Minutes for MPJC Meeting of September 1, 2011

Present: Peter, Glenda Rae, Rey, Wanda, Galen, Pam, Lois

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for July 20: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Topic of the Month: Uplifting stories of nonviolence - Pam told how she got a job at Gilbert's just after she and Ron arrived in South Bend in 1967. The management did not want any employee to wear their hair long or engage in protests against the war. They were going to fire a young man who had long hair and Pam threatened to quit if they did. Fortunately for both the young man and Pam, the management backed down. This story made the papers, both in South Bend and back in England.She explained that she came from a pacifist family and is always trying to explain to people why war is not the answer. Glenda Rae spoke of a very belligerent IRS agent who came to their door in the early days of their war tax resistance. She refused to be intimidated and answered his accusations by calmly stating that she and Rey could not in conscience pay for war. After a while he went away upset that he had not instilled any fear of the IRS into her. Peter will collect the stories into a document to be posted to the web.

        b. Peace Education Fund Board: The new Board has finally met. They decided on officers. Glenda Rae is still Treasurer and will represent MPJC and Study Circles interests. Wanda is Vice President and will represent the interests of the Nicaragua project. Liz Kurtz is President and Ed Cohen is Secretary. The board will meet once a year in May. We noted that Ed Cohen is working to establish the long-term party to build a platform to reform America. He is taking a long range view.

        c. Deficit Reduction vigils: Move-on sponsored two of these vigils before the vote to extend the debt ceiling, one at Donnelly's office and one at Stutzman's office (the 3rd district representative). They were well attended. Many of us wrote out our requests that Donnelly push for a balanced approach for solving the debt crisis, but none of us have heard back from him on this topic. Lois complained that she never gets a response from him after the brief acknowledgement that the message was received. Glenda Rae had just received a letter more to the point in response to a letter she had signed on line. We encouraged everyone to keep sending emails and to visit Donnelly's office to urge him to take action to end the wars quickly. Galen pointed out a story in the September 1 South Bend Tribune about the billions wasted by military contractors and personnel during the current wars. We agreed that Congress must provide oversight, but each congressman has defense contracts in his district so it is doubtful any action will be taken.

        d. Frank and Sheila Rosenthal cookout: It turned out that it was a cookin, since the weather was so hot. The event was very enjoyable. The conversation was more general. Frank and Sheila did not explain why they were biking across the state. One high point was meeting a Japanese teacher from Notre Dame who offered to make 100 peace cranes for the Hiroshima vigil.

        e. Hiroshima/Nagasaki vigil: The peace cranes were a big hit and we believe this was the lure that brought out the media. It turned out that Move-On had an event downtown at the same time. It would have been much better if we had been able to coordinate. It seemed that neither of us knew that the other was planning a vigil. Perhaps we could encourage more group leaders to subscribe to our list serve so they could know about our events and publicize their own. One woman who had refused a leaflet (Where do Your Tax Dollars Go, or The Cost of War) changed her mind after receiving a peace crane.

        f. International Day of Prayer for Peace: This ceremony will be held starting between 11:30 and noon on Wednesday, September 21, in the lobby of the County-City building. The program will include a short dramatic playlet directed by Marge Davis and the Sisters of the Holy Cross choir, which includes novices from a number of countries, will perform. The theme is "Hunger as Violence." MPJC is willing to be listed as a sponsor of this event.

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. Witness for Peace speaker: A Mexican social worker, Jaqueline Garcia Salamanca, who works on migration issues on the border between Mexico and the U.S. will be in the area October 21-22. She will be in Goshen during the day on Friday, October 21. We could sponsor a talk by her in the evening of the 21st or anytime on Saturday. Since the 22nd is a home game, we should make sure the venue is far away from Notre Dame. Perhaps some other organizations would like to cosponsor the talk. Ellyn is working on this.

    3. September 11 anniversary event: Ellyn will be in contact soon with details on a singalong on Sunday, September 11. It will begin late in the afternoon at 1036 N. Niles Ave. we talked about making new signs for the September 12 vigil but no consensus was reached on this idea.

    4. Topic of the Month: We decided that it was time to focus on returning veterans and explore what we could realistically do to support them and their families. Lois proposed getting involved with the Brethren Welcome Home project. Their website had 10 ideas for ministry to returning veterans. Some of them were VA hospital visits, visit a Vet center and learn about vets in the area, build relationships with veteran's families and ask them of ways to help them. Rey proposed the Point Man International Ministries project (www.PMIM.org). The closest PMIM group is in Grand Rapids. One needs a veteran with a DD-214 discharge to be the leader of a local chapter, called an Outpost. The goals of PMIM are similar to the Welcome Home project, helping veterans with spiritual, physical, and mental coping. Both are Christian based which may be a problem. The leader of PMIM must be a practicing Christian, although the veterans and other helpers do not. It was noted that Peter had the qualifications to become a PMIM leader. We were concerned that this project was bigger than we could handle and asked Rey and Lois to prepare a statement of our vision for helping returned veterans and how we can bring this vision about. We will post this to the list serve and everyone else needs to comment before the next meeting.

    5. Other Topics and Issues: The leader of the AFL-CIO, Bill Trumpka, will speak at 7:30pm on September 14 at Notre Dame. Contact Rey or Peter for more details.
Peacemakers of Michiana, a group promoting peace between Israel and Palestine, is sponsoring a Fall film series at Holy Cross College. The first film will be on September 29th. The title is "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
The unions are sponsoring a Labor Day picnic 3-6 at Howard Park. We can walk over to the vigil from there.
The NAACP fund raiser will start at 11:30, September 24, at the Landing. Tickets are $35. See Glenda Rae.
The Intelligence Report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center had an article on scapegoating illegal aliens, titled "Illegal Aliens Starting Fires." Falsely blaming undocumented people for fires is just another way to make citizens angry and whip up the hate i.e. scapegoating them. It was John McCain who tried to imply that they had set them.
The annual St. Joe Valley Project banquet will be held at The Teamsters Hall on Edison next to the post office on Saturday, October 15. Tickets are $20 for a student, $35 for an individual or $30 apiece for 2 or more. Social hour 5-6, Polish dinner at 6, followed by the awards program at 7. We agreed to pay dues to the Project again this year.

    6. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Wednesday, October 5 at 7pm. Place to be determined.