Minutes for MPJC Meeting of October 5, 2011

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

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

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Topic of the Month: Uplifting stories of nonviolence - Peter handed out a draft of the article for the website, and except for one misspelled word everyone approved it. He will put it on the issues page. Ellyn asked if it would be all right if she sent a video of protesters yelling nasty slogans at the homes of some Planned Parenthood directors in Indianapolis to see if anyone had suggestions for how to respond nonviolently to these protesters to get them to back off. No one objected. Galen mentioned Bob Clark's eulogy which described how he responded to folks calling him a "yellowbelly," when he refused to join the military during WW2.

        b. Topic of the Month: Assisting Returning Veterans - Rey said that he did not think MPJC should organize a program to help returning veterans or the families of folks in the military. Most of the programs that do this are Christian based, and MPJC is non-sectarian as an organization, although many members are people of faith. Lois agreed with him so they decided not to develop a vision for MPJC to carry out this work. Lois may talk to kids about getting involved and everyone was encouraged to do what they could to help veterans when the opportunities presented themselves. Wes and Kathy also agreed that a formal organized effort was not needed. Kathy took in a homeless vet a few years ago but it did not work out.

        c. Witness for Peace Speaker: Kern Road Mennonite church will sponsor this speaker, a Mexican social worker, Jacqueline Garcia Salamanca, who works on migration issues on the border between Mexico and the U.S., at 11am on Sunday, October 23. They will take care of the honorarium and press coverage. Jennifer asked if we would sponsor a CPT speaker from Colombia, but the only times she was available was on Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning, the 23rd. We did not want to set up a conflict for audiences for the two speakers and had already agreed to sponsor the WPF speaker.

        d. 9-11 events and press coverage: The Tribune published a good story about peace groups and quoted Peter and Lois. He had said he would contact others at the Monday vigil, but did not. We did not do anything special at our vigil on the tenth anniversary of 9-11.

        e. International Day of Prayer for Peace: This ceremony was held starting at 11:45 on Wednesday, September 21, in the lobby of the County-City building. The program included a short dramatic playlet directed by Marge Davis. The Sisters of the Holy Cross choir, which includes novices from a number of countries, performed several songs. Representatives from several Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha'i, Native American faiths offered prayers. The theme was "Hunger as Violence," and each speaker placed a fruit or vegetable on a table after their presentation. The event was well attended and well done, although it was hard to hear some of the speakers.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $40.13 with $30 in petty cash. We paid our dues to St Joe Valley Project.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We skipped over this as time was running out.

    2. St. Marcellus Day Events: The day will start with a walk from St. Joe church to Notre Dame Basilica starting at 4pm on Sunday, October 30. There will be a prayer service starting at 5pm at the Basilica. Jack Jezreel, JustFaith Ministries, will lead the service. The theme is "Preparing Our Children to be Saints, Prophets and Martyrs." There will be a cookout and shuttle service back to St. Joe church starting at 6pm.

    3. Topic of the Month: Ellyn suggested that everyone write a letter to the editor to ask our representatives to push for non-military jobs and we will collect those letters and put them on the web.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: The Catholic Worker is sponsoring a gathering at Our Lady of the Road on Friday, October 7. Mass at 7pm, potluck supper at 6pm, and talk by David Cortwright on Nuclear Disarmament at 8pm.

The CPT speaker (see above) will be at East Goshen Mennonite Church on Sunday evening, October 23.

We noted that the Wall St. protests are gaining ground. There will be a couple of events in South Bend in solidarity with these protesters: 12 noon on Saturday, October 8, at Michigan and Jefferson, and Monday, October 10, from 11am to 1pm at the Leighton Plaza on Main St. We decided to draw some new signs for the Monday vigil connecting it to the Wall St. protests. "Jobs not Bombs," and "Tax the Bankers" were proposed. Peter will make the signs, getting posterboard from Glenda Rae if needed. We want to make sure that we don't have another war to gain jobs. If we brought the troops home when we said we would, there are rumors that the returning veterans would push up the number of jobless. Serving in the military doesn't prepare one for getting a civilian job.

Donnelly was on TV for an hour this month. Kathy thought he made some good points. A.M. General has a contract to make handicapped vehicles, but if they don't get another military contract, they are threatening to lay off 350 workers.

Jennifer talked about her work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). Their goal is the diminishing of violence and they have a presence in places of high conflict where the U.S. is supporting violence. They see if these places want to invite them to partner with them. There are teams in Iraq, Colombia, Israel, Palestine, Canada, and the U.S.-Mexico border. They are not human shields but walk with folks as they go about their daily lives to try to reduce the violence. CPT volunteers can be full or part-time and bring back stories to get people in the U.S. active in lobbying to get the laws changed so we don't export violence. Jennifer is part-time. She has to spend two weeks or more each year for three years on a deployed team. She actually has spent about three months a year in Colombia where she works with COUCOPANA, a human rights organization which denounces political injustice and brings in humanitarian aid. The focus this year is land rights. They are trying to get Body Shop not to buy palm oil from Colombia. One can also go on a two-week delegation with CPT without any long term commitment.

    6. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 9 at 7pm at Pam and Ron's. .