Minutes for MPJC Meeting of September 14, 2015

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Lois (by phone)

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for August 3: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: Climate Change - Rey had submitted a draft of this position paper a few hours before the meeting. Those who had read it (all but Lois) thought it was very well stated. Peter suggested that Rey look up when it is expected that alternative energies, particularly solar, are supposed to come down in cost to where they are competitive with oil and gas and he agreed to do so. We also wondered if the paper could make the justice issues arising out of climate change more explicit. Rey thought that the comment about the dimensions of climate change being moral, ethical, spiritual spoke to the justice issue. Other comments were that climate change is bad for our mental and physical health. Each person has the right to be able to drink clean water and breathe clean air. Climate change is unjust to the earth. Fishermen are losing their livelihood from the heating of the oceans and the subsequent effects on fish. We lamented Obama's opening Alaska waters to drilling and the subsequent oil spill harm it may cause. We worry that people with money and power will override attempts to switch to renewables. At this point, the biggest obstacle to switching is the startup costs. We noted that the Native Americans in the Southwest are suffering from the gold mine overflow. We decided to let folks comment via the list serve and take up this topic again at our next meeting.

        b. Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Presence: Our presence at the fountain on August 7 worked out well. We gave out more than 100 flyers, and reminded folks, many of whom had forgotten, about the significance of August 6 and 9. There was no news coverage although a free lance photographer took our picture with the signs and banner.

        c. International Day of Prayer for Peace: This will take place on September 21 and is cosponsored by the Center for Peace and Nonviolence. The community is invited to visit a Reflection Space on the first floor of the city county building from 11am-4pm on September 21st. The space will include 3 tables and chairs for folks to sit and reflect on quotations and prayers of peace from 11 religions plus the Prayer of Saint Francis, as well as remembrances and photographs of local residents lost to violence, and stories from the 150 Stories of Peace project. There will be flyers containing Golden Rule-type statements from 21 different faith traditions. Later from 5:30pm-6:30pm, a community vigil will be held at the Jon Hunt Plaza in front of the Morris Center. This expansion of the weekly Monday peace vigil will remember the International Day of Peace as well as be a space for remembrances from families who have lost loved ones to violence in our region. The regular peace vigil in front of the federal building will be held from 4:30 to 5:25 to give time for folks to move up to the Jon Hunt plaza.

        d. School to Prison Pipeline: This community forum sponsored by the Community Forum for Economic Justice was held on September 12 at IUSB. It was well attended (estimated at 75) and well planned and executed. Peter, Lois, Glenda Rae, Rey, Wanda, and Galen from MPJC attended. The morning panel and dialogue with Dr. Skiba were very informative. The afternoon session on Restorative Justice was quite interactive. Participants were separated into 4 different restorative justice circles and experienced what it was like. Peter wondered if Restorative Justice was being used in the South Bend schools. The full RJ program is being used only at the Rise-up academy, but teachers claim its principles are being applied in other schools. Its use has been very effective in California where school suspensions are down 85% where it is used. There is a plan to start some RJ circles in the South Bend community with the hope that these will help familiarize citizens with the concept and build a corps of people with training who could act as resources to schools.

The youth workshop was hard to understand both from a language and volume perspective. One of the topics was bullying in the schools. The key to combating this widespread problem is people standing up for the one being bullied. The parenting workshop was well done. A key point is to get the new generation of parents into activities like the study circles. The resources workshop illustrated many programs reaching out to youth which many of us did not know existed.

       e. Nov 29th Climate Change Demonstration: No one had heard anything more on this. We noted that it is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, a difficult travel time. We will see if more has come up by our next meeting.

    2. Treasurer's Report: $83.72 with a $4.11 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 stay with the Climate Change topic

    3. September 19 Anti-violence panel: MPJC was invited to participate in a panel at the Maple Lane Seventh Day Adventist Church, titled "My Brother's Keeper: Where do we go from here?" Peter accepted and originally he and Ellyn were listed as panelists. We decided that Rey and Glenda Rae would be more knowledgeable on the topic and they agreed to substitute for Peter and Ellyn. We talked about the six questions to be put before the panel which consists of the Chief of Police, a Common Council member, a County council member, the Residence Services Officer of the Center for the Homeless, Rey, and Glenda Rae. The first question is about education taking place in South Bend between police and citizens. Chief Teachman will have to answer that. A second question about programs in the community to stop violence in black neighborhoods and help prevent our youth going to prison as well as the third about measures in the area to improve life outcomes of boys and young men of color were discussed in depth at the Community Forum. A fourth discussing Michelle Alexander's book dealt with mass incarceration as the new Jim Crow. The fifth discusses the difference between the "Black Lives Matter," and the "All Lives Matter" movements. Rey explained that the latter arose out of police reaction to the former. The last question dealt with a series of cartoons; the first set showing white parents discussing the birds and the bees with their young child, and black parents having to discuss guns and the justice system with their youg son. Rey brought the book "Between the World and Me" by Coates to our attention. He said it was the best exposition of what young black men experience in today's America. It is about the destruction of the Black body.

    4. MPJC Sponsoring the Little Taste of Peace: We received a letter from the Human Rights Commission asking our sponsorship. We agreed to do so. It does not cost anything and we already pitch in to help accomplish this event.

    3. Other Topics and Issues: November 11 is Veteran's Day (formerly Armistice Day). Should we do something special to call attention to endless war? We decided to make some new signs for the Nov 9 vigil on this topic.

The NWTRCC meeting is November 6-8 in Las Vegas. Peter will attend.

CPNV is still collecting stories of nonviolence. Send your story to SB150peace@gmail.com

    4. Next meeting: Monday, October 12th, at 2:30pm at Peter and Ellyn's.