Minutes for MPJC Meeting of May 31, 2013

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Jenny, Wanda, Galen, Carol, Lois (by phone)

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for April 4: The minutes were approved as corrected. Glenda Rae pointed out that she could not give Jenny the Taste of Peace mailing list for privacy reasons, but might be able to have an announcement about the Video on Race series sent to this list when the arrangements are finalized.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: Immigration - Peter brought a copy of the current MPJC Resolution on Immigration to the meeting. It can be found at michianapeacejustice.net/immigration.html. We read it over and noted that it was written in 2006. Many of the points were still valid. Peter will prepare an updated version incorporating changes suggested at the meeting and will pass it to Jenny for the addition of the effects of Free Trade Agreements.

        b. Tax Day Plans: Four of us met at the corners of Michigan and Jefferson in downtown South Bend at 11:50am on Tax Day, Monday, April 15. Lois had prepared a sandwich board with a blown up budget pie chart and a message encouraging folks to think about where their tax dollar is going. Peter wore the sandwich board and all four handed out War Resisters League flyers titled "Where Your Tax Dollars Really Go" (about 100 total). Lois had some interesting conversations, including one gentleman who pulled out his glasses and read the entire flyer right near her. We got feedback that refusing to pay taxes doesn't do any good since the IRS still collects its money. It is important to point out that tax resistance allows the refuser to act in good conscience, allows him to say no to the government war policies, and, by redirecting the refused money to good causes, does more for the common good than the taxes would if paid.

        c. Letter to the mayor re gun control: At first we confused this point with the petitions being circulated by Kathy and Lois from Mayors against Illegal Guns. Amber is the point person in northern Indiana for this group, and she has organized several visits to Donnelly and Walorski's offices to deliver signatures. The last two trips to Walorski's office were in the past week. No one was in the office a week ago, so Amber contacted the press for Thursday's visit. Channels 57 and 22 showed up but were not allowed into the parking lot as it was private property. They interviewed the protesters on the sidewalk as they went ino the building to sign in and deliver petitions with 500 names urging Rep. Walorski to oppose gun violence. Folks who have written to Walorski noted that her responses were brief and did not speak to the points raised in the letters. There is an option on her website where one can just choose to express an opinion without a response from her. Most folks in our group are choosing that option.

The actual intent of this point on the agenda was to note that Ellyn had drafted a letter to the mayor re gun violence and Kathy sent it to him. We have heard nothing back. Ellyn sent a copy of the letter to the list a month ago and will resend it in case folks have lost it.

        d. Equal Pay Day Rally: This was held on April 9 in front of the County Courthouse to celebrate the day when women have caught up with what men have earned in 2012. There was a good turnout and a good program.

        e. May 1 memorial(Apr 27) and Memorial Day parade: Union organizers hold a memorial service each year at Howard Park at this time to remember those who have lost their lives on the job and to celebrate the passage of the OSHA legislation. There were two Indiana work-related deaths this past year, one of them a young park ranger who died when a tree fell on her. There was a good turnout and well planned program.

Rey drove his truck again this year in the West Side Memorial day parade representing the Coalition on Immigration. There were about 20 walkers and a couple of folks in the bed of the truck. Everyone except Rey got soaked. The ink on the signs began to run so they were stored in the cab. Wanda noted that MPJC is not a member of the coalition and we agreed that she should represent us at their meetings. Ellyn will send Tony Flora an email requesting that he add our name to the coalition members.

    3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is now $71.04 with $5.16 in petty cash. We noted that the Peace Ed Fund, our fiscal sponsor, is due to hold its annual meeting soon. Peter will print out a financial statement for Glenda Rae. We are not sure whether Liz Fallon is still in town, so Wanda, the vice president, may have to convene the meeting. Glenda Rae noted that Alfreda is on the board representing Study Circles, and that their annual meetings are open to the public. Jenny was interested in attending and Rey was interested in seeking sponsorship for the Lincoln Way West Cleanup Committee while they work on getting their own 501c3. The other board officers are Treasurer Glenda Rae, and Secretary Ed Cohen.

New Business

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

    2. July 6 Occupy Event: John Goodson asked if we would consider setting up a table at this event to be held in Elkhart. We couldn't find out anything about this event on the Occupy Michiana site and decided not to have a table, mainly because we did not think Elkhart folks would come to our events.

    3. Hiroshima/Nagasaki Days: These are celebrated on Tuesday, August 6, and Friday, August 9, this year. After much searching we found that DTSB will host a music event at lunchtime at the Jon Hunt plaza in front of Morris Civic on August 9. Lois is willing to help with organizing our presence at this event. We decided to think about what we could do and make final decisions at the next meeting. We want to poll other peace organizations so we don't conflict with their activities. We will hold appropriate signs at our regular August 5 vigil.

    4. Topic of the Month: We decided to develop a policy statement on the use of Drones. Peter and Ellyn will prepare a draft to get us started.

    5. Other Topics and Issues: Glenda Rae passed out some flyers concerning a Pledge of Resistance where folks will do civil disobedience if the Keystone XL pipeline impact study recommends approval and gets to the President's desk. She asked us to think about this.

All through the meeting we remembered Ron who passed away on May 26. His funeral will be at the First United Methodist Church at 11:00am June 1, with visitation an hour preceding. Ron was such an active member of MPJC for many years. He worked at many of our events including the Hiroshima protests and the MLK tables. He could always be depended on to make signs big and small. His work includes our Camp Casey signs and the one out in front of Holy Cross College. He will be greatly missed.

Most everyone scattered at this point due to threatening thunderstorms. As she left, Jenny said that she is still working at organizing the video series and expects to have a plan in place by the next meeting.

    6. Next meeting: Thursday, July 18th at 7pm at 1036 N. Niles Ave.