Minutes for MPJC Meeting of July 20, 2011

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Wanda, Galen, Carol, Kathy, Pam, Ron

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for May 31: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Topic of the Month: Uplifting stories of nonviolence - Wanda and Galen told a story about Alex Lewis, who had been incarcerated 31.5  years.  Wanda was coordinator of volunteers for the URC from 1976-87.  In 1978 the penal code was changed due to overcrowding.  All lifers without definite year terms were reevaluated.  Alex Lewis was one of 38, who was elegible for parole, if he had a sponsor.  His wife had moved to Michigan City after his sentence, so she could visit him once every ten days.  Twelve years after he was incarcerated she died, and he was not allowed to attend her funeral.  Following her death he really had no visitors.  So, we sponsored him, and he lived with us five years before finding a place of his own.  Alex told the story of his nickname.   After his crime of murder in 1948, he fled to Florida where he had family, but he was apprehended there.  A white policeman was sent down to bring him back but the segregation laws would not allow them to travel together. They finally sent a black policeman to fly him back to Fort Wayne, and a journalist wrote the story and titled it "Flying Home."  It was published in the Fort Wayne newspaper.  When Alex reached the prison, the inmates said his name would be "Flying Home."  While living with us Alex took care of the local Fair Cemetery, and he earned the praise and gratitude of everyone in the surrounding area.  He died July 24, 2001 and was buried in the Fair Cemetery.

Ellyn pointed out the War Resisters League weekly calendar from a few years back which had 52 stories of nonviolent resistance successes. Peter told the story of his encounter with the Chief Finance Officer at St. Mary's, who was angry when the IRS came to St. Mary's to garnish Peter's wages for refused war taxes. He tried to have Peter fired but was not successful. 20 years later when this CFO retired, he sent Peter a letter expressing his appreciation of Peter's faithful witness to his principles.

Carol told about Bill's decision to give up his job working on the Talos missile because of its use in warfare. That is how he began working for the water works.

        b. Peace Education Fund Board: The new Board has not met. Several of the candidates want to talk about the Fund before committing to the Board. Peter will talk with them and help Glenda Rae call a meeting. He will help Glenda Rae file the Postcard 990-N to the IRS in mid-July. (This was done the day after the meeting)

        c. Meeting with Congressman Donnelly: Six of us met with Hodge Patel and his intern, Colleen, in early June, to tell Donnelly that war is too expensive and we should end it now. Many of the folks in MPJC worked on his campaign and feel he should live up to his promise to work towards the end of the wars. We also wanted him to try to shut down the new nuclear weapons plant being built in St. Louis. We noted with approval that Donnelly had voted against Paul Ryan's bill on Medicare and also against the cap on funds. Lugar is a model for answering letters to the point. His stated positions on advocating the U.S. concentrate on combating terrorism rather than fighting wars and protecting stockpiled nuclear weapons from terrorists is worthwhile, but he seems to vote for every war funding bill that comes along.

        d. Audacity of Hope project: The ship was not allowed to leave Greece. People who left the ship and tried to fly to Gaza were stopped at the airport in Israel and either detained or sent back to their home countries. All the airports in the Palestinian territories have been destroyed. Glenda Rae mentioned that Israeli settlers are attacking Palestinian people and their livelihoods such as destroying olive trees, sheep, and wells and harassing people even school children and lately they have even attacked CPT  and Project Dove internationals.  One settler was heard to applaud the killing of Osama bin Ladin and hope that the next victims will be CPT personnel.

        e. Hiroshima/Nagasaki vigil: We decided to have the vigil on Friday, August 5, at the fountain outside Morris Civic. Lois has a lot of signs. Glenda Rae will bring the "Where Do Your Tax Dollars Go?" leaflets for us to pass out. Ron will contact Lois to coordinate the vigil.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $90.13 with $30 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We skipped over this as time was running out.

    2. Impeachment of Obama: Who would replace him - nobody any better. Impeachment is not going to succeed. It is a waste of time and plays into Republican hands.

    3. Topic of the Month: We decided to put together a collection of these stories of nonviolence. Peter was to put out a plea for other stories from the list serve in a separate email from the minutes. Perhaps some unity garden stories, like when vandals destroyed a garden and the neighbors came together and rebuilt it.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: Frank and Sheila Rosenthal of IJPN are biking through South Bend in late July. Kathy will sponsor a cookout in her back yard on Saturday, July 30. Call her for more information.

We noted that OFA has a new coordinator, Molly McClure. It seems that none of the progressive groups in town are those we should connect with as an organization. Peter described what he learned from Ed Cohen's long-term party website and notes from their first meeting. Even though they are not going in our direction, he encouraged individuals to sign up on the website http://long-termparty.com

We need to continue to write to our senators and representatives, as often as every day, even though the responses are not relevant. This is especially important during the debt ceiling debate.

    5. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Thursday, September 1 at 7pm at Pam and Ron's. All are welcome.