Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Wanda, Galen, Lois (by phone)
1. Approval of Minutes for January 12: The minutes were approved as presented.
2. Progress Reports
a. Topic of the Month: Gun Violence- Ellyn had put the information from her gun safety flier into a Michiana Point of View article and the Tribune accepted it. We reached Kathy by phone and she told us that she and her team had collected well over 200 signatures on her gun control petition. Several retired teachers are still collecting signatures from their colleagues and Lois has a couple of pages of signatures she has yet to turn in. Kathy hopes to turn in copies of the petition signatures to Donnelly’s office when it opens in South Bend. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns group is compiling a list of gun manufacturing companies to find out their response to their guns being used in violent acts. We wondered whether gun control was one of WAND’s issues and whether they could collect signatures at their local events, but Kathy said it was not high on their priority list. Since Karen has become active nationally, the local group has been struggling. We also wondered what the new Police Chief thought about gun control. We noticed at least one police car honking when it passed our Monday vigil as Glenda Rae was holding the sign: “Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence.”
b. MLK Day Table: Ellyn did a good job setting up the table and Lois had supplied a good variety of material for display. We had a good response to the bean poll which was on a rolling table this year. Ellyn had emptied, washed, cooked, and eaten the old beans before the event. We used up practically all the new beans that she supplied. The new beans were all dark and uniform in size and the jars were practically as full after one day as they had been from several years of bean polling previously. Again, the jar for military had the fewest beans. Lois wheeled the table around while we were on the march from the County City Building to Century Center, and a number of people participated, especially younger folks. One young boy followed her around and picked up the beans that fell on the floor when she was counting out ten. John did not arrive until almost 11:00, but we cleared out a quarter of the table for him to use for his project materials. He tended the table while the rest of us participated in the march.
c. Little Taste of Peace: This went well after a few setting up glitches. About 95 attended which was an average attendance for this event. The Mosque was a sponsor this year and several folks from that church participated. The pick-up and delivery of the tables and chairs from Kern Road Mennonite Church went smoothly and we had enough help. Only 14 people signed up for Study Circles, however and they got off to a rocky start, with several folks not showing up for the first session. One of the circles will start a week late and another will repeat the part of the first session next week if the missing people attend. The circle with Saint Mary’s and Ivy Tech students is going well and there was a story in the Tribune about their experience. Since the groups have had such a staggered start it is hard to plan the best date for the final potluck. There will probably have to be two concluding celebrations – one for the students with pizza, and a potluck for the community folks on a different day. Peter brought the letter ordering the three hour video on "Race, the Power of Illusion," which we thought would be good to show at the library for the three weeks following the study circles in April. We will have to reserve the dates and times before we do any publicity.
3. Treasurer's Report: We took in $64.56 in donations last month and John paid us $10 for his share of the MLK table. Our bank total is now $151.99 with $5.56 in petty cash. Glenda Rae will write a check for $24.95 and send it with the letter to order the Race video.
1. What do we (can we) do next? We ran out of time and had to pass over this topic.
2. Tax Day Plans: No one was very enthusiastic about what we did last year i.e. leafleting and carrying sandwich boards over the noon hour on the corners of Jefferson and Michigan. We decided to brainstorm and report back on Wednesday evening with ideas to spruce up our action. Some ideas were to have a flash mob, to dress up as a snake with banners from the Memorial Day parade and signs about taxes since this is the Chinese year of the snake, etc. We wondered if Occupy South Bend is still meeting (Lois said they were) and if they would be interested in participating.
3. Topic of the Month: We decided to continue the topic of gun violence prevention. Peter will post the draft of Kathy's petition as some text to get us started.
4. Other Topics and Issues: Glenda Rae sent an email asking local organizations to sign a letter to Congress recommending cutting funding for the Pentagon. Since most of us had not read the letter carefully, we decided to make that another topic on which to report back by Wednesday evening. If we have a consensus, Peter will go ahead and sign our name.
Glenda Rae and Rey attended this years Screenpeace film festival at Notre Dame. One of the films, "Five Broken Cameras,"was a documentary about the encroachment of the Israeli-Palestinian wall on one family's property through pictures taken with a sequence of cameras. Another, "How to Make a Revolution," was about a book citing nonviolent actions which had succeeded in overthrowing dictators.
5. Next meeting: Thursday, April 4 at 7pm. Place to be determined.