Minutes for MPJC meeting for June 21.

Present: Dustin, Mary Jo, Zae, Lee, Peter, Paul, Ellyn, Rey, Ed C., Pam, Brenna, Elise, Liz

Old Business

  1. Approval of Minutes: The minutes for the May 24th meeting were approved.

  2. Progress Reports

    1. IPJN report: The last conference call focused on the No Child Left Behind optout strategy as a counter recruitment tool. Lee will send Peter their counter recruitment brochure for inclusion on the website.

    2. Sheila Provencher's Speaking Engagement: This was very successful -- almost 50 in attendance. It was held after the Monday vigil on June 20th at the First United Methodist Church. Sheila gave a good presentation on the theme "Come to the Table," and we enjoyed the good potluck food very much. Sheila forgot to ask for money to help the work of Christian Peacemaker teams, so we decided to donate $50 from our treasury to CPT and let the First United pastor know we are doing this in lieu of sending a donation to the church. Some folks at the meeting also donated money to CPT and we encourage others to do so (CPT, P.O. Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680). Sheila will talk at the Catholic Worker House, 1126 W. Washington St., on Friday, July 1, and also at Sacred Heart Parish Center, north of Notre Dame off Douglas Rd. on Saturday, July 11. We will try to post the times of these presentations by email and on the website.

    3. MPJC Position on Nuclear Weapons and Power: Peter had prepared a statement gleaned from the listserv email responses and Zae had promulgated it for final changes. Peter incorporated the changes and asked for approval of the revised statement. There was heated discussion with Paul and Ed C. requesting major changes to link nuclear power to nuclear weapon production more explicitly and to delete the pararaph about alternatives to conventional energy production. Paul observed that what we had proposed in this paragraph was in large part not available to the poor and they are the ones whose power and heat is being cut off by power companies. Zae objected strongly to making major changes at this point since it would subvert the carefully crafted process for developing MPJC positions. We should either approve the proposed draft or send the new proposals back to the listserv for comments. The group decided to approve the draft with the understanding that it can be changed in the future should this be called for. Peter will put it on the web.

    4. Alternative Media Sources Collection: Zae prepared a list of web news sources together with a brief statement about their mission. We encouraged her to incorporate the comments received via the listserv, and work with Peter to get these links ready for the website. Peter will develop blurbs for the current website links and send these to Zae for editing. Hopefully the project will be finished by September.

    5. Student Volunteer for July-August: Elise attended the meeting and met with Paul afterwards. She attends Ball State and is a member of the Peace Workers organization there. We encouraged her to attend as many weekly vigils and meetings concerning our issues as she can, do research on counter recruitment and prepare materials. Since the Center for Peace and Nonviolence is also focusing on the counter recruitment issue, she should work with them so we are not duplicating their efforts,

    6. No Child Left Behind issue: The CPNV is sponsoring a meeting on this issue on Tuesday, June 28, at 7pm, at the old St. Stephen's rectory at 1102 Thomas (runs between Chapin and Walnut two blocks south of West Washington.). The meeting will continue the work done at the recent Diane Nash workshop. They hope to set up plans for researching the counter recruitment issue, report what is known, decide what more needs to be investigated, plan a youth day to get active high schoolers involved, etc. Folks willing to work on this issue are invited to attend.

    7. St. Joe Valley Project billing: Lee reported that it is time to pay our dues of $50 and he mentioned the benefits of membership. We decided to pay the dues for the coming year.

    8. West Side All-West reunion: This celebrates the 50 year anniversary of the LaSalle Park project. Lois negotiated a table for the entire June 30-July 4 festival for $25. We decided to pay for the table. Dustin, Mary Jo, Ed C., and Peter volunteered to help staff the table. We will ask Lois to coordinate. Rey will provide the information on Social Security.

    9. Town Hall Meeting about Social Security reform on June 7: Lee and Dustin reported that the Americans United for Social Security sponsored this gathering. It focused on the human side of Social Security reform -- i.e. it is an insurance plan and not just a retirement investment package. Folks were worried about what will happen to reforming Medicare which is a much more pressing problem.

  3. Treasurer’s Report: The treasurer was absent, but we spent $125 at this meeting.

New Business

  1. Response to Darfur Genocide: Liz and Brenna addressed this issue. They are from the Catholic Worker house and were arrested outside the Sudanese embassy in D.C. in February. They want to rouse folks from their apathy about the genocide issue. There are five areas to focus on: targeted sanctions, International Criminal Court indictments against the 52 worst offenders, oil embargo, divestment from companies doing business with Sudan (Indiana teachers pension fund is so invested), and increasing the number and mission of peacekeepers from the African Union. Brenna and Liz were not willing to push the last option since they were non-violent and believed that peacekeeper armed response to the government sponsored nilitants would increase refugee suffering and death. MPJC is a mixture of pacifists and non-pacifists and we could not agree on the peacekeeper issue. It is essential that the refugees return home for the growing season and peacekeeper violence is probably the fastest way to accomplish this, even though the long-term consequences of violent resolution of crises is often worse than the crises themselves. Brenna and Liz will prepare a flyer laying out their proposals, but will not use the MPJC name on the flyer. They are sponsoring a meeting on the issue this Thursday, June 23rd, at 7pm at the Jordan Auditorium in the College of Business at Notre Dame, at which they will show their DVD about the Darfur situation and ask for volunteers. We suggested that the flyers could be available at our West Side table June 30 - July 4, and during the July 8-10 weekend. Sojourners is calling for national action on Darfur on that weekend. Ed C. volunteered to call the mall and ask if we could have a table from 2:30-5:00 on July 9, and folks could pass out flyers at the East Race Concert series on July 10. These events should be registered at the appropriate places on the web. Lee will look into the possibilities of divesting the teacher's pension fund from companies doing business with Sudan. Peter will set up a button on the MPJC website to post flyers and sample letters on this issue.

  2. Relationship between Donnelly and MPJC and MPJC support of Ed Cohen's Candidacy: We joined these two agenda items because they are related. After much discussion we decided that MPJC would endorse neither Joe Donnelly or Ed Cohen for Congress. Folks are free to work on either or neither of the campaigns. The discussion centered around fears that working for two democratic candidates would tear our organization apart, though most folks did not think this was likely. Having two candidates is a good way to get the issues discussed and clarified. Paul suggested we sponsor a public meeting on the use of electoral politics to further grassroots issues and the group was amenable to this suggestion. (Ed note: Since the Indiana Peace Education Fund is a 501C3 organization, and folks can donate to us through them, we need to be careful about our electoral involvement.)

  3. MPJC position on Voting: Dustin will try to condense the email discussion into an MPJC position. We will put it on the listserv for further comments.

  4. Other topics and issues

    1. MPJC table at CWIL conference: Peter will set up and break down the table. There is no need to staff it. Anyone with material should contact Peter. It would be nice to display the banner if it can be found.

    2. Honking at the Vigils: We postponed discussion on this issue until the next meeting.

    3. Hiroshima Day activities: We ran out of time to discuss this topic. Hopefully, Lois will have a proposal for the next meeting.

    4. Topic of the Month: We did not have time to select one, although during the meeting it was suggested that we develop a position on the Darfur situation.

  5. Next meeting: Tuesday, July 19, at 1036 N. Niles Ave.