Minutes for MPJC Meeting of December 16, 2009


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

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for November 10: The minutes were approved with some typos corrected, including changing the word "Kyoto" to "Copenhagen" in the Jobs with Justice dinner description.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Topic of the Month: Afghanistan. Peter had emailed the final draft of the statement on Withdrawal from Afghanistan and it was adopted by consensus. He will put it on the web. There was a brief discussion of Obama's Oslo speech and we strongly objected to his characterization of the Afghanistan war as "moral." It seems that our system of government corrupts practically everyone who serves. We named Maxine Waters, Barbara Boxer, and Russ Feingold as exceptions.

        b. Topic of the Month: War Tax Resistance: Peter did not get a chance to draft this statement but promised to do so very soon, Folks thought he should encourage folks to think about resisting a token amount in this year's taxes, support war tax resisters who are members of MPJC, and mention that no one has gone to jail for wtr in a long while.

        c. Health Care Initiative/coordinating with OFA: There have been three rally/panels that MPJC has participated in since the last meeting. On International Human Rights Day, there was a panel cosponsored by MPJC at the Steel Workers Hall in Mishawaka. The main theme was Health Care as a human right. The speakers were the Human Rights Commission director, two doctors who work at sliding scale clinics in South Bend and Mishawaka, two students who gave a powerpoint history of health care reform assisted by their teacher, and the director of the new Civil Rights Center on West Washington. Jackie Smith from Notre Dame was the moderator. There was a good turnout and the audience asked some good questions pointing out the difficulty they have in getting and retaining health insurance. There were also two Move-on rallies in front of Senator Bayh's office at which Ellyn spoke. At the second rally a group went in and asked Bayh's representative to ask him not to block the Senate health care reform bill and to vote for the public option if it comes to the floor.

We received a request from the local Organizing for America (OFA) group to more formally ally our two organizations. Because OFA is closely connected to the Democratic party and MPJC has a policy of not endorsing candidates of any political party, we decided not to have any formal alliance with OFA. We will participate in their events if they are in keeping with our principles, as we have done when they organized health care reform events.

        d. MLK Day 2010 Plans: Lois reported that the two tables she is supporting (MPJC and Scholarships) will be side by side. She will welcome assistance setting up and staffing the table on the day itself. She will take the MPJC banner, the bean poll poster, the new Cost of War brochures, and some counterrecruitment literature when she leaves. She informed us that the evening program has free admission but everyone must have a ticket. There are 801 tickets, so we should get them soon.

        e. Kathy Kelly talk: This talk was very well attended and Kathy gave a very moving talk rooted in her experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the SOA demonstration. She urged us to take part in the Peaceable Assembly campaign (See below).

        f. Library photo contest: Lois submitted two photos for the contest which will be held in January on the second floor of the library. She submitted a photo of our signs drying out on Peter and Ellyn's front porch, titled "Signs of the Times," and also one of us standing on the corner at one of our Monday vigils, titled "And the Beat Goes On." Thanks to Lois for making this possible and to our new vigillers from New Carlisle for supplying the second picture.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $117.95 with $1.76 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? No one expressed an interest in the Saturday vigils, so they have been discontinued until further notice.

    2. Peaceable Assembly Campaign: Kathy Kelly was on her way to DC to prepare for this campaign outside the White House to demand alternatives to U.S. militarism from Jan 19 - February 2. (See www.peaceableassemblycampaign.org). She asked local groups who cannot go to DC to establish a daily presence at our representative or Senator's office and/or the federal building during these 11 days. We decided to ask folks to sign up to visit Donnelly's and Bayh's offices so that there will be a visit from a pair of peace folks each day. Peter will prepare a sign-up calendar and send it to Lois to use at the MLK day table. We hope we can get new people to visit so it is not the same old people every day. Perhaps Katie at IUSB and Rebecca at ND can get some signups. Also we should ask Aimee at the Catholic Worker for folks who signed up to help at Kathy Kelly's talk.

    3. Topic of the Month: We will continue investigating MPJC response to war tax resistance.

    6. Other Topics and Issues: The Michiana Male Chorus will have a concert at 7pm on December 19 at the Everest Rohr Auditorium at Bethel College. The tickets are $12 for seniors. Rey has tickets.

WNIT has asked us to contribute $100 to have our name on a hand painted on the wall outside their new studio. We thought it was a good idea to have our website name on the hand, but $100 would wipe out our treasury. We decided that we would ask folks to contribute to the Peace Ed Fund (tax deductible) and if we got enough in donations to cover the cost we would go ahead and donate the $100. Donations can be sent the Peace Education Fund of Indiana, Inc c/o Glenda Rae Hernandez, 702 East South St., South Bend, 46601.

Lois was not able to get an audience with Michelle Obama. She enjoyed her lobbying experience anyway.

Glenda Rae announced that the Little Taste of Peace will be held on Saturday, January 16th, 6:30-9:00pm, at New Horizon's Outreach Ministry, 56165 Mayflower Road, South Bend, 46619 (1/3 mile north of Western). All are welcome to attend. Please bring a dessert or other finger food to share and participate in a conversation on current problems and solutions that can help to build Dr. King's dream. Please RSVP to Pam Blair 574-284-4061 or pblair@saintmarys.edu.

    7. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 7 pm at Peter and Ellyn's.