Minutes for MPJC Meeting of September 25, 2007


Present: Lois, Peter, Ellyn, Kathy, Lee, Rey, Glenda Rae, Caroline, Isabella, Carol

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for August 29: The minutes were approved as written.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Donnelly/Bayh Meetings: There have been no MPJC-related meetings with Donnelly or Bayh since the last meeting. Kathy is trying to arrange meetings with them in Washington on October 2 when she is there with WAND. Donnelly did stop by the Arlington Midwest project as we were taking it down. Kathy gave him a copy of Strategic Reset, a way out of Iraq, and asked him to read it before their meeting on Oct.2.

        b. Arlington Midwest Tombstone Project (Kathy): This was a big success. Lots of folks showed up on Thursday to set it up. There were a number of contacts made during the three days it was set up, including a family from Mishawaka whose son was killed in Iraq, and a mother of two marines, the second of whom has just been called back from ready reserve to serve another tour in Iraq. Kathy is helping this mother to get in contact with Catholic Peace Fellowship. There was no negative reaction from families whose relatives were killed. In fact there were only a couple of angry visitors to the exhibit over the whole weekend. There was good press coverage - channels 22 and 16,as well as the Tribune. The latter posted many pictures on their website as well as the one they printed in the paper. Through a donation jar and donations from several organizations (including $200 from MPJC), there was enough to cover the expenses of transporting the exhibit to South Bend and back. Wand took care of the financial process. The mayors of South Bend and Mishawaka prepared a joint proclamation which was read at the concluding prayer service. A week later, the South Bend Common Council, passed a resolution declaring September 21 a day of peace. Both the proclamation and the resolution is posted on the MPJC web site.

        c. Universal Health Care Topic of the Month (Caroline): Lee will send Caroline a summary statement on universal health care and she will send it to the listserv for comment.

        d. IPJN report (Kathy): There was a conference call right after the meeting. Kathy said that IPJN had two projects going. The first was a statewide rally on Saturday, October 6, in Terre Haute. We agreed to send $20 to help support this event, although it is so far away that no one was interested in attending. The second is for Indiana to support the regional UFPJ demonstration in Chicago on Saturday, October 27. MPJC is organizing folks to take the South Shore Peace Train to the rally at 1:30pm CST in Union Park. They are hoping to have a march connected with the demonstration. Shiela from IPJN is looking for a large flag that the Indiana contingent can march behind. There is a new website for IPJN - www.networkforpeace.org where most activities are listed.

        e. Days of Decision -Declaration of Peace (Peter): There was a vigil at Donnelly's office on Saturday, September 15 at noon and every weekday Sept. 17-21 at 4pm. They were well-attended and Donnelly's staff came out every day to take statements from the protesters. On Friday, we read the names of the Indiana soldiers killed in Iraq since the start of the war. Apparently it was too loud for some nearby tenants since the police came by and asked us to stop - after we had finished. We also brought in a petition signed by almost 200 2nd district residents to both Donnelly and Bayh's offices. Kathy will take it to Lugar in Washington on October 2.

        f. International Day of Peace (Lois): September 21 was a beehive of activity. There was time set aside for prayer at the following churches:

From noon to 5pm on September 21, the Art Center across LWW from the Charles Martin center was open for folks to make pinwheels for peace. Then everyone is to bring the pinwheels to the crop walk on September 30. Church World Service will send them to kids in Africa who can use the pencil after the pinwheel wears out. St Margaret's house spent the week making weathergrams from paper grocery bags which they hung on trees and bushes outside the center. The Public Library sponsored a pinwheel making table and also has displays of pinwheels and drawings around the reference desk and also in the children's room and the media room.

At Stonehenge (Clarke Memorial Fountain) on the campus of Notre Dame, there was a peace cookie give-away in support of the International Day of Peace. 11-1 Friday. Students handed out information on the Department of Peace which we discovered Donnelly opposes.

There was a table in Madeleva and at the Saint Mary's College Student Center until 2 p.m. for those who wish to make a pinwheel. At 12 noon there was be a prayer vigil on Alumnae Green. These events were well covered in a September 25th Tribune series of pictures.

        g. Vigils at Donnelly's office (Peter): Peter proposed that we start a regular 4-5pm Thursday vigil in front of Donnelly's office. Ted had already said he would come. The traffic seems sufficient during that time and the honks will alert the Donnelly staffers that we are supported by most of the folks driving past. Several people wondered if we would be spreading ourselves too thin by sponsoring another vigil a week. Perhaps once a month on the third Friday or at the October 19th student-sponsored peace coffee houses, and/or the October 26th march to congressional offices, also sponsored by peace organizations on various campuses. At this march we hope to have the names of the 3800 soldiers killed in Iraq, 10 names per sheet, on a chain to extend from one congressional office to another. Perhaps use vinyl tablecoth material to paste the sheets on to make them more stable and easier to store. We ended the discussion by agreeing to the weekly vigil if six folks agree to regularly attend.

    3. Treasurer's Report: Glenda Rae reported that we had $170.37 in the treasury. She read a letter from Healthy Communities thanking us for the $75 we donated to the gun buy-back project. We discussed whether or not to sponsor an ad in the Jobs with Justice program, and after much discusion decided to allocate $50 for this project. The program will be for the annual dinner on Tuesday, October 30. We also decided to try to get enough folks to attend the dinner to get an MPJC table. If you want to be in on the table, get your $25 to Lee before October 8th if possible. If not possible, there may be seats available after that date.

New Business

    1. Co-sponsoring a progressive-oriented town hall meeting (Peter): Karl, from the St. Joe Valley Greens, asked MPJC to cosponsor a forum on October 21st at 6pm at Fiddler's Hearth where candidates for municipal offices would be asked questions and engage in progressive-oriented discussion. After much discussion, we decided it would be better for the progressives to ask their questions at the regularly scheduled League of Women voters forum at 6:30 on September 27th at the Elks Club on LWE. It seemed to us that only the Green candidates for office would attend the October 21st forum and MPJC would be seen as endorsing these candidates, which we cannot do and stay true to our bylaws.

    2. Review where we have been and where we are going re war refusal (Ellyn): We already discussed this topic in our discussion of other issues.

    3. Topic of the Month: We ran out of time before getting to this topic and decided to continue with the health care topic which is very timely.

    4. Other topics and issues: Southwest Michigan WAND is sponsoring the Eyes Wide Open boots project at the Cass Library in Cassopolis from 3pm on Saturday, October 13 to 3pm on Sunday, October 14. They asked for our participation. Kathy said that we can get the Indiana boots for an event closer to home. AFSC has decentralized the boots so it is easier to schedule a showing.

The Good War is airing at 11pm on October 6 on WNIT. St.Mary's College is starting a chapter of STAND - Student Action for New Directions. There will be a presentation from 3-5 on October 17th at the college. On October 17th at 6pm, the League is sponsoring a Mishawaka mayoral forum.

Kathy mentioned that we are asked for feedback on sponsoring a talk by the father of one of the 9/11 flight attendants. This will be organized by Gabe Malachi who has a PhD thesis on forgiveness. Kathy is in contact with the 9/11 family organization Peaceful Tomorrows. We showed interest in this topic and Kathy will keep us informed. Lois mentioned that the chaplains in the Federal Prison system have been ordered to get rid of all religiously oriented books in all prison libraries. This decision is based on a worry that prisons will become hotbeds of terrorism.

    5. Next meeting: Tuesday, November 13.