The Minutes of the Peace & Justice Committee are available to the public after one year, as a witness to our concerns and work in the world. What follows are the Minutes that were recorded at least one year ago and are currently available online. For more information please contact us.
Peace and Justice Committee, June 26, 2011
In Attendance: Helen Dickinson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Amanda Sneed.
The meeting began with Silence.
Because of the annual changes to committees, it was agreed that Kelly will now send a copy of the minutes to Judy (who puts them on the webpage), Amanda, Wil, Helen and Sarah S (the new co-clerks of the Meeting).
Kelly gave a brief Informational Update--she is still working on her Islamic Terms for the Newsletter.
1. The Three R’s Project: Reading Reduces Recidivism
Kelly gave an update of the 3R’s project. There was a recent book drive to Dwight. IYC needs tutors, counselors, and sports instructors. Contact Kelly for volunteer forms.
2. Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture
Kelly will present the action item below to the next Business Meeting she attends (either August or September).
P and J action item for Business Meeting
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) has started a new campaign, called “Preventing Torture Everywhere,” to urge President Obama to sign a new treaty to help end torture. The treaty, called the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), requires participating nations to create mechanisms to prevent torture from occurring in detention centers, police stations, mental health hospitals, and prisons. It also permits international experts to inspect those facilities.
P and J decided we will recommend to Business Meeting that we endorse the below statement by NRCAT (available as a downloadable file here:
Kelly will bring some hard copies to the Business Meeting.
Join the Treaty: The U.S. Should Act to Prevent Torture Everywhere
Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are contrary to our common religious belief in the fundamental dignity of each human being. We call upon the U.S. government, once a leader in the effort to end the use of torture, to reclaim that role by signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).
One of the most important steps a nation can take to end torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is to provide independent oversight of the conditions in which people are detained. By creating mechanisms that can prevent torture, including international inspection teams, OPCAT builds upon the prohibition against torture contained in the Convention Against Torture, a treaty to which the U.S. is already a party and which is U.S. law. OPCAT requires each nation that ratifies the treaty to develop its own independent mechanism for monitoring detention facilities, including prisons and police stations.
We believe that if the U.S. joins OPCAT and provides robust oversight of its places of detention, it will be significantly more difficult for cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment to occur within the U.S. Ratifying OPCAT would also enhance our government’s effectiveness in urging other countries to end their use of torture.
As people of many faiths and creeds, we oppose torture. We call upon our government to do everything it can to prevent torture everywhere. We call upon the President to sign OPCAT, and we call upon the U.S. Senate to ratify it.
3. NRCAT May 10 indefinite detention Letter
Kelly will draft a letter about the dangers of indefinite detention with the goal of publication in Oak Park Leaves. When she finishes the draft she will send it to Amanda for critique and they will present the 2nd draft to a future P and J comte meeting for consideration and approval.
4. Educational Presentations
a. At a previous meeting we discussed the possibility of showing the movie The Freedom Riders at a Movie Night. Wil was going to record it, because he is out of town we decided to hold over any decisions about the movie.
b. Traditionally P and J is allowed to schedule a program after Meeting for Worship on 5th Sundays. Wil is out of town on a trip to Palestine and Israel organized by Neighbors East to West. We agreed to ask him to give a presentation about his trip after Meeting on July 31st.
c. Amanda suggested we invite Renny Golden, the author of War on the Family: Mothers in Prison and the Families They Leave Behind, a local social justice peace activist to speak to us at a future 5th Sunday (October 30, 2011; January 29, 2012; April 29, 2012).
We agreed this was a good idea, and dovetails nicely with our 3R’s work and with the recent presentation on the new Jim Crow at the last MGCM. Kelly will bring this suggestion to the next Meeting for Business for approval. If approved, Amanda will contact her.
5. Meet with AFSC General Secretary
Shan Cretin the new AFSC General Secretary is coming on Wednesday June 29th at 7 pm to meet with us and give a presentation on AFSC ‘c current priorities. Kelly will bring a carton of limeade, fig newmans and baked veggie chips. She will also arrange for a projector and screen for a power point presentation.
6. Chicago Fair Trade
At our March meeting we agreed to track down the paperwork we submitted to be a Fair Trade Congregation. We joined the Campaign for 100 Fair Trade Congregations organized by the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN). Chicago Fair Trade is a different organization from what we pledged, but because they have the same goals we agreed in April to submit paperwork to them, and Kelly did so. However, Kelly has subsequently been notified that we can only join CFT if we pay them 100 dollars annually. They have contacted her several times in the past two months requesting our money.
