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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The around-the-clock vigil at federal building never happened

  5. 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.

New Business

  1. 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

  2. Another Music for Peace event at St. Joe Church - We were not able to discuss this issue


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 decided later