Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Reynaldo, Wanda, Lorna, Lois (Zoom meeting).
1. Approval of Minutes for March 16: The minutes were approved as corrected.
2. Progress Reports:
a. Topic of the Month: We did not decide on a topic at the last meeting.
b. Book of the Month report: Lois is up to page 688 while reading "Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels" by Jon Meacham. She read a few quotes from the book dealing with violence perpetrated by young males and the problems in societies which allow polygamy. Young girls are taken advantage of by older men in these societies. We noted that this problem is widespread in muslim countries and the sex slave trade is rising in every country including the U.S.
Ellyn mentioned some Time magazine articles she had been reading and also the interesting Covid-19 series in the SB Tribune. She had recently read "The Gene" by Siddhartha Mukherjee, which talks about the genetics of Race among other topics. She recommended a PBS 2hour 2 day special on this book. It is available via our local PBS WNIT station.
c. Immigration Coalition Report: There has been no meeting of the Coalition since our last meeting.
d. Tax Day and Earth Day Events: These have been canceled or postponed due to Covid-19.
e. Memorial Day Parade: This has been canceled.
f. Updating our social media profile: Reynaldo has not has a chance to contact Ken Riemann. He wrote himself a note to take care of this.
3. Treasurer's Report: $118.50 with $20 in petty cash.
1. What do we (can we) do next? We incorporated this topic into other discussion
2. Topic of the Month: Reynaldo and Glenda Rae were able to watch the "Backpack full of cash" video and participate in the Sunday (4/19) discussion via Zoom, sponsored by the Civil Rights Heritage Center. Glenda Rae mentioned that private education has been used historically to discriminate against Black people, like in South Bend back in the 50s and 60s when private schools did not admit Black children. Even today, private schools can dismiss children they deem not learning well enough and these are often from the poor and minority groups. This process enhances the school to prison pipeline.
Reynaldo mentioned that money which had been used to support public schools is being diverted to private schools, resulting in the closure of public schools and larger classes which are not good for children. Another issue is the 1st amendment separation of church and state. There are three classes of schools, public, charter, and church-sponsored. There have been some successful lawsuits preventing public money to be spent on the latter, although Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that such aid is constitutional. It seemed to Reynaldo that the best approach to counter this problem is through the courts. He asked during the Sunday discussion if the ND law school resources could be used for this research but received no answer.
Ellyn mentioned the importance of the ballot referenda to raise taxes to increase public school teacher pay and to refurbish public school buildings. It would be good if the Tribune could publish the exact dollar amount that taxes would be raised for these referenda instead of the portion of a cent on a dollar of assessed value. People forget that the property taxes they paid while their children were in school in no way paid for their education. It takes a whole lifetime of paying these taxes to do so. Lois mentioned that not many people get the Tribune these days, so other ways to inform the public should also be used. There is a Michigan study that showed that private schools have not produced as good results overall as compared to public schools. It would be interesting to see whether Islamic schools would be given the same support from tax dollars as do Catholic schools.
We decided to take up this question of funding for schools as our topic of the month. Reynaldo will prepare a position paper that we can work with.
3. Other Topics and Issues: Ellyn mentioned the importance to inform people about requesting an absentee ballot. Glenda Rae sent an email from SouthBendVoteYes.com after the meeting that said the number of polling places will be reduced from over 150 to 10 and links to the website for requesting an absentee ballot. We will forward this email to the listserve. Ellyn also mentioned the importance of filling out the census forms either online or through the mail. She noted the danger that the postal service will run out of money and the reluctance of the Trump administration to approve emergency funding. Glenda Rae and Ellyn noted that the positions of the candidates can be found at Vote411.org and also at VoteSmart.org. There is a continuing series on Zoom sponsored by Black Lives Matter every Thursday for the next 4 weeks. This Thursday's topic is on the School referenda. You have to register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSff1hnIDUIPCO1Oy5KQsoeSfug_-ZymKeQh3hSCY5g8qJKLpg/viewform..
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4. Next meeting: Monday, May 18, at 2:30pm. We will hold the meeting via Zoom. Everyone thought Zoom worked well for this meeting. Ellyn will send the Zoom link before the meeting. Since the limit for a free license is 40 minutes of meeting time, we will pay for another month extended license, making sure we cancel it before the next month is up.