Minutes for MPJC Meeting of September 7, 2010

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

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for July 22: The minutes were approved with a couple of typos corrected.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Topic of the Month: Food Justice: Rey had emailed Peter a copy of his draft, but Peter had not been able to find it as of the meeting. Shortly thereafter he found it and sent out a revised draft to the list for comment. The final position will be approved at the next meeting.

        b. Topic of the Month: Nonviolent Resistance to Corporate Influence: Several of us attended the MoveOn strategy meeting on fighting Washington corruption by passing a constitutional amendment denying personhood to corporations, supporting public funding of candidates who refuse corporate donations, and passing laws to not allow government officials to lobby for corporations until they have been out of office for 5 years. MPJC took on the task of collecting endorsements from folks who attend the Farmer's Market. We got permission to collect signatures as long as we did not solicit shoppers for them. We decided to greet folks wearing a large button and holding the signature clipboard in the hopes that they would ask us what we were promoting. In the end we could not get enough people to staff the event over the labor day weekend and had to cancel. We decided to support MoveOn's work in this regard, but not initiate actions of our own or proceed further in developing an official position on this topic. Sheila mentioned that Lafayette has had some success placing peace and justice ads on a bus for a month ($125) and putting up a billboard for a year ($1100).

        c. August 6 gathering: This was very successful. Nine of us attended. We had a positive response from most of the folks we talked to. Thanks to Lois for organizing the signs and posters, to Rey for carrying an informative signboard, to Peter for preparing the flyer, to Pam, Carol, and Wanda for handing it out, and to everyone else for staying with and explaining the posters to passersby. It was nice to have a captive audience with folks coming to the music festival.

        d. IPJN News: Sheila came up from West Lafayette to bring us up to date on IPJN. It was started in 2002 at a meeting of 30 peace activists from five Indiana cities. Before (and after) its inception, Tom Healy had been including activities of groups throughout the state in each issue of "Branches." It has been a struggle to organize the network, but they have sponsored several state-wide rallies and five or six Peace and Justice summits in Indianapolis where folks from different cities are invited to give workshops. There is a monthly conference call which Sheila encourages us to join. The phone number is toll free. Rey has been participating when he can, and before him, Lee and Kathy. The next call is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 8pm. Call 1-866-256-1242, Access code: 78851689.

There is an IPJN email list and we passed around a sheet for folks to put down their email addresses if they wanted to join the list. IPJN also has a new accessible website "ipjn.org". This past April the organization decided to have a strategizing meeting on September 11. This will be held at the Earth House, 237 N. East Street in Indianapolis from 10:00am till 5:00pm. The objective of this meeting is to build unity and a foundation for leadership, organizing skills, and the peace and justice network among Indiana activists - to provide space for strategizing and building the IPJN to be a more effective state-wide network serving the goals of local peace and justice organizations. Sheila encouraged us to attend, but no one indicated that they would be free that day.

        e. July 29th Walk for Human Rights: This event was very well attended (over 200 people) and went well. Five of us attended and brought clipboards to collect signature on a MoveOn petition to stop Washington corruption. We only collected a handful of signatures but it was great to march with such a multiracial group to the new Center for Civil Rights on West Washington. Rey noted that the Red Cross was built around the concept of international rights of combatants and they are active in refugee programs and sending observers into delicate situations.

        f. August 10 rally against Washington corruption: There was a poor turnout, about 8 or 9 MPJC and MoveOn folks. A Tea Party collaborator joined us, declaring that DC is broken.

        g. September 21 International Day for Prayer for Peace: We decided to endorse this effort which will be held 11:45-12:45 on Tuesday, September 21. There will be prayers by an Iman, Rabbi, Native American, Unitarian, Buddhist, and Baha'i representative. Each speaker will place a piece of the puzzle (the Prayer for Peace logo) on a large board when he or she finishes speaking. The focus is on "Peace in the City," recognizing the work of many local organizations working for peace and justice.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $165.02 with $30 in petty cash. David James tore up our check for $25 to reimburse him for his help with the Memorial Day float. "It is my peace movement too," he said.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We skipped this item and did not get back to it. We have quite a bit on our plate as it is.

    2. October 2 and 16th demonstrations: The AFLCIO and NAACP are sponsoring an October 2 march and demonstration in Washington, D.C. UFPJ is endorsing it. One outcome is hopefully to pass Ron Paul and Barney Frank's "Tame the Pentagon" bill. Coming soon before the elections, the march will focus on on jobs and other economic issues which require us to divert military spending. Joe Carbone hopes to get some of the busses from Chicago to stop and pick up folks in South Bend who want to go to the march.

On October 16th, an organization CCAWR is organizing a midwest mobilization for peace and justice in downtown Chicago. The event starts at Michigan and Congress at 12:30 pm followed by a march through downtown Chicago. The organizers, who are affiliated with ANSWER, want to focus on Obama's poor showing regarding peace and justice - end the wars and reduce war spending. "Money for human need, not corporate greed." After some discussion about whether we want to attack Obama so close to the election, we decided not to endorse the mobilization, but to support anyone who wants to attend.

    3. Topic of the Month: We decided to continue with the current topic of Food Justice

    4. Other Topics and Issues: The City Council voted to table a bill guaranteeing equal employment for glbt folks. At the state level there is a move to add age as a protected class.

October 7-10 are international days to end war.

Although combat operations in Iraq have "ceased," soldiers are still going out on patrol, and doing training. Also, the number of military contractors has doubled and each is paid twice as much as a soldier. Thus our military personnel budget goes up four times for each soldier rotated out of Iraq.

We passed around petitions in support of the LaSalle Sq. library, due to close soon. We felt this was a justice issue since the poor need access to the library as much if not more than those in the suburbs. If this closure does not balance the budget, the director promises to close another inner city branch. Glenda Rae asked us to attend the September 27th Library board meeting at 4:15 on the third floor (hopefully it will be moved to the basement auditorium).

The next film in the Socially Significant Film Series at Debartalo Performing Arts Center on the Notre Dame campus is "The Oath." It traces the lives of two former al Qaeda members. It will be shown on September 16 and senior citizens get in for $4.

There is a fairly new center at 1302 South High St. dedicated to arts, education, spirituality, music, and activism. Paul Mishler of IUSB is one of the organizers. The next event is a concert by David Rovics, one of the best political singer/songwriters around today, at 7:30 on Wednesday, October 6. The cost is $8 per person.

The Young Democrats are opening an office at 1640 South Bend Ave. South Bend on Thursday, September 9, until the Nov. 2 elections. They are having an open house that day from 6-8pm. All are welcome.

    5. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Thursday, October 7, at 7pm. The place to be determined.