Minutes for MPJC Meeting of August 24, 2020

Present: Peter, Glenda Rae, Reynaldo (Zoom meeting).

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for July 20: The minutes were approved as written.

    2. Progress Reports:

        a. Topic of the Month: Public vs Private Education. Reynaldo suggested that we change the first sentence in the current draft to "Based on the research we have done, MPJC supports public school education and opposes syphoning off funds to support charter, religious, and non-sectarian private schools." He recommended that we move this sentence to the end of the document and change "these four approaches to education" to "public, charter, religious, and non-sectarian private schools" in the new lead paragraph. Although she was unable to attend the meeting, Ellyn had expressed concern that perhaps some non-public approaches to education might deserve funding, citing the bad experience that a Guatemalan family she helps had with public schools and the good experience with the Montessori school. This led to a long discussion about how best to teach young people who do not speak english. Reynaldo related his experience growing up in a Spanish-speaking family and picking up english by osmosis until by the 3rd grade he would stay in from recess to talk english with his teachers. He highly recommended reading to youngsters, especially from books with pictures of familiar objects such as Dr Seuss and Pictionary. Glenda Ray had taught spanish-speaking children as a substitute teacher and recommended the Laubach literary series and also using sentences like "This is a _________," especially with children who do not pick up english by osmosis. They had sent their teen-age daughter to Mexico for spanish immersion and she was bullied because she did not speak spanish, so it is harder for non-english speaking teenagers in school than younger students.

We decided to put off further discussion of the draft until the next meeting when Ellyn, Wanda, and Lois can be there.

        b. Book of the Month report: Glenda Rae finished "Slaves in the Family" by Edward Ball and found it a very interesting read throughout. Reynaldo finished reading "Color of Compromise" by Jamar Tisby, and also "Plantation Jesus" by Skot Walsh, Rick Wilson and Andi Cumbold-Floyd. The latter book described how white folks used passages from the bible, especially the letters of Paul, to keep their slaves content with their lives so they would nor disobey their masters. He noted that there is still a tendency on the part of whites to keep blacks subservient through scriptures and other means. "Plantation Jesus" would make a good study book, because it has discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

       c. Immigration Coalition Report: There has been no meeting of the Coalition since our last meeting.

       d. Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days, August 6 and 9: We held signs about nuclear weapons at our August 3rd vigil. Reynaldo thought that we get fewer honks when we stray from our primary racial justice focus. We had to move the vigil from Karl King to the federal building on the 2nd Monday of the month to alleviate tension among folks in the building.

3. Treasurer's Report: $97.14 with $20 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 will continue with the Public vs Private Education topic.

    3. International Day of Prayer for Peace (September 21): The URC is planning to mark this day with either a Zoom event or a physical gathering at Leighton Plaza near the MLK and Fr. Hesburgh statues starting at 4:30 on September 21. Since that is a Monday, we will be vigiling at the same time in that location. Reynaldo will contact John Pinter to see how we can coordinate our events and let us know.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: The common council will hold its first hearing for the citizen review board on Monday, August 24. The local Black Lives Matter group has presented a list of recommendations to improve this document. They are especially concerned that the police have no presence or influence with this board. At the first hearing, the proposal will be assigned to committee. It is at the second hearing that the committee will report its findings and the public can comment. People can attend committee meetings but cannot speak without permission. Reynaldo thought that if the ordinance is not changed to reflect BLM concerns about the police presence, we should urge the council to vote it down. In the absence of any personal police representation, there should be provision for accessing, on request, the consulting services of a police professional if "expertise and experiential data" is needed to render an informed decision. Such consultant should be named by the Chief of Police, subject to ratification by the mayor, should be an officer with a clean disciplinary record, and most assuredly NOT chosen as recommended by the FOP, although such recommendation should not be regarded as disqualifying as long as other criteria are met.

Peter informed folks that Faith in Indiana is holding a Zoom house meeting on Friday, August 28 at 5:00pm, to set up a process to encourage folks to vote in the November elections. The link is http://evite.me/wWkb1kCgme

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    5. Next meeting: Monday, September 27, at 2:30pm by Zoom. Ellyn will initiate the meeting.