Minutes for MPJC Meeting of December 14, 2011

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Carol, Pam, Lois (on speaker phone)

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for November 9: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: Writing letters to the editor- Lois wrote to the President; Ellyn wrote a Michiana Point of View which has not yet been published.; Glenda Rae and Carol have written to the senators and representatives. We all agreed that letters (with a 200 word limit) are much more likely to be published and read than Point of View articles.

        b. Martin L King Day tabling: We have secured an MPJC table for the day. Lois described how her idea of a table to welcome home returning veterans has morphed into a whole room with folks from the employment agency, housing agency, homeless center, mental health services, etc. there to help vets who stop by. We wrestled with the problem of keeping the room in the framework of MLK nonviolence to help convince vets who have been trained in violent responses and in keeping comrades alive to commit to nonviolence. Lois suggested posting relevant MLK quotes around the room and she has a number of these selected. There is a committee planning the events for the room and Lois is having difficulty bringing them around to her viewpoint. We thought that we could leave Cost of war brochures, Vets for Peace info, and counterrecruitment literature in the room. We noted that homeless vets get most of the attention and not those who have reintegrated back into their families.

We wondered if we could identify some recently returned vets who believed that the U.S. should not be in Iraq or Afghanistan and have them talk to high school students who are being heavily recruited. Lois told of a slogan she saw in D.C. "When the rich take from the poor, we call it business; when the poor take from the rich, we call it welfare!

        c. Nov 28th Obama Headquarters visit re pipeline: This never happened as the sponsoring organization canceled it. We noted that Obama is showing signs of approving the pipeline if it is rerouted away from the Oglala Aquifer. The oil is extracted from the Tar Sands area in Canada. It is more expensive to extract and is dirtier, thus more polluting when burned.  Republicans are exaggerating the number of jobs that will be created.

        d. Donnelly telephone town hall meeting: Ellyn and Rey signed up for this but Rey had another commitment and could not attend. There were about 70 people on the call from all over the district. Donnelly was in DC. Ellyn thought it worked very well as the callers asked succinct questions and Donnelly answered them succinctly, so things moved along well. It was much better than a face-to-face meeting at Martins as you don't have to wait in line to talk to him, no one is dominating his time, and no one is shooting at you (re the Giffords affair). Next time we will call Pam so she can participate.

Ellyn asked what he was doing to reduce the time we are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Donnelly just gave the party line in answer, but at least he knows we are still pushing that issue.

        e. MPJC relationship with the Occupy folks: Lois mentioned that even though they have dismantled their tents, they are still having town hall meetings at the Chocolate Cafe. See below for the upcoming meeting schedule. We decided to include literature on our MLK table explaining their positions on various issues. Lois said that the Occupy folks are us. We could invite some of their representatives to our meetings.

        f. Human Rights Rally (December 10): This was held at the South Bend Library from 11-1. There were some very good talks, especially the keynote by Tony Flora. There was poor attendance - needed more publicity. One highlight was a video on Human Rights featuring Washington High School students and produced by WETL (the radio station of the SBCSC).

        g. Fr. Roy Bourgeois talks: The Friday evening (Dec 9) movie was too long (1 hour) although the producers are working to get it down to 40m minutes. Fr Bourgeois did not have much time to talk. On Saturday morning, he gave a good talk starting with the beginning of SOA Watch and moving on to his work with women's ordination. Women in the church seem to be appreciated for their domestic abilities and the money they donate, not for any leadership role. For his stand, Fr Roy has been threatened with excommunication and dismissal from the Maryknoll order if he does not recant - which in conscience he says he cannot do.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $172.13 with $8 in petty cash.

New Business

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

    2. Little Taste of Peace: This will occur on Saturday, January 14, from 6:15-9:15 at the Mosque on Hepler. Each person is to bring dessert or finger food. The focus is on roundtable discussion of issues which can be later fleshed out in Study Circles. There are 16 sponsoring organizations who are responsible for publicizing the event to their own members. MPJC has not been a sponsoring organization but we decided to become one for next year. We will put the event on our website and remind people through the list serv.

    3. Topic of the Month: We discussed working with the Occupy folks and helping them spread their word. Perhaps post their positions on our website.

    4. Other Topics and Issues: Move-on has a potluck at the Mishawaka Steelworker's hall, starting at 6:30, Friday, December 16, to meet with the Occupy folks.

There will be an Occupy town hall meeting from 11-1 at IUSB Student Union, Rm 225.

The Interfaith Ministerial Alliance will hold its MLK prayer service on Sunday, Jan 15, at Century Center this year.

The Mennonites are hosting Dr Vincent Hardy, who worked with Dr. King, at the Natatorium, Jan 17, at 6:00pm.

    6. Next meeting: Wednesday, January 11 at 7pm. Place to be determined.