Minutes for MPJC meeting for March 28

Present: Paul, Lois, Lee, Peter, Ellyn, Caroline, Dustin, Mary Jo, Carol, Pam, Ron

Old Business

1. Approval of Minutes: The minutes for the March15th meeting were approved.

2. Progress Reports

  1. March 18th rally in Indy: Lee, Lisa, and Peter represented MPJC at the rally which lasted over 3.5 hours and attracted 500 people at its height which was twice as many as last year. There were a number of diverse speakers including activists, clergy, former congresspeople, and even a republican reporter who had left the party in disgust over current policies. A picture of the three of us (our backs) and the MPJC banner is posted in the Previous Events section of the website. There were only 3 counterprotesters and everyone felt safe. The police were not intrusive. Twelve people showed up for the vigil in Mishawaka at Grape and Cleveland. This was a much larger turnout than usual.

  2. March 18th events in Chicago: Pam, Ron, Dustin, Mary Jo, and Paul went to the noon rally at Federal Plaza and took part in the march to Union Park for the 3pm rally. While crossing the Dan Ryan/Kennedy expressway, the marchers held up their signs to show the bumper-to-bumper stalled traffic. At Union Park the women from Code Pink were preparing and selling food. Pam and Ron were interviewed for TV. Dustin signed up with every group who had a table. One woman gave Pam and Mary Jo a big bouquet of carnations. The police were very nice, even though they had roit gear on. Pam got her picture taken in front of a paddy wagon to send back to England. The 7pm march was very colorful and uplifting. The lead float was a gigantic toilet bowl with Bush's head in it. There were 7,000 folks in the parade, and 1,000-2,000 at the afternoon events. One encouraging sign was the large number of young people during the afternoon events.

  3. CLAP project report: The letter to Fr. Jenkins is ready to be sent. Ellyn will prepare letterhead identifying both MPJC and CTA and we will transcribe the letter, get the four signatories to sign, and send it out. Paul met with the student leaders of CLAP and was pleased with the results. They had not understood the need for unionizing before the meeting but were on board by the end. Paul encouraged them to demand no retaliation against workers who sign the union card, and to demand that ND recognize the union for the workers. MPJC will continue to support these efforts from the sidelines.

  4. April 17th Tax Day protest: After discussion of the worth of this annual protest especially with fewer folks mailing their forms, we decided it was good to be there each year. Not being there might make folks think we had given up. Lois will coordinate the protest this year and we encouraged her to consider stopping at 10pm instead of midnight since the 10-12 shift saw few cars last year. Peter will obtain the leaflets and fold them. He passed the lists to Lois for calling folks to fill in slots not requested by folks at the meeting..

  5. Topic of the Month -- Peter had reworded the position on withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Ed C. and Rey had commented on the draft on the listserv. After several changes and additions, all agreed to let Peter do some final tweaks and send it out again for comment. Once the comment period is over, he will post the position on the website in place of the previous position on withdrawal.

3. Treasurer's Report: The treasurer did not have the checkbook, but estimated we have a little over $200 in the bank.

New Business

  1. Town Hall Meeting to showcase alternatives to Bush ideas: Ellyn will try to find a place where the Demogratic candidates for 2nd congressional district race can listen and respond to folks making their positions known about the war and other peace and justice issues. If she can arrange a place and get the candidates to agree to attend, the rest of us will support the event as best we can. There was not a lot of energy by the time this was discussed.

  2. Meeting with Elkhart/Goshen peace activists: This will happen well into the future. We did not discuss it further.

  3. New Direction for anti-war work: Paul suggested that we feed into the April 29th mobilization in New York City by organizing a local solidarity event. Peter suggested an expanded vigil at Grape and Cleveland that day. Also, there seems to be an emerging movement to impeach Bush and Cheney. We could try to organize this sentiment locally. If nothing else we might pressure Congress into voting for censure. Lois reminded us that the West side Memorial Day parade is definitely on. We should have a presence. Finally, we have been invited to staff a literature table at the artist festival this summer in the Charles Martin complex.

  4. New Topic of the Month: We decided to develop a position on immigration. Caroline, Paul, and Lee will work up a draft and put it on the listserv for comment. Because there have been and will be a number of immagration demonstrations, we agreed that MPJC can endorse those events which occur in Michiana or Goshen. We endorsed the Goshen Immigration Rights Rally in April. More information to follow on the listserv and web site. The general thrust of our immigration position is that we are against the felonization of both illegal immagrants and those who help them. We call for amnesty for the 12 million undocumented workesrs already in the U.S. Also, we discussed the role of the U.S. military in exacerbating the immigration situation and causing many to flee the destruction of their country at the hands of U.S. military or surrogates. There will also be a big immigration protest on Cinco de Mayo in the local area sponsored by Casa de Armistad. More info to follow.

  5. Other topics and issues: Lois asked us again to consider walking in the West Side Memorial Day Parade. We will decide about this using the list serv.

    Lois announced an internet-based consensus-building anti-war forum on April 20-21. Folks can log in and be assigned a small group of internet users to formulate a policy statement. This will be refined over the internet until a consensus statement is reached. Interested folks should visit the Faith Voices for Common Good website to sign up. The hours will be 7am - midnight on both days. The title is "Beyond Iraq: Stop Cruel War for Crude Oil."

    Glenda Rae distributed a Human Rights Commission newsletter. There will be a luncheon on April 13th to which all may sign up. There is also a 5K walk to provide decent housing on April 23rd and Glenda Rae was soliciting pledges. Her money will go towards the advocacy center. For more information and application forms visit www.homelesswalks.org

    Peter will attend the IPJN summit conference April 7-9. He has room for riders if anyone else is attending this event in Indianapolis.

  6. Next meeting: We did not set a definite time for the next meeting. Tuesday, April 25 is the most likely date. It will be held at 1036 N. Niles Ave.