This was discussed briefly over email last month by Kelly, Wil and Judy, and we discussed it further today. The issues we have to decide are, given that CFT requires an annual monetary commitment, wants us to work for them to help them achieve their goal of getting Chicago and surrounding suburbs to declare themselves fair trade communities, and seems to be saying we can’t call ourselves a fair trade congregation without their approval (?!) do we really want to be a member of their group? If so, do we need to bring this application to the Meeting for Business for approval? If approved, where in our budget should the money come from (charitable contributions, P and J budget, individual earmarked donations).
We decided that since joining CFT would commit OPFM to an annual monetary commitment we had to take the issue to Business Meeting.
There was no meeting in May 2011.
Peace & Justice Committee, April 24, 2011
In Attendance: Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Wil Rutt, Bob Southworth
0. We read through the informational updates on the agenda.
1. The Three R’s Project: Reading Reduces Recidivism. Since our last committee meeting, Judy contacted the coordinator at OPRF 3rd Unitarian Church, and attended an April 16th meeting. We read Judy’s report of that meeting (see attached) and decided the following. 1) We will put the body of Judy’s report in our upcoming newsletter so our meeting as a whole understand the aims and scope of the project, and put the clear set of suggested donations on the webpage. 2) It’s too late for us to get mobilized for the May 4th book drive, but we will suggest Friends bring books to donate on Sunday May 8th and May 15th which we can store until the next book drive. 3) Kelly has a copy of 3 cups of tea she will donate.
2. Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. NRCAT is starting a campaign, called “Preventing Torture Everywhere,” to urge President Obama to sign a new treaty to help end torture. The treaty, called the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), requires participating nations to create mechanisms to prevent torture from occurring in detention centers, police stations, mental health hospitals, and prisons. It also permits international experts to inspect those facilities. 57 nations have ratified OPCAT and 22 additional nations have signed it. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not among them.
Of the three requests from NRCAT we decided we will recommend to Business Meeting that we endorse the statement by NRCAT. Kelly will send this statement to Wil to put in the next Bus Mtg Agenda.
3. The Freedom Riders. Very soon American Experience will air a film called The Freedom Riders. This is a historical documentary about people in the civil rights movement. We will encourage Friends to watch it, and Wil will record it and organize a movie night sometime in the future. Wil will send the date and time of the t.v. showing to Bob.
4. Join Sen. Kirk’s listserve. As part of our BeFriend Sen. Kirk campaign, we will encourage Friends to join Sen. Kirk’s listserve. On it he regularly sends out email 'polls' to ask for voters' opinions about matters of urgent concern, and we can use this as a way to show him there is strong support in Illinois for peace, for reducing military expenditures, and for protecting the most vulnerable people in our state.
To sign up to receive email updates from Senator Kirk go to this link. In the far upper right corner of the page, above the photo of Kirk, there is a heading, "Get email updates" where you can enter your email address and zip code. Kelly will send this info to Bob to put in the newsletter.
5. 5th Sunday of May, May 29th. Kelly will be out of town the next 4th Sunday so we decided to have our May Pece and Justice Committee Meeting on the 5th Sunday instead.
6. Meet with AFSC General Secretary? AFSC recently hired a new General Secretary for the Americas. She will be coming to town this summer in conjunction with the AFSC Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan exhibit, and is interested in meeting local friends. Wil will invite her to a potluck dinner at his house the evening of Tuesday June 28th .
7. FCNL Letter Writing. Wil will bring the monthly letter writing material next week.
1 Palestinian Refugees and the "Arab Spring." On Sunday, May 15, 2011, 7:00-8:30pm at First United Church, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park , Karen AbuZayd, former Commissioner-General with the United Nations Relief Works Agency, will discuss how the recent uprisings in the Arab World are likely to affect the prospects for Palestinian refugees. Beginning in 1981, AbuZayd has worked with refugees from Ethiopia to South Africa and Bosnia. In 2000, she began work with Palestinian refugees, and in 2005 became Commissioner-General of UNRWA until her retirement. UNRWA and its 29,000 employees provide aid to the 4.7 million Palestinian refugees now living in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. This public event in Oak Park is timed to coincide with the 63rd anniversary of the adoption of the UN-designed partition of Israel/Palestine in 1948, the event that triggered the displacement and exile of the millions who now make up the Palestinian diaspora community.
2 An inspirational new film, The Economics of Happiness, will be shown at Triton College on April 28 at 7 p.m. in the Robert Collins Center. There is no charge to attend. Below is a short synopsis.
