Minutes for MPJC Meeting of February 5, 2008


Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Jane

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for January 15: The minutes were approved.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Call to Action Week: The week's events began on Saturday, January 19. There was a session on Earth Friendly Eating - Living Green 11-2 at the downtown public library which was very well attended. The annual Taste of Peace event was held Satuday evening at St Adalbert's Church. Over 100 folks participated from throughout the city, although the frigid weather kept many church parisioners away. On Sunday, January 20, the Cool Cities Campaign for responding to the global climate crisis hosted an informational meeting at Fiddler's Hearth, and WAND had an open house in Goshen.

Monday was Martin Luther King Day and many organizations including MPJC had tables providing information. Lois prepared our table and Pam & Ron helped staff it. We joined the march from County-City Building to Century Center carrying our banner at noon. At 4pm we held a vigil outside Donnelly's office on Colfax at which Peter read King's sermon on why he was opposed to the Vietnam war. It was uncanny how relevant the speech was today with "Iraq" replacing "Vietnam." The office was closed due to the holiday, but Ellyn collected signatures and comments which she delivered to both Donnelly's and Bayh's offices later in the week. We marched to the Federal Building shortly before 5 passing by Bayh's office. We finished the day with the weekly vigil from 5-6 at the Federal Building.

South Bend Equality discussed the effort to pass a human rights ordinance Monday evening at the First Unitarian Church. Jobs with Justice, with which MPJC is affiliated, marched in front of the South Bend Housing Authority and then went in to their board meeting Wednesday evening to ask them to allow the maintenance workers to vote on a union. We found out that the Housing Authority is considering outsourcing the maintenance jobs. The Blue-Green Alliance (Blue for blue collar workers and Green for environmentalists) held a press conference Thursday morning at the UAW hall.

On Saturday, January 26, we closed the week with an informational meeting about social forums at the downtown public library, noon to 4:30pm. Many groups including MPJC set up tables (Lois did ours). There were presentations from those who had attended social forums in the past, brief introductions by representatives of groups participating in the week, and some roundtable discussions, facilitated by Kathy, trying to answer the questions "What unites us?" "What divides us?" and "Where do we go from here?" There was a good turnout and a successful day. Some of us went to Fiddler's Hearth for a debriefing afterwards. There will be a followup meeting to help build a Michiana Social Forum at 10:30am, February 23, at IUSB Student Activities Building. For more information go to www.michianasocialforum.org

        b. Vigils at Donnelly's office: Our January vigil was held on MLK day (See above). We plan to hold the February vigil at 4:00pm on Monday, February 11.

        c. War Tax Resistance Topic of the Month: Peter provided a draft for the participants to look at. It was approved with the suggestion that the web sites for the recipients of the refused tax money be included. At Jane's suggestion, we decided to include the website for the Iraqi Student project which she directs. This group is in contact with about 30 refugees in Damascus or Amman who are ready to enter college. These refugees are being matched to colleges who will give them scholarships and local families to sponsor them. Holy Cross will take 2 students and Saint Mary's one. Peter will put the approved draft out on the website.

        d. IPJN report: Kathy was not able to attend the meeting so we do not know what IPJN is planning re the spring conference.

     3. Treasurer's Report: After a large donation to keep the amount in the bank above the level at which they levy service charges, we have $188. Glenda Rae reported that the cost for the MLK day table was $40, not $35.

New Business

    1. March Program for War Protest: We discussed a program of protesting the war leading up to the March 19th fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Since Notre Dame, Saint Mary's and Bethel colleges are on Spring break the first week of March we decided to hold actions during the week of March 12 to 19. We discussed hosting the Eyes Wide Open and Cost of War project in South Bend during that time. Ellyn and Kathy are in touch with this project's representatives to see when we can get the exhibits. We could not think of any indoor space large enough and public enough to display the boots, so decided to ask Holy Cross College if we could display them along US 933 as we did the crosses last September. In case of bad weather we can collect tarps to cover them until the weather clears. We discussed how we would pay for the exhibit, without resolution. We discussed buying a few pairs of boots and making small exhibits that can be displayed around town to call attention to the larger exhibit, such as at the library, coffee shops, CC building, etc. We noted that the County Commissioners have to approve anything to do with the County-City building.

WAND and CWIL are thinking of sponsoring Bobbie Wren Banks March 12-14. She will present some workshops from a list including "Our Nation's Checkbook: Who we are and what we care about," A Nuclear Weapons-Free World," and "The Great American Pie: Our Money, Our Priorities."

We decided to organize a workshop from 3-5 on Saturday, March 15, in the Dickinson Room of the downtown public library on how each of us can redirect our income tax money to worthwhile causes - "Don't Feel Hopeless Anymore." We will need to get our posters for this event out to many locations including churches and restaurants. Peter and Glenda Rae will work on the program.

Several vanloads of folks are traveling to DC on March 6, sponsored by CPNV, for the Christian Peace Witness protest and CD on March 7. We hope to sponsor a sendoff for them if possible.

We did not have time to plan for the local events for the March 19th anniversary itself. Anyone who has ideas send them by email to the list. We will finalize the plans at our March 5 meeting.

    2. Our plan for the day after the 4,000th U.S. military casualty in Iraq is to gather at the Morris Civic Auditorium at 7pm with candles and flashlights - perhaps a drum beat if it isn't too cold - perhaps a reading of the Indiana war dead. We selected Kathy to make the call for when the vigil will occur. The count is at 3950 or so, now, so this event may come before the 5th anniversary. Kathy, Ellyn, and Danille are trying to get the Tribune to publish the numbers of war dead in each issue or at least weekly. Please get your letters into the editor soon since it takes awhile for them to be published. Ellyn noted that the total numbers of soldiers killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan passed the 4,000 mark some time ago.

    3. War Tax Resistance Workshop: See above for the plans for the March 15th workshop. We decided to focus on redirection to attract more people, but the only way to redirect tax dollars is to refuse to pay them to the IRS.

    4. Stakeholder Meeting to plan March Protests: We brainstormed a list of folks that should be present at such a meeting - Mary Turgi, Bonnie Bazata, Mike Griffin, Students from area colleges, Joe Carbone, Bob Warnock, Jackie Smith, Karl Hardy, Andre Stoner, Jay Landry, Karen Jacobs, as well as MPJC members. Peter wondered if the January 23 Social Action follow-up meeting might be a good venue. Ellyn thought we should try to meet next Tuesday or Wednesday. We did not decide on a date.

    5. Topic of the Month: We decided to ask the question "Why are you not doing war tax resistance," perhaps to develop a set of FAQs on the topic. Peter, Ellyn and Glenda Rae will start the discussion.

    6. Other topics and issues: The representative from Environment America at the January 26 Social Forum day asked if MPJC wanted to endorse their project to stop mining rights being sold close to the Grand Canyon. We decided that this project, while valuable, is not closely enough aligned to our mission to endorse it. We encourage the members to sign the petition as individuals. www.environmentamerica.org

    7. Next meeting: Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 7pm at KJ's Main Cafe across Main Street from the downtown public library.