Minutes for MPJC Meeting of March 31, 2009


Present: Peter, Pam, Ron, Glenda Rae, Bob, Carol, Lois, Kathy

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for March 18: The minutes were approved with several corrections. Under new business item 1, Ceasefire was operating out of Robinson Center, not Charles Martin Center, although no one knew if it was still in existence. In item 3 there were some typos - "Peter is working on a list," " careful not to push our agenda." Under item 4, the Homeward Bound 5K walk will leave and return from the Football Hall of Fame, not Howard Park. The gun buyback is on June 13 at three sites throughout the county.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. April 15 protest: This will take place on Wednesday, April 15, from 6pm to midnight outside the post office. Peter prepared the leaflets, folding them and inserting a Wax Tax boycott card in each, and brought 500 of them along with 4 or 5 signs and the banner to the meeting to give to Lois. He could not find the list of phone numbers of folks to call to sign up for the vigil in one or two hour shifts. Pam and Lois will try to reconstruct the list and do the calling. We will ask Rey to come at 6pm and he and Lois will be in charge until 8. Pam and Ron will be in charge from 8 to 10 and Ellyn and Glenda Rae from 10 to 12. Peter talked to the Catholic Worker folks and they said they would advertise it at Tom Cornell's talk on April 2. Lois will get some other signs and stands from Glenda Rae after the April 13 vigil. Kathy has a box of stands which she can get to Rey or Lois as well.

        b. IPJN report: Lee has not posted anything to the list about the midwest peace summit in Indianapolis on the 1st or 2nd weekend in April.

        c. Anniversary of the Iraq War demonstrations: MPJC dedicated its vigil at Grape and Cleveland from 1-2pm on Saturday the 21st to marking the sixth anniversary of the war. There were a handful of folks show up for this event. UFPJ will hold a national demonstration in New York City on Saturday, April 4 in commemoration of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all the issues he gave his life for. There will also be a march on Wall Street on Friday afternoon, April 3. MPJC will dedicate its April 4 vigil to remembering Dr. King and all he stood for, especially his opposition to war. Peter will make a sign to this effect. We need someone to bring the signs to the vigil on April 23. If someone can help, please call Glenda Rae 287-7715.

        d. Campaign against Violence: Lois will put the resolution approved by the mayor's conference on the table at the April 18th economic forum. She is trying to get Gladys to call together a coalition to work on implementing Dr Prothrow-Stith's violence reduction methods in South Bend. She will ask folks who visit the April 18th table to support this effort if it gets off the ground.

        e. Topic of the Month: Environmental Issues: Peter has not posted the list of ways to preserve the environment to the website. He is working on it.

        f. Topic of the Month: Support for Conscientious Objectors: Rey will contact the Catholic Peace Fellowship which maintains a GI hotline and helps soldiers obtain CO status to see what we can do to support CO's in the military. Their office is in the house on the southwest corner of St. Joe and Monroe. As you go in the front door it is the door directly across the hall. The resister, Kimberly Rivera, who we mentioned at the last meeting. lost her appeal to stay in Canada and will be returned to face Court Martial at Fort Carson. It is probable that she did not apply for CO status. Kathy mentioned a friend of Wes who moved recently to South Bend and got a job at Walmart. He, his wife, three small children and another couple who came up with them are living in a trailer south of town. She asked that we think of ways to help them out. Lois suggested getting the kids into head start and gave Kathy contact information. Bob offered to transport the kids if necessary. Carol suggested sponsoring a birthday party for the kids whenever their birthdays occur. We will all pray for them.

     3. Treasurer's Report: Glenda Rae reported that we had $ 202.95 in the bank and $1.76 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We decided to make official our endorsement of the April 18th Economic Development Forum at IUSB Wycamp Hall. The sponsors had put us on the list as a result of our statement supporting proactive efforts to reduce violence in the community. Lois will have a table at this event and will display the banner and also the plaque from last year's gun buyback. As mentioned above she will display the mayor's proclamation as well. (See www.usmayors.org.) Peter will print and provide copies of the Cost of War brochures.

Ellyn is in contact with Julie from Sen. Bayh's office to get him to sponsor an event where young people can meet with non-military service organizations such as Americorps, Teach for America, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and similar organizations from other faith and community-oriented perspectives. Most of these provide subsistence and some provide a salary. This is especially important in this time of job shortage and when the number of Americorps jobs are tripling. She has tried for over a year to get Donnelly interested in sponsoring this event but has not receioved any encouragement. Donnelly did sponsor an event for young people to find out about and join the military last summer. We noted that the military is freezing applications for a year.

We decided to walk as a group with our banner in the May 9th Homeward Bound 5K walk leaving the Hall of Fame at 9am. Walkers are asked to collect pledges. Please send your pledges and money to Glenda Rae who will serve as our team captain. Pledge forms are available at http://homewardboundindiana.org/st-joseph-county. Glenda Rae will make them available at the table at the April 18th forum.

President Obama will give the Commencement address at Notre Dame on May 17 afternoon. Kathy will try to coordinate a large coalition to gather in support of the president to counter those who don't want him at ND. We don't yet know where we will be allowed to gather, but we want a large presence. Most of the students will have gone home by then, but perhaps we can get some local IUSB students out.

We decided to provide $75 to buy one gun at the June 13th Gun Buyback. Folks get $75 for the first gun, $50 for the second, and $25 for each additional gun turned in. This year they decided not to give rain checks when they run out of money. Kathy suggested that the Fraternal Order of Police should pick up the tab for any guns turned in above and beyond the available vouchers. It has been shown that these events reduce the danger to police.

August 6-9 mark the aniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not too early to start planning our actions for this anniversary.

    2. Topic of the Month: Since time was running out we decided to stick with the two topics we are already working on.

    3. Other Topics and Issues: Friday, April 2, the Catholic Worker is sponsoring Tom Cornell, a colleague of Dorothy Day, at Our Lady of the Road center on Main Street. Activities start with Mass at 6, supper, and his talk starts at 7:45. Contact the Catholic Worker for more information.

Lois mentioned a conference call this Friday at 6pm sponsored by the Democratic Progressive Alliance, titled "Healthcare not Warfare." The phone number to call is 712-775-7000 and the code is 436502#.

Bob will contact Donnelly's office to see if he has infomation on stimulus money to restart the After School Programs in South Bend. These were very popular and go along with our violence reduction resolution.

Kathy has 2 copies of Camilo Mejia's book if anyone wants to read it. She will donate one to Lois's Peace Center.

The County Council will be voting on April 14 to override the County Commissioners' veto of the tax abatement legislation. It was noted that $8.80 an hour is a reasonable living wage. Some surprisingly progressive businesses are objecting to the legislation since their wages don't reach that level for all employees.

    4. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:40pm.

    7. Next meeting: The next meeting will be at Peter and Ellyn's on Wednesday, May 6, at 7pm.