Minutes for MPJC meeting for November 8.

Present: Lois, Peter, Dustin, Zae, Ellyn

Old Business

  1. Approval of Minutes: The minutes for the October 4th meeting were approved.

  2. Progress Reports

    1. No Child Left Behind Issue - Let Me Decide High School Project: An Opt-Out Coffee House was held on October 28th, 8 - 11 PM at Chicory Café, Corner of Michigan and Jefferson, Downtown South Bend. It was well attended as folks listened to Rayniel Rufino: A teenage rap artist and peace activist from New York City and Joshua Casteel: Eight-year army veteran who spent a year as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, and recently was discharged as a conscientious objector. There will be a strategising meeting at the Catholic worker house, 1126 W. Washington St, from 12 - 1:15pm, on Wednesday, November 16th.

    2. MPJC Statement on Outsourcing: We put out Ed C.'s lead-in to this issue to the list serve last month with no response. Peter will send it out again to solicit comments and a volunteer to spearhead this issue. Ed C. has too much on his plate to handle this project at the present time.

    3. Candlelight vigils for 2,00th soldier killed in Iraq: There were two vigils in South Bend on Wednesday, October 26th from 6:30 - 7:30pm. The one at Morris Civic was very well attended with 75-80 participants. It received good press coverage from Channel 22 and the Tribune. The Grape Road vigil was smaller (about 20) and also received good coverage from Channel 22. It was the lead story on the evening news and was followed by an interview with a mother supporting the troops and then a mention of the rising number of Americans opposing the war. It looked like the mother was isolated, not the peace folks. We discussed why the publicity was more effective for these vigils than for the September 24th rally. Zae mentioned how hard she and Ed C. worked to get the word out. She emailed everyone on the tribune staff whose email address she could find.

    4. Local "Camp Casey:" Cathy and Wes L. had wanted to spearhead this project, but they are very busy. Lois suggested we mount a refrigerator box (she has two) on the back of her truck and mock up a roof with a slot for a Camp Casey sign. She could put large banners on each side of the truck and drive it to the Monday and Saturday vigils to start with, saying "Who is dying in vain," "Innocent People are Dying for What?," number of dead, etc. Cathy wanted to put the Camp Casey across the street from Perkins on 933 just north of Douglas. They had been angry when we held signs near the Perkins a few weeks ago. We decided not to further antagonize them. Lois will try to get the mobile Camp Casey ready by November 14th. She checked to see if we could set up the camp on a sidewalk downtown and found that we could as long as pedestrians were not impeded. We might consider placing it where it would get a lot of visibility before or after football games. (There are two more home games on the next two Saturdays.)

    5. CLAP project: Carol was not at the meeting, so we had no update on this project.

    6. "Peace Pot:" We decided to drop this idea. Neither of our vigil sites has walk-by traffic. We tried collecting at the Saturday Vigil but with no success.

    7. AIM anti-recruitment efforts: Rey was not here and had no information to offer.

  3. Treasurer’s Report: The treasurer was absent.

New Business

  1. Can we escalate our opposition to war?: Ed C. had suggested that we consider civil disobedience, but we recommended that Ed C. not do this, as it would hurt his election chances. Lois noted her near arrest when parking at Key Bank for a summer Saturday vigil. She also described an encounter after a Monday vigil with an very angry man who yelled that he was a christian and he had fought in Iraq. Lois tried to engage him in dialog, but he stormed off. We noted that there were fewer anti-war letters to the editor lately. Zae will suggest by email that folks should continue writing letters to the Tribune editor or VOP. The email address is vop@sbtinfo.com. Some topics are: Number of deaths, cost of war, poll numbers, fixing facts, etc. Dustin mentioned that the Rockford, IL paper regularly carries antiwar stories on the front page, including pictures of coffins. We often have to struggle to get the Tribune to publish a letter.

    When were discussing the above, Cliff K. from North Manchester called to see if South Bend could repeat Fort Wayne's successful Camp Casey demo. We decided to call and email Lee, Andre, Bonnie, Rey, and Mike B. to see if November 14th would be a good time for Cliff to come up for the vigil and have dinner and discuss this project. Cliff hoped to get 2050 folks to carry crosses but we told him the best we have recently turned out is 100 folks. He proposed holding the "Camp" from November 27th to December 10th. We would not get any student participation since early December marks the last week of class and the start of exams.

  2. Topic of the Month: Instead of a new topic, we decided to focus this month on writing letters to the editor.

  3. Other topics and issues:
    1. Holiday Alternative Gift Fair: 9-1, Saturday, December 3. (272-5234)

    2. Zae distributed copies of Branches. To get more of our issues into this paper, Ellyn recommended that we send Tom at Branches our letters to Congress and to the editor.

    3. Ellyn gave away tickets to the Planned Parenthood reception this Friday. She recommended Rey's choral group performance 3pm on November 27th. Tickets $10 adult, $8 seniors, $6 students. Call 287-7715 for more information.

  4. The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm. Next meeting will be Tuesday, December 6, at Peter and Ellyn's.

Peter Smith