"The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions: while government and Big Business push for a globalized economy based on high technology and increased trade, people all over the world are working from the grassroots to nurture smaller scale, ecological, local economies. "We hear from a chorus of voices from six continents including Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of Tibet's government in exile, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten and Zac Goldsmith. The Economics of Happiness restores our faith in humanity, and challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world."
Here is the website with a trailer.
3. A Call To the Community of Conscience: Goldstone, Gaza and Accountability for Operation Cast Lead, Featuring Adam Horowitz & Ali Abunimah, on Tuesday, April 26, 6:30pm - 9:00pm at the University of Chicago, Kent 107, 1020 E. 58th St. With Judge Richard Goldstone’s recent public statements making waves internationally, discussion of the Goldstone Report is more timely than ever. Editor Adam Horowitz and contributor Ali Abunimah will discuss their new book, The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.
Peace & Justice Committee, March 27, 2011
In Attendance: Helen Dickinson, Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Wil Rutt.
1. Request from ILYM to donate books to Prisoners
We discussed The Three R’s Project: Reading Reduces Recidivism, a books-to-prisoners project (www.3rsproject.org) established about 6 months ago. Third Unitarian Church (Chicago) adopted Dwight Correctional Center which means they collect books from donors and make a delivery every month. The question was do we want to participate in this?
We decided that Judy E will contact someone she knows at Third Unitarian Church and find out when and where they want deliveries and what kinds of books they are looking for. We also decided we will organize a three-week book drive within our Meeting for May. Kelly M volunteered to deliver the donated books to the Unitarian location.
2. Lobbying Senator Kirk
The representatives from ILYM to FCNL (Wil, Kevin, Brad, and Tom) and the clerks of local Peace and Justice committees (Oak Park Friends Meeting and Chicago Friends Meeting) will meet on Tuesday March 28th with an aide of Senator Kirk. We will talk to him about our ideas for cutting the budget by cutting defense spending and encourage him to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear test ban treaty.
This is part of a larger FCNL encouraged strategy to beFriend Sen. Kirk. We approved Wil’s idea to spice up the FCNL table at this year’s IYM and focus on this 5-year plan.
Will will ask Adrian F to write a letter Sen. Kirk thanking him for his NO vote on Inhofe a bill which would prevent the EPA from doing its job.
3. Do we want to work towards making Oak Park a Fair trade community?
Nancy Jones of Chicago Fair Trade and Oak Park’s 10,000 Villages are forming a steering cmte to work on getting Oak Park to be a Fair Trade Community. How much do we want to be involved in this project? [KLM Note: In response to my enquiry as to whether becoming a Fair Trade Community would cost Oak Park money, Nancy Jones referred me to this webpage. She also wrote “the majority of the work is related to increasing awareness of fair trade.”
Wil is already part of this because of his being on the 10,000 Villages Board, and is willing to be a rep from OPFM. Kelly agreed to attend the first organizational meeting at which she hopes to learn more and see what else she feels led to do on this project. One of them will bring the information back to either the next Business Meeting or P and J comte for approval.
Also according to Nancy Jones we are not an official Fair Trade Congregation because we did not submit the paper work to her organization, but only to the Community of Congregations. Kelly agreed to contact Donna Cech about getting the paperwork we filled in sent to Nancy Jones.
Kelly will send Judy a pdf of all the fair trade resources she made, for Judy to post on our website.
4. FCNL Letter Writing
As part of our beFriend Senator Kirk campaign, Wil suggested he prepare a number of preprinted envelopes, stationary, and talking points for Friends to write Sen. Kirk after rise of Worship next week. In particular we will encourage him NOT to cut spending on the Peace Corps, reconciliation and other peacemaking projects that Republicans leaders want to cut.
5. Do we want to organize and have a booth at A Day in the Village on June 5th?
Wil announced that Jim Holmes has volunteered to organize a booth on behalf of OPFM. Will has spoken to him and offered to help. We will put out flyers with our Fair Trade Resources, Recycling Resources, business cards, etc. Wil will ask Amanda to represent our children’s education program.
We agreed that 10,000 Villages can share our booth.
6. AGLI Announcements
Dawn Ruppert sent us the below information about this summer’s workcamps. We will advertise it on our webpage.
David Zarembka of St Louis Meeting very recently has had a book published titled A Peace of Africa: Reflections on Life in the Great lakes Region. Hard copies of the book can be purchased for $25 at Madera Press (65 Appleseed lane, #2, Gaithersburg, MD 20878). Or, via his website. Also, as an ebook at www.amazon.com.
