photos for the contest which was held in January on the second floor of the library. She submitted a photo of our signs drying out on Peter and Ellyn's front porch, titled "Signs of the Times," and also one of us standing on the corner at one of our Monday vigils, titled "And the Beat Goes On." Thanks to Lois for making this possible and to our new vigillers from New Carlisle for supplying the second picture. Both pictures appeared in the library gallery although they were not as prominently situated as previously.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $167.95 with $1.76 in petty cash. We authorized Glenda Rae to renew our membership in Jobs with Justice.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? Rey encouraged us to attend films at the Browning theatre at Notre Dame Center for the Performing Arts. There have recently been good films on food justice which he thought might make a good topic of the month in the spring. This week on Wednesday, February 3, 4-5pm at IUSB quiet lounge will be a short film and discussion on Corporations and Political Rights. On Thursday, February 4, at IUSB Wycamp 1001, 5:30, a film entitled Dreams of Equality; Friday, 7pm, The Great Silence: Rape in the Congo, Browning theatre. Call 631-FILM for free but reserved tickets. On Thursday, Febrary 19th, at Browning, they will show "Sin Nombre" at 6:30 and 9:30. Cost $4.00 for senior citizens.

    2. Losing Hope Endorsement: Rey had put out on the listserv this sign on letter endorsed by Code Pink to President Obama saying we are losing hope in his promises. He signed up MPJC as endorsing these sentiments. We all read the letter and approved of his action. The text can be found at http://www.losing-hope.org/.

    3. Midwest Peace and Justice Summit - March 27. Kathy will be taking a van load of folks down to Indy for this summit. It is the same day as the Community Forum for Economic Development at which MPJC will have a table. This forum will be held in IUSB Wycamp hall. Lois is organizing the table.

    4. Coalition for Responsible Tax Abatement: Next meeting 5pm, Wednesday, February 3, at Carpenter's Hall in South Bend. Glenda Rae will ask to add MPJC as a sponsor of this worthy attempt to force new businesses to provide health care and living wages for their workers in order to qualify for significant property tax abatements. The County Council has approved this plan and they are asking the City Council to do so as well.

    5. Topic of the Month: We decided to focus on nonviolent resistance to corporate influence. Lois will prepare a draft statement and send it out on the listserv. There is a move to restrict corporate funding of elections. See www.amend.org. Dennis Kusinich has reintroduced the bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace which would focus on resolving violence at home and also working with the military to help them come to peaceable solutions to conflicts abroad. There would be an U.S. Academy of Peace to complement the military academies. See www.peacealliance.org. Peter handed out information about 3D Security (development, diplomacy, and defense). There was a weekend conference at the Kroc Institute last weekend to explore this initiative. It has had some success in Afghanistan bring together the U.S. military and the NGO's who have been in the country since the Taliban fled. See www.3dsecurity.org

    6. Other Topics and Issues: This Friday at Our Lady of the Road on South Main St., the Catholic Worker will host the son of Phillip Berrigan. Mass at 6, potluck dinner at 7, talk at 7:45.

    7. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 30, at 7 pm. Place to be determined.