Minutes for MPJC Meeting of February 13, 2017

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Lois, Wanda, Galen, Kathy

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for January 9: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: Racial Justice - Ellyn did contact Chip Roush and he said that he had not preached on racial justice but thought he could pull something together in the next few weeks.

        b. Women's March and other protest events: The women's march was the largest gathering in Jon Hunt plaza in anyone's memory. Two to four thousand people with all sorts of issues gathered, heard speakers at an open mike (although the sound system left much to be desired) and marched through downtown South Bend. The head of the march finished before the tail had left the plaza. The march made news on CNN, perhaps because Mayor Pete mentioned it in his bid for the chair of the Democratic National Committee. There have been a couple of protests held at short notice in the weeks following the inauguration, one at Lang Lab. There were 125 counter protesters as compared to 30 protesters at Planned Parenthood over the weekend. Many small groups have visited Walorski's office since the election to voice their concerns about health care and several other issues, and a progressive presence is planned at Goshen for her town hall meeting.

There are so many events that it is extremely hard to keep track of them especially for those newly come to the struggle. Kathy found a reference to a group of wealthy progressives who are accepting grant proposals from progressive groups organizing resource hubs to inform people about events that fit their interests on a central web site or facebook page. The grant would fund someone who could set up and maintain such a hub. She knows a person, Nate, who has experience writing grants and setting up internet linkages. She will pull together folks from several progressive groups to meet and brainstorm grant ideas for Nate to work with. Peter and Lois expressed interest. Rey was concerned that such a hub would be too restrictive and shut out some potential allies. MPJC did not endorse this idea but individuals are free to pursue it.

        c. Book of the Month report: We skipped over this topic because time was tight.

        d. Sanctuary City - South Bend?: Mayor Pete has instructed the police department not to seek out undocumented residents of the city unless they are committing a crime. We have little control over ICE agents who come into the community to conduct raids, but the police are not to assist them. It seems that the best approach is to encourage churches and schools to set themselves up as sanctuaries. In the past ICE agents have not invaded churches to arrest people taking shelter there. Notre Dame and Holy Cross College have declared themselves sanctuaries for their students and faculty. La Casa is developing an ID card for undocumented folks and is encouraging U.S. citizens to get one and show it when asked. Rey suggested wearing armbands and Kathy mentioned buttons. Many of us wear safety pins on our coats to indicate that we are safe havens for the undocumented. "No human being is illegal."

        e. Little Taste of Peace: There were 190 people attending, too many for the planned circles. We added another circle and expanded the existing circles to absorb the overflow, but this was done unevenly and some complained that there were too many in their circle to hear and discuss effectively. Next year the Jewish Federation has offered their space which can hold only 150 chairs. Glenda Rae and Rey thought they should accept only the first 150 to sign up and if folks come who have not signed up, wait until 15 minutes before starting time to admit them. Peter encouraged Glenda Rae to figure out the percentage of those who signed up and did not attend with respect to the total signed up over the past few years and overbook the number allowed to sign up by that percentage. It would be best to use Eventbrite for the booking so each person signed up will have a ticket.

        f. MLK Day tables: Both tables were well visited. Lois and Kathy had great success getting children (and a few adults) to color paper plates to represent something that you love and care about. These plates were mounted on clothesline. We are looking for a venue in which to display them. We were originally going to carry them in the Women's March but it was so crowded that they could not be unfurled. Ellyn suggested asking businesses and empty storefronts to put them in their windows. Or perhaps the Library would feature them. The MPJC table featured the bean poll which was popular. Some literature was given out.

3. Treasurer's Report: $18.72 with a $5.11 in petty cash. Kathy gave us a check for our Jobs with Justice dues.

New Business

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

    2. Tax Day plans: We did not have time to discuss this topic. Tax day is April 18th this year since the 15th is a Saturday and Monday the 17th is the celebration of Patriot's Day.

    3. Topic of the Month: We will continue to work on racial justice.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: There will be a forum sponsored by CAFE at 6pm on February 22 in the downtown library.

The Lift Every Voice choir will perform at IUSB Northside Hall on February 25th at 7pm.

Sam Centellas will speak on immigration issues at the League lunch at the Rockne Room at the Chocolate Cafe at noon on March 10.

Lois has heard from the Memorial Day Parade committee about entering a float. There is a problem with this since Rey no longer has a truck. We will discuss it more at the next meeting.

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    5. Next meeting: Monday, March 13th, at 2:30pm at Lois' assisted living center. We will send the directions in the meeting announcement.