Peace & Justice Committee, February 27, 2011
After approving support for the 3/19 Peace March, the Committee Meeting was canceled.
Peace and Justice Committee, January 23, 2011
In Attendance: Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Wil Rutt, Amanda Sneed.
1. Letter of Support of Muslims
As approved by Meeting for Business in November 2010, Kelly M sent the letter below to the listed area papers in December. As directed by the same Business Meeting, she also sent the letter to the clerk of MGCM, Martha Turner. The letter was discussed at a recent MGCM continuing cmte. meeting. They are rewriting it to make it more timely and will bring the new letter to the Feb 5th MGCM meeting for business.
As fears about Islam grow within the United States, we of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) would like to voice our support for Muslims within our community and nation.
We must work together to stem the rising tide of fear and the threat of persecution and violence. We call for an end to political posturing and misstatements that poison dialogue, stigmatize individuals, inflame the worst in human nature, create divisions in our society and promote a view of America that is anti-Islam.
People of all faiths share histories of intolerance and persecution. In the1600’s, Quakers were feared and the practice of our faith was against the law. We recall these shared struggles for acceptance when religious freedom is threatened. Our faith and experience teach us that the Divine resides in us all. We bring a commitment to peace and the use of nonviolent means to resolve conflicts.
Freedom of religious expression is one of the cornerstones of American democracy. We all have opportunities every day to make this ideal a reality in our local communities.
Oak Park Friends Meeting
Wil Rutt, Clerk
Editor: Bob Uphues, firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Editor: email@example.com
Forest Park Review
Managing Editor: Katie Drews, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest
Publisher: Dan Haley, email@example.com
Viewpoints/Opinion editor: Marty Stempniak, HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Managing Editor: HYPERLINK "http://firstname.lastname@example.org" \t "_blank" Andrew Poloni, email@example.com
Managing Editor: Jennifer Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Peace Exercises
Helen, Pam and Judy met on Wed. Dec. 8 to discuss the Peace Exercises item that was deferred from the November Peace & Justice Committee meeting. They decided to make Peace exercises the focus of the January Adult RE meeting (on Jan. 2). Please continue to send Judy additional peace exercises and suggestions for the program. Many thanks to all of you for your support!
3. Abolition of the Death Penalty
SB 3539, the bill to repeal Illinois' death penalty, passed the Illinois house 60-54 in December 2010 and the Illinois Senate 32-25 in January 2011. Gov. Quinn has 60 days from January 11th (March 12th, 2011) to sign off.
4. New Start Ratified by U.S. Senate, Sen. Durbin a YES, Sen. Kirk a NO vote
5. AFSC Exhibit
In November, we agreed we were interested in supporting an AFSC-organized travelling exhibit called: Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan. Wil R. will contact AFSC Chicago and get more information as to what kind of sponsoring they want or need.
Wil announced that 10,000 Villages is having an AFSC dedicated event on Thursday Feb 10th from 5-8 pm (coordinated by Valerie Lester). 15% of profits during that time will be donated to the AFSC.
6. OPCTJ film series
The Dark Side of Chocolate film will be shown at 2 pm on Sunday Feb. 27th at the Oak Park Library (co-sponsoring with OPCTJ -- Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice). Wil has arranged for the head of Chicago Fair Trade to talk after the film. Kelly is working on updating her fair trade resources (for coffee, tea, chocolate) brochures for distribution at the event. Amanda thinks we should push to have Oak Park declare itself a fair trade village.
7. Guantanamo Bay statement
Kelly has been working on an evolving item for the past several months. One reason her statement is constantly evolving is the situation is constantly changing. She distributed a draft and would like critique. She will continue to revise it.
8. Islam terms for Newsletter. Kelly is still working on these.
9. Request from ILYM to donate books to Prisoners. We will hold this over until our February meeting.
10. Recommendations for charitable contributions
At the January Meeting for Business it was decided OPFM would pay the following amounts towards the streamlined list P and J submitted in the fall. In addition, P and J was asked to submit more recommendations up to $1,500.
Streamlined list we made in Aug 2010
AFSC, national $50
AFSC, Chicago $100
OPRF walk-in Ministry $50
PADS $50 (106)
OPRF Food pantry $50
Plus Holiday Food & Gift Basket $100
Total donations now paid $656
Total new recommendations (without) $1275
Plus ICADP, Rosenberg $125
TOTAL for year $2056
Friends Peace Teams 100
Christian Peace Makers 75
Quaker House 50
St Louis Mtg/Lakota 100
Quaker Earthcare Witness 75
Fr World Comm for Consult 75
Af Gr Lks Initiative 100
IL Coalition Abolish Death Penalty (75, contingent on Gov. Quinn not signing repeal)
Openlands Urban Green Programs 50
OPRF Walk in Ministry 100
West Suburban PADS 50
OP Food Pantry 50
Sarah's Inn 75
Friends Journal 100
Rosenberg Fund for Children (50, recommend this be donated from Sufferings)
Kelly will write a blurb about Friends peace teams for the Newsletter.
