Minutes for MPJC Meeting of June 2, 2014

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

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for April 14: The minutes were approved as written.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Having received no answer from Elaine and Zhoubi, we looked at both Rey's and Ellyn's revised drafts again. Ellyn withdrew her objection to Rey's version, but noted that in the last few days, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have joined in a unified government that recognizes Israel's right to exist. Thus we will have to make some changes to Rey's draft. We also noted that the first two and last two paragraphs in Ellyn's draft were the same ans the corresponding paragraphs in Rey's draft. We looked again at the last paragraph in the document which gives the MPJC response to the problem. After much discussion, we decided to reword the last sentence to have "We recognize that" in the beginning and end with "that must have solutions." Rey wanted to add a clause that resolving these issues would only happen if the Israelis and Palestinians were committed to working together. Peter wondered if we could recommend any action on the part of anyone except the U.S. We did think that we should exhort the U.S. media to cover the situation in Palestine more responsibly. Peter will try to reword the statement and put it out to the list serv for comment.

        b. Tax Day Vigil: MPJC met for a 4pm vigil at Rep. Walorski's office, 202 Lincolnway East, Mishawaka. We joined the unions, Americans for Tax Fairness, and Americans for Democratic Action. Although our messages were somewhat diverse, they complemented each other. Ellyn sent out a press release and Jeremy from ATF scheduled a meeting with Walorski's representative. He listened to what the group had to say but did not comment. Rep Walorski was asked to focus on job creation that did not depend on military spending because economic growth gets more bang for the buck from domestic vs military spending. Also, war drives up the deficit, as can be seen by past evidence. Peter made some new signs, one of which pointed out the connection with the Global Day for Action against Military Spending.

        c. Earth Day and Greentown Celebrations: Frack-Free Michiana had a table at Earth Day, but it was out of the traffic pattern. Lois went out into the crowd and talked to people to convince them to come to the table to sign the petition. Later they moved the table down towards the river where there was more traffic. There were almost no other tables this year.The day was a learning experience. Greentown had a very good program. The emphasis was that going green is good for business. There were good topics and the selection of books was impressive. The Walnut Grove plan was well thought out.

        d. Helping Mamas Against Violence: Bobbi Woods asks us to support their march and/or post march gathering this Saturday, June 7. The march starts at Muessel Grove Park at 9:30 and ends at the church on Bendix Drive at 10:00 for a post march gathering. Folks can walk or go right to the church.

Note that recently, the city has brought the gang members together to begin the "Don't Shoot." program we discussed at the April meeting. This is the basis for a program to focus police anti-violence attention on people who cause violence, both on the perpetrators and the victims. This program involves calling in folks likely to cause violence and give them an ultimatum: stop the violence or else. They are offered access to help to curb their violent behavior. They are promised no prosecution if they take the help and refrain from future violence. Otherwise they should expect to face maximum prison sentences. This program has worked in several large cities including Boston and Chicago. It is too early to tell how successful it will be but we noted that there have been no shootings involving injury or death since the program was started. We were disappointed that none of us got the word about a public gathering where the city officials asked for feedback. A better system of notification must be found.

       e. Concern about Voting Restrictions: We were appalled at the low 6% turnout in the primary voting. The League of Women Voters is investigating the whole topic. We should get involved with them even though their meetings are usually at 8am.

    3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $81.04 with $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 decided to continue work on MPJC response to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

    3. Other Topics and Issues: On June 30th, Dr. Rebecca Dali, the wife of the President of the Church of the Brethren Conference in Nigeria, will attend the vigil and hold a press conference. Lois will send details when they are available and Ellyn will send out the press release. The focus of the vigil that day will be on reducing violence. The Church of the Brethren is being persecuted in Nigeria and thousands have fled. The girls recently kidnapped attended a Brethren school. Carol Smith will accompany Dr. Dali. Carol went to Nigeria to teach Math but found the students were ill prepared, so she got permission to start a Montessori school. This lasted only a month because she refused to whip the students when they did not perform sufficiently well. Ellyn mentioned that her cousin's daughter has started a successful Montessori school in Cano, Nigeria which has over 300 pupils.

    4. Next meeting: Monday, July 7th, at 3pm at Peter and Ellyn's.