Minutes for MPJC Meeting of May 8, 2017

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Lois, Wanda, Galen

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for April 10: The minutes were approved as written.

    2. Progress Reports: We have not been able to get this started. All agreed that it was a very broad topic. Ellyn suggested that each of us write a paragraph and we see how to weave these into a position statement. We asked Ellyn to write the first paragraph and each of us would write ours in turn. Peter would edit the result. Perhaps with Sam's presentations we will get more ideas.

Wanda suggested we look at the book, "Small Great Things," by Jodi Picoult. This novel is about an African American nurse named Ruth who worked in a hospital for 20 years. Her mother was a maid for a wealthy white family. A white supremicist couple came in to the hospital to deliver a baby and insisted that no black personnel enter the room. The baby was in distress and Ruth gave her CPR. The baby later died and Ruth was fired and charged with murder. The author did a lot of research and gives an accurate picture of what it means to be Black.

        b. Tax Day Plans - Kevin and Bernie came to augment our regular vigil folks. Kevin took a picture of our signs. Peter had made some new signs. We seemed to be well received, We will ask Kevin for the picture and possibly use it to update our website and send it to the NWTRCC coordinator.

        c. Book of the Month report: Glenda Rae mentioned the book, "Better Homes," by Gabrielle Robinson about segregation of homes in South Bend and how a group of black people hired a lawyer and went to court to allow them to purchase land to build decent homes. They all worked for Studebaker.

       d. Memorial Day Parade: Lois is still trying to get folks to walk in the parade. We figure that we need 12 able-bodied folks to carry all the banners and flags. She asked Peter to go to the required meeting and pick up the materials on May 10. Terri Russ agreed to march and also to get in touch with Rianna, and Lois will follow up with Chip Roush to see if he can help find folks. She would like to find someone with a wind instrument to provide music. She will also contact Hardy Blake to see if he knows some interested young people.

Galen gave his thoughts on Memorial Day, He was ambivalent about celebrating veterans. He grew up in a peace church and did not want to fight in WW II (1944-46), but his community draft board needed another person to send to war. Even though he told them he was a CO they took him and let his friend stay home and milk the cows. He was taken to Indianapolis where he was immediately inducted. When he got home, his father said he should have joined the Navy. The person giving him his report-to-duty papers changed the red A (for army) to a blue N (for navy) after Galen told him about his opposition to war. General Hershey knew about the 1-O classification for CO's and Senator Robert Grant (for whom our Federal Building is named) actually got a stay of induction, but it was too late. He had already been inducted. He went to Great Lakes for bootcamp. He went to see a Presbyterian chaplain who, after hearing his story, was able to get him non-combatant status. He considers veterans to be members of a gun-shooting group and doesn't want to be counted among those folks.

Lois responded that she has become an ally of Veterans for Peace because they are dedicated to working to end war and need others to work with them. Several mentioned the 60 minute show with a 97 year old Jewish prosecutor who almost single-handedly brought about the conviction of Nazi prison camp officers who tried to claim they were only following orders.

Peter, also a member of Veterans for Peace, said that he grew up in a war church with organizations like the Knights of Columbus who fully supported every war to come down the pike. He was not converted to non violence until after he had served in the military.

        e. Sam Koplinka-Loehr's visit and May 9th Talk: Sam is a community organizer from Philadelphia and also the NWTRCC social-outreach coordinator. He will talk to the SURJ folks on Monday and give a talk at St. Augustine's on Tuesday evening sponsored by MPJC. Darryl Heller will be the co-presenter. Rey and Glenda Rae will provide refreshments. We will have tables with tax resistance literature and Civil Rights Heritage Center materials. It is hard to know how many will attend.

        f. Immigration Coalition Report: Wanda signed the letter to the sheriff in the name of MPJC. It had been slightly revised to thank the county for already doing what the letter asked re not cooperating with INS without a warrant.

3. Treasurer's Report: $18.72 with a $5.11 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We incorporated this topic into other discussion

    2. Topic of the Month: We will continue to work on racial justice. See above

    3. Lois was unable to do anything on Earth Day as none of us were here to help.

North Korea is very volatile now. South Korea has built up the military and the U.S. has been pressuring them to allow more U.S. military involvement. The U.S. and South Korea have been conducting war games right off the coast of North Korea. The U.S. is set to install a Targeting High Altitude Air Defense system on Guam to protect the countries in the region from North Korean missiles. One small ray of hope is that the recently-elected South Korean president said he would push back at the U.S. and will negotiate with North Korea. We should make a "No War in Korea" sign for the vigil.

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    5. Next meeting: Monday, June 19th, at 2:30pm at Lois' assisted living center. We will send the directions in the meeting announcement.