Amanda will write a blurb on a remaining organization, and send it to Bob.
11. ILYM asked Monthly Meetings to consider the following queries.
P and J was asked to decide what we should do with them. We decided that Kelly will send these queries to Bob S. and ask him to put them in the next newsletter. Kelly will read these queries at the Feb. 27th Meeting for Worship.
-- What efforts does your monthly meeting make to identify and help with needs in your community? Does your meeting work with other religious or community groups on any service projects or ongoing concerns, such as a food bank or after school program?
-- What efforts has your monthly meeting made to identify members or attenders who are led by the Spirit to engage in service projects, whether among Quakers or otherwise? To what extent does your Meeting nurture and support members and attenders who feel led to engage in such service projects?
-- How can your monthly Meeting make voluntary service and support of such service central to your Meeting’s culture?
-- How can, and to what extent should, Meetings engage collectively in voluntary service?
-- How can Illinois Yearly Meeting make voluntary service and support of such service central to ILYM culture?
-- What should be the role of Illinois Yearly Meeting in nurturing and supporting Spirit-led volunteerism or other expressions of faith?
-- What role should ILYM play in facilitating Friends' endeavors that further traditional Friends values, such as Peace & Social Justice?
Peace & Justice Committee, 1/9/2011: No Report
Peace and Justice Committee, November 28, 2010
In Attendance: Helen Dickinson, Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Wil Rutt, Pam Timme.
Note: Due to plumbing issues at the OPAL we met at a nearby noodle shop.
1. We all agreed we were interested in supporting an AFSC organized travelling exhibit called: Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan. Wil will contact AFSC Chicago and get more information as to what kind of sponsoring they want or need, and we will make a final decision in December.
2. We went through the revisions suggested by Meeting for Business for our letter of support. The final text follows:
"As fears about Islam grow within the United States, we of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) would like to voice our support for Muslims within our community and nation. We must work together to stem the rising tide of fear and the threat of persecution and violence. We call for an end to political posturing and misstatements that poison dialogue, stigmatize individuals, inflame the worst in human nature, create divisions in our society and promote a view of America that is anti-Islam.
"People of all faiths share histories of intolerance and persecution. In the1600’s, Quakers were feared and the practice of our faith was against the law. We recall these shared struggles for acceptance when religious freedom is threatened. Our faith and experience teach us that the Divine resides in us all. We bring a commitment to peace and the use of nonviolent means to resolve conflicts.
"Freedom of religious expression is one of the cornerstones of American democracy. We all have opportunities every day to make this ideal a reality in our local communities.
"Oak Park Friends Meeting
"Wil Rutt, Clerk"
Kelly M will send this letter to local area papers including Forest Park (Forest Leaves), Oak Park (Oak Leaves, Journal), Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Maywood.
Kelly will also send it to the clerk of MGCM, Martha Turner. And, tell her we would like to send this to the Chicago Tribune as an MGCM letter so it has wider impact.
3. Only two people have submitted a Peace Exercise to Helen. We agreed we need a special meeting devoted entirely to this topic. Thus, we set up a meeting for Tuesday Dec 7 at 7:30 pm at Judy E’s house. Kelly, Helen, Judy and Pam agreed to attend, but all OPFM members/attenders are welcome. Kelly will send the announcement to Wil in case there are other Friends who wish to join us.
4. Kelly is still working on her Guantanamo Bay statement. Rough draft of the facts finished, our (Friends) statement not.
5. Kelly is still writing a long summary of Islam terms for Newsletter.
6. FCNL Letter writing this month is to Senator Mark Kirk. We are to ask him to support ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The ratification of any international treaty requires a two-thirds majority in the US Senate which means 67 senators should agree before a treaty can become law. Sen.-elect Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will be sworn in Monday November 29. Signed in April this year by President’s Obama and Medvedev, the new START envisages a 1/3 reduction of actively deployed nuclear warheads. President Obama has cited the START pact as critical to reviving relations with Russia.
7. New Business: Next month we will discuss a request from ILYM to donate books to Prisoners.
Peace and Justice Committee, October 24, 2010
In Attendance: Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Wil Rutt, Amanda Sneed.
