Minutes for MPJC Meeting of October 21, 2019

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Lois, Wanda.

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for July 15: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports:

        a. Topic of the Month: None

        b. Book of the Month report: Wanda has read "The Far Away Brothers," by Lauren Markham. She corrected her report from the last meeting. See the minutes from 9/16/19.

       c. Immigration Coalition Report: The coalition has adopted a mission statement. Joe is still trying to pass off leadership to someone younger since he is now focused on their grandchildren in Kalamazoo. The coalition wants to get the Senate to act on the DACA legislation. If it does not pass it by the end of the session, Congress will have to start all over with it. Current DACA enrollees can extend their status, but no new persons can enroll in the program under the current legislation. There is a demonstration outside of Braun's office (Donnelly's old office) on November 7, 3-5pm on this issue. The coalition also discussed the Human Rights Day gathering set for December 10, 5-8pm. It will be held at the UAW hall on South Main St. again this year. This will be the 20th year of South Bend celebrating this day.

       d. Armistice Day: We will hold appropriate signs at our November 11 vigil. Ellyn will notify Indivisible and we should all try to get more people to attend that vigil.

       e. Climate Change rally: It was a hot day and it was hard to hear the speakers. We held Lois' banner and talked to some media. There were two marches before the rally, one from IUSB and one from Notre Dame, but these did not attract many students. The crowd was small in that it was scheduled on short notice for the middle of the day when folks had to work. There were gatherings like this all over the world.

       f. Faith in St. Joe County meeting: It was held on October 6 and drew over 500 attendees. The mayor and council head promised to dedicate money for violence reduction and create a process for police deescalation and accountability. The council has already passed the budget, but there will be a new mayor and very different council come the new year. Rey is maintaining a healthy skepticism insofar as 2019 has already shaped up as the worst year for shootings since GVI, which was supposed to reduce violence levels in the community, was started. How do Peacemaker Fellowships differ from GVI, what makes us think Peacemaker Fellowships will be any more successful in reducing violence? And can the two be integrated into a new approach that incorporates the best of both?

The Community Forum sponsored a bus trip to look at local properties owned by the city and being developed by companies which get a 10 year tax abatement and then close down and move somewhere else. These properties bring in no tax revenue. Some of the land being developed is prime farm land and should not be used for development. The county has to repair roads that are torn up by big semis. The companies do not pay anything for these repairs. In addition, the aquafer is under attack. The redevelopment commission controls the use and distribution of these lands. There needs to be an accountability process.

3. Treasurer's Report: $133.50 with $10 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 discussed the Costco cutting of old growth forests for paper and decided to each come up with 3 or 4 ideas of what we can do to conserve paper. Ellyn will collect the ideas and work them into a letter. Peter will attend the NWTRCC meeting Nov 2-4. This meeting will explore the connection between militarism and climate change.

    3. MLK Day table: We decided to have a table. Lois will share our table this year. Glenda Rae was authorized to pay for the table. The Little Taste of Peace will be held at Saint Mary's College, January 18, 2020. Peter and Ellyn will be in Nicaragua for both LTOP and MLK day.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: The main library will close on Nov 1. We talked about what could be done to provide homeless folks with a place to gather during the day, especially in the cold weather. We wondered if Mario Sims church on South St. would be a possibility. There needs to be more low cost housing. Now, the rents are too high for the homeless to afford.

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a series on racism. Brown vs Board of Education was supposed to end racial division in schools but now they are more divided than ever. Charter schools do not have to accept minorities and can rent closed schools for $1 a year. SBCSC will have to close more schools next year.

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    6. Next meeting: Monday, November 18, at 2:30pm at Lois' facility. We will send the directions in the meeting announcement.