Minutes for MPJC meeting for May 24.

Present: Dustin, Mary Jo, Lois, Zae, Kathy, Lee, Ben, Peter

Old Business

  1. Approval of Minutes: The minutes for the May 3rd meeting were approved.

  2. Progress Reports

    1. IPJN report: The next project for the network is military recruiting in the high schools. The coordinator, Sheila Rosenthal, is still trying to pull a meeting together.

    2. Sheila Provencher's Speaking Engagement: Peter had arranged to get St. Augustine's Parish Hall for a potluck on Wednesday, June 22, but found out Sheila was unavailable that day. The group felt that Monday, the 20th, would be the best day that week. Peter and Lois will work on the venue and publicity for this event to follow the regular Monday vigil. Lois is trying to get Sheila to speak at the CWIL conference June 27 - July 1.

    3. MPJC Position on Torture: Zae read the proposed statement which had been promulgated to the email list by Ed C. It was approved as read. Peter will put it on the web. Generally, we thought there was little controversy about total opposition to torture.

    4. Website Changes - Mission statement, Positions on Draft and Withdrawal, Cost of War Brochure: Everyone who had looked at the website liked the changes. Peter passed out an updated Cost of War copy and folks liked it except for the spacing on the front. Peter will correct this and print enough copies on pink paper to pass out on Mondays and when we table at various events.

    5. Alternative Media Sources Collection Effort: Zae has collected a long list of alternative web news sources. She will collate them and send them to Peter for inclusion on the links page on the website.

    6. Iraqi trade unionists visit: Nothing further on this. Lee emphasized that MPJC would play only a support role in this effort and would not be asked for money.

    7. Report on the May 7 March and Rally: No one at the meeting had attended, but Lee said it drew about 150 folks and was successful.

    8. Student Volunteer for July-August: Zae will contact Paul to check on progress. He was to coordinate with the student.

  3. Treasurer’s Report: We have $377.89 in the bank and $14.85 in cash.

New Business

  1. Relationship between Donnelly and MPJC: Dustin and Kathy had attended a progressive democrats meeting in Indianapolis and on the drive they discussed how to bring Joe Donnelly (our 2006 democratic candidate for Congress) up to speed on issues of peace and justice, especially about the War in Iraq. They thought it would be good for him to meet with small groups to help him form his positions. It will not be enough for him to use soundbites in the next campaign since he needs to get folks excited about him so they will come to the polls in spite of the hassles of procuring a special ID to vote next time. Kathy felt that meeting with the whole steering committee would be too intimidating, so we decided to let our press contacts Zae and Ed fill him in initially. Hopefully, later he will feel comfortable meeting with us. To make sure that our message gets out during the primary campaign, we decided to encourage Ed C. to run against Donnelly.

  2. No Child Left Behind Issue: Peter had attended a nonviolence training day last Saturday, sponsored by the Center for Peace and Nonviolence. This group is taking up the issue of military recruitment in the secondary schools, particularly trying to get parents to opt out of the requirements that schools pass on the names addresses, phone numbers, and GPA's of all students to the military. There is a national protest day on this issue on June 1. We felt that Washington and Riley high schools need our attention since military recruitment of minorities is emphasized there. Someone mentioned a new nonviolence student group starting at Washington. MPJC was interested in picking up on this issue during the summer and next fall. Ben mentioned that one way to hamper recruitment is to have peace studies students sign up for all the slots on the military recruiting schedule and then discuss with the recruiter why war is wrong. This tactic has forced the military to stop recruiting at Manchester College.

  3. MPJC position on Nuclear Weapons and Power: The email discussion was very rich on this topic. Peter thought there were three separate topics here: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power, and Depleted Uranium. He will try to condense the discussion into an MPJC position on each of these. Folks wanted us to talk about what we were for, not just what we were against.

  4. Other topics and issues

    1. United for Peace and Justice March and Rally: There will be a massive march and rally to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home now in Washington, DC, on Saturday, September 24. We need to decide how to respond. There will be grassroots training on September 25, and mass CD on September 26.

    2. Monday Vigil: We will be out at the Federal Building on Memorial Day. It was suggested that we make some new signs in honor of this day.

    3. Saturday Vigil: Zae will be away for six weeks starting June 25. Peter volunteered to announce the Saturday vigil for that day, and hopefully Ed C. can help with some of the other Saturdays. Since Zae brings a carload of vigilers with her each week, we need to talk up this vigil to maintain a good showing over the summer.

    4. Ellyn asked us to open communication with the Grand Rapids peace group. We took no action on this proposal.

    5. The next Topic of the Month will be Voter Reform: Some ideas were justice at the polls, new voter ID, making more extensive use of absentee ballot, etc. Dustin agreed to pose the question to the email list.

    6. St. Joe Valley Project mailing: We received a bill from the St. Joe Valley Project for annual dues of $50 and an invitation to the annual dinner in September. We belong to this Project because of our membership in Jobs with Justice. Lee will check on whether our dues to JWJ covers our dues to the Project and report back at next meeting. Until then we will just hold on to the bill.

    7. West Side All-West reunion: From June 30 to July 4, there will be a 50 year anniversary festival at Charles Black center. We decided to staff a table on one of those days and hand out literature on the cost of war, our speakers list, counter-recruitment, social security info, voter registration and voter ID. The booth rental is $50 per day, but Lois will try to get them to reduce the cost for informational booths.

    8. Social Security Reform: At the recent League of Women Voters social security forum, there was a Republican plant at every table to ask aggressive and sometimes hostile questions of the speaker, Marty Wolfson. We need to be aware that the republicans are organizing for an all-out effort. There will be a public town hall meeting about social security reform on June 7 at the main Library Auditorium sponsored by Americans United to Preserve Social Security. We all need to call Chocola's office inviting hime to attend. If he does not come they will set up an empty chair in the front.

  5. Next meeting: Tuesday, June 21, at 1036 N. Niles Ave.