1. Kelly M. gave an update on the Guantanamo Bay statement. She has a rough draft of the facts finished, but is blocked about the (Friends) statement. Kelly will send Judy E. a copy of the rough draft. Wil R. suggested Kelly contact Kent Busse of 57th St. about the Friends statement section.
2. Last month we each agreed to submit a peace exercise to Helen D. who will archive them. We agreed will try out the exercises during the next P and J cmte meeting, and Wil will try one at a Business Meeting. Since Helen wasn’t here we didn’t have the exercises so we had to table the plan. Kelly agreed to contact Helen and get the list of exercises in case Helen is unable to attend the next P and J cmte meeting. Friends are encouraged to continue to find and submit exercises to Helen.
3. Several Friends have encouraged us to join PlanItGreen: The Environmental Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest. After reviewing the request we agreed to three actions. 1) Kelly will sign OPFM as an organization, 2) We will send out an email encouraging individuals in Meeting to take the survey, and 3) Judy will attend the Nov 4th Meeting.
4a. Kelly ordered and received the Fair Trade documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate. She gave the DVD to Judy to give to the OPTJC. We will request they show it in mid January in time for Valentine’s day.
4b. Wil ordered Fair Trade chocolate kits from Global Exchange, and 5 people in meeting purchased sets of 50 from him. The rest of the chocolate is being used on Halloween when OPFM will have a table outside to give treats to kids, and the remaining cost is being picked up by Religious Ed.
5. Educating ourselves about Islam. Kelly reported that she wrote a long summary of terms, and is still working on it. She hopes to have it ready by the next meeting.
6a. We examined the letter Pittsburgh Meeting sent to the Pittsburgh Gazette and decided we wanted to send a similar letter. We will submit the following letter to the next Meeting for Business for approval:
As fears about Islam grow within the United States, we of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) would like to voice our support for Muslims within our community and nation. We must work together to stem the rising tide of fear and the threat of persecution and violence. We call for an end to political posturing and purposeful misstatements that poison dialogue, stigmatize individuals, inflame the worst in human nature, create divisions in our society and promote a view of America that is anti-Islam. People of all faiths share histories of intolerance and persecution. In the early decades of our existence, Quakers were feared and the practice of our faith was against the law. We recall these shared struggles for acceptance when religious freedom is threatened. Our faith and experience teach us to reach out to those characterized by finding and connecting to the Divine which resides in us all. We bring a commitment to peace and the use of nonviolent means to resolve conflicts. Freedom of religious expression is one of the cornerstones of American democracy. We all have opportunities every day to make this ideal a reality in our local communities. Oak Park Friends Meeting
If this action is approved by the Business Meeting we will send the letter to the Oak Park Journal.
6.b We also decided it would be a stronger statement if we can get more Quakers to sign it so we will ask for Meeting’s approval to send it to the other Chicago area Friends Meetings (57th Street, Northside, Evanston, Lake Forest, Downer’s Grove), and telling them we are putting it on the agenda for the January MGCM Business Meeting. If approved we will submit it to the Chicago Tribune and Sun-times.
7. Letter writing this month was to Hershey. We are encouraged to call Hershey at 1-800-468-1714, and tell them we want the option to buy a fair trade Hershey bar.
Peace and Justice Committee, Sept 26, 2010
In Attendance: Helen Dickinson, Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Wil Rutt, Amanda Sneed
0. We opened with Silent Worship.
1. Kelly updated us on hers and Helen’s Guantanamo Bay statement. It isn’t ready. They hope to have it for the next committee meeting. A possible resource is FCNL.
2. We defined more clearly our idea [re the peace exercises plan]. We want to train/retrain ourselves in acting peace. A good way to do this is to incorporate short exercises in our other activities. In order to facilitate this we will create an archive of such exercises. The archive will explain the exercise including mentioning its objective, and approximate time (for example, human knot exercise, Leadership/Followship skills, approx 5-10 minutes). To jumpstart the process we agreed that each person attending this P and J meeting will bring at least one exercise to the next meeting and/or send it to the archivist. Helen D. agreed to be the Peace Exercise Archivist. Wil R. will do one in one of the next two Meetings for Business and after doing it explain our idea and ask Friends if they will agree to having one of these exercises added to each Meeting for Business.
3. Adrian has updated Kelly M on 350.org’s request for action on 10/10/10. Adrian has been talking to people and basically the idea is not gaining momentum, except a group of people at the Oak Park River Forest High School are doing a gardening work day in conjunction with the 350.org idea.
