Minutes for 04/22/03
Present: Glenda Rae, Rey, Pam, Ron,
Lois, Ellyn, Lee, Paul, Caroline, and Peter
Old Business - Action Items from last meeting
- At the March 26th meeting, we had decided to remain on our corner in spite
of counterdemonstrators across the street at our Monday vigils. Tensions between
the two groups have increased over the weeks. We have been yelled at, called
names, had to endure the other group marching in circles around us while doing
the above. We discussed vigorously how to proceed. Most felt that we could
not let those with opposing viewpoints run us off. We tried to decide whether,
with the war winding down, if we would continue with the vigil every week
if the pro-war folks were not there. We decided that there were lots of good
reasons to continue the vigil: make sure the U.S. withdraws its troops, pays
for rebuilding Iraq, doesn't start a war with Syria or Iran, or North Korea…also,
if we reduced the frequency of the vigils, people would not remember which
week we were to be there. We decided to continue the vigils 5-6pm every Monday
at the federal Building. We also decided to compile song sheets so that we
could all sing to improve morale and cohesiveness. Perhaps we could get folks
to play guitar and banjo.
However, we agreed that it would be very bad if one of our vigilers responded
violently to the provocations of the pro-war folks. The press could use
it to discredit our cause. We decided to make sure that every Monday demonstrator
has a copy of our non-violence discipline (See MPJC web site http://community.michiana.org/justice/discipline.html).
We will also have at least 2 peacekeepers at every vigil wearing orange
vests who will be alert to defuse any situation where physical or verbal
violence might erupt. We also agreed to move back a few feet onto the sidewalk
when the other group does its circling routine so they will not be walking
in the street. We are concerned for their safety. We also discussed trying
to dialog with them, but believe we need another venue for this to be feasible.
Suggested slogans for signs:
Replace U.S. Troops with UN Peacekeepers
Return Blix and UN Instection Crews to Iraq
Iraqi Oil for the Iraqis
Put the Red Cross in control until Iraq Gov't in Place
Use the signs we made for Tax Day
- At the April 8 meeting at IUSB of Coalition partners a good group was in
attendance. Our discussion would have been stronger with representatives from
the Notre Dame/Saint Mary's peace groups and the Center for Peace and Non-Violence.
We discussed ways to coordinate our efforts for peace in the Michiana Area.
There were many suggestions, several of which have already happened. The IUSB
peace group planned two teach-ins, one on April 11, and another on May 2 at
7pm in Wykamp Hall. Lee Gloster, Lois Clark and Pamela and Ron Florey are
planning a series of house meetings where folks with differing views on the
war in Iraq can discuss the issues in a safe environment. The group decided
to meet again in September to continue the coordination.
- The Tax day vigil on April 15th at the Post Office was quite successful.
This is what I sent to the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee:
Here in South Bend it was a beautiful evening -- in the 60-70 degree range.
We held signs and leafletted from 6pm to midnight and gave out more than
1300 pie chart flyers. Whereas we usually have been allowed to leaflet in
front of the door to the Post Office as well as at the mail drop, they told
us about 8:30 that we couldn't leaflet and hold signs near the door, citing
increased security post 9-11. We had at least six folks protesting at any
one time and a total of 18-20 people over the six hours. The folks in their
cars were surprisingly polite when we offered them a leaflet but more than
usual refused to take one. Also, the electronic filing cut down the number
of last minute filers significantly. There were frequent points throughout
the evening when there was no line at the drive-up mailbox.
Next year we need to talk to the Postmaster beforehand and also enlist
the support of the Letter Carrier and Postal Workers unions.
- The around-the-clock vigil at federal building never happened
- We had discussed responses to civil liberties threats at the March 26th
meeting. Lee is in touch with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and will
inform them about the INS harassment of the Muslim families in South Bend
last month. He will also send us the Committee's web address. No one has contacted
the families directly but this contact will be made soon. We will try to prepare
a 2-sided flyer detailing the assault on our civil rights that we can use
to pass out at public events. Another flyer should also focus on the number
of jobs lost in the U.S.
- Where do we go from here - especially with:
weekly vigil - see above
rebuilding Iraq - see above
preventing war with Syria/Iran - see above
opposing Bush - we ran out of time for this item
debunking the propaganda that the Iraq war was successful - ran out of time
buying media space -- ran out of time. Did not discuss this issue
- Another Music for Peace event at St. Joe Church - We were not able to discuss
League of Women Voters and 21st Century Scholars Candidate Forum on April 21
at IUSB Supporting the Troops, Opposing the War: Military families Speak Out!
April 24, 6-8pm 113 Northside Hall, IUSB. Mothers' Day Cabaret by the SB Men's
Chior. 2pm at St. Joe School. Rey Hernandez has $12 tickets. Lois is trying
to get Julia Carson to South Bend to speak. Anyone with ideas about a venue
should contact her.
Next Meeting: We could not agree on a date and time, so this will have to be