3b. We briefly discussed the minutes from the Green Community Connections. We decided that OP Board of Trustees is looking into Green Alternatives already and that we would not send the vague letter suggested by GCC.
4. Judy contacted OPCTJ about adding The Dark Side of Chocolate to their film series. They were interested but wanted to watch it themselves first. So we need to get a copy of it. Kelly will forward Judy the email she has that tells how to procure a copy. Wil is waiting of more details until he contact 10,000 Villages about co-sponsorship.
4b. Kelly brought the information she had from Global Exchange on reverse trick or treating. They have inexpensive/free plus shipping kits with fair trade chocolate pieces and cards explaining the benefits of fair trade products. We decided that Peace and Justice will order some kits, and Wil volunteered to do this and cover any costs associated with this order. We bought the kits so we can distribute the candy at the film screening and at an event Pam and Sue are organizing. We also agreed to encourage individuals in Meeting that they can get small kits for themselves to distribute on Halloween. Wil will contact Pam and Sue about this. Kelly will send Judy the info email she has. To request a kit or get more information: www.reversetrickortreating.org
5. We discussed the agenda item, given all the negative feelings towards Muslims esp around the proposed Islamic center near the WTC site, do we want to do some outreach to Muslims in our area? We decided to refer this item to Religious Ed. However, based on her year and a half experience in Turkey , Kelly will write a short explanation of Mosques/Islamic Community Centers for the upcoming OPFM Newsletter.
6. We briefly announced that FCNL wants letters encouraging the Senate to vote in support of START.
7. Announcement: OPCTJ is having a dinner and music performance event on Saturday October 23rd at 6 pm at the Unity Temple ( 875 W. Lake Street ). This is a fundraiser and they are asking admission of $20 ($10 students/low income). Proceeds fund Library Film Series, Tuesday Morning Peace vigil, etc.
0. As our time at the Art League was ending, we closed with a brief silence.
Peace and Justice Committee, Aug 22, 2010
In Attendance: Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Valerie Lester, Wil Rutt
0. We opened with Silent Worship.
1. Kelly updated us on hers and Helen’s Guantanamo Bay statement. It isn’t ready. They hope to have it for the next committee meeting. A possible resource is FCNL.
2. Kelly and Judy updated us on the peace exercises plan. They have both been reading books. It was decided Kelly will send an email out to arrange a special meeting for this issue. It was suggested that if appropriate, one avenue is to request permission at a business meeting to read relevant queries aloud during Worship.
3. Adrian has updated Kelly on 350.org’s request for action on 10/10/10. Adrian has not gotten a response from her contact at OP Public Works, but she received a favorable response from Green Community Connections: a forum for sustainability advocates. They will discuss her idea at their next meeting.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Hassler Hall at Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church
405 South Euclid Ave, Oak Park
4. We discussed whether we wanted to arrange a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate a new documentary about the cocoa slave trade and why its important to urge people to buy Fair trade chocolate. We agreed we wanted to do this, and thought making it more public than our small group was a good idea. Judy will contact OPCTJ to see if they will add it to their library film schedule. Meanwhile Wil will contact the outreach person at 10,000 Villages to see if she would be willing to discuss the film at the series. Kelly will work on putting together a fair trade chocolate local resources guide to be distributed at the event. If the OPCTJ doesn’t want to sponsor the film, we will arrange a pubic screening of our own at the Oak Park library.
5. Val, as a representative of the finance cmte., summarized the Meeting’s budget situation and their recommendation for us regarding Peace and Justice’s traditional task of making recommendations on charitable contributions for the year. Essentially after staying level for at least three years, our Meeting’s income dropped by about 25%, and it is likely to stay at that low level again next year. Thus to cover our expense this year, we had to use funds from our reserve. In addition, due to the Meeting’s decision to hire a Religious Education employee, we will again be tapping into our reserve. Likely we will spend a third of our reserve just covering operating costs. Therefore, Finance would like Peace and Justice to postpone making contributions until January (traditionally all P and J contributions get made in October, November and December), and then only recommend Meeting pay contribution if we have a better income than expected.
After much discussion, we decided that Peace and Justice will recommend to Meeting that it make the below listed contributions this fall. In January we ask that Finance send us their updated numbers so we can see if we have more funds than we thought we would and therefore can recommend that Meeting make additional contributions then. We took to heart the serious financial constraints the Meeting is operating under, but we also considered the bleak financial situation of many important Quaker organizations. We feel it is important that we as a Meeting not give up on all our contributions.
Peace and Justice recommends to Meeting that we contribute the following:
AFSC, national $ 50
AFSC, Chicago $100
QEW $ 50
OPRF walk-in Ministry $ 50
PADS $ 50
OPRF Food pantry $ 50
Peace and Justice Committee, July 25, 2010
In Attendance: Helen Dickinson, Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk).
0. The Meeting opened with Silence a few minutes after Adrian F gave her update (see 5 below)
Kelly M. informed us that Meeting for Business has approved our recommendation that we become endorsing members of NRCAT. Kelly notified NRCAT, and she received a welcome letter from NRCAT acknowledging our status as endorsing members. This letter also encouraged us to urge members in the Meeting to endorse the statement as individuals as well, and refers them to www.nrcat.org/COI. We agreed we will announce this at the next Business Meeting as a recommended action. Kelly agreed to create a Peace and Justice hard copy file and keep the letter in this archive.
2. FCNL Actions
We further discussed the suggestion from last month concerning adding the FCNL Action Alert Link to the OPFM webpage. We agreed that it is a highly appropriate and potentially useful link. Judy E will add it to the webpage.
3. Guantanamo Bay/Thomson Prison
Following up on our discussion of the past two cmte. meetings, Kelly presented the new information that the US Senate Appropriations cmte. has approved buying the Thomson Correctional Center for use as a federal prison, with the same amendment prohibiting its use to house former Gitmo inmates as the House Appropriations cmte. has. Since both branches of Congress have agreed, the purchase of Thomson Correctional Center from IL to the Federal Gov is likely to happen in 2011. Although we are saddened by the US government’s commitment to increasing the number of federal inmates, at this point no clear action has been discerned in regard to the Thomson Correctional Center.
Kelly also presented the most recent updates about Gitmo inmates. 5 men have been released in the past month bringing the number of people illegally detained at Guantanamo Bay down to 176. Kelly also explained that journalists recently visited and the remaining prisoners are all classified and housed in 7 different camps, each with a different set of permissions. The men who are compliant and accept that the US needs to be holding them prisoners have the most privileges including watching satellite tv, spending four hours a day outside, and gardening, on the other hand there are 15-20 men staying on year-long hunger strikes, being forced fed to keep them alive with no privileges. Also, one of them men released last month had requested he not be sent back to his home country of Algeria because he feared torture there, but his request was denied, and he has already been disappeared.
After discussion we decided we would like to know who, if anyone is taking responsibility for keeping track of the released prisoners. We also feel that taking some action on this is a seasoned idea given our several month progress and new affiliation with NRCAT. We decided Helen D and Kelly will work on a statement concerning Guatanamo Bay and the fate of the prisoners, to be vetted at the next P and J meeting, and then recommend to Bus. Mtng. for approval and then sent to the press. AS one helpful and concrete action we can take is to keep this issue in the public arena.
After reviewing the history and purpose of AVP, we agreed that OPFM was not ready to train others in Non-violence, and that a one-off AVP workshop day was not going to train us to be practitioners of peace. Instead we think it would be beneficial to plan and implement an ongoing short duration peace training conflict resolution exercise program. We examined some of our library’s literature and took home reading material in order to study and gather ideas for a plan of sustained short practice/exercise for our Meeting. Judy has several useful Mennonite pamphlets she will bring to share.
5. New Business
During the week, Adrian Fisher asked us to put the following on the agenda: QEW is encouraging meetings to take part in 350.org's 10/10/10 climate change work party day. The website is here. Prior to our cmte meeting starting, Adrian gave a brief update informing us that she 1) emailed Karen Rasmus of the Oak Park Public Works suggesting that Oak Park advertise a village wide campaign and 2) emailed people at QEW suggesting they ask 350.org to be one of the sponsor members (someone replied and said they were already working on it).
Peace and Justice Committee, June 27, 2010
In Attendance: Helen Dickinson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Patricia McMillen.
1) Kelly distributed last month’s minutes:
Re: procedures set up last month and noted in the minutes, Patty requested to be added to the list of people to whom Kelly sends the minutes directly. All felt this highly appropriate.
2) Kelly distributed this month’s agenda:
After in depth discussion on the pros and cons of posting the Peace and Justice Minutes online, we came to a consensus that the minutes represent a historic document and should be available to the public, however posting current minutes describing our plans for actions makes us vulnerable. Therefore we agreed that we want to post the Peace and Justice minutes on the OPFM webpage, but password protect them [using the same password as B.M. minutes] for one year. We also agreed that we want to start an online archive of past minutes that anyone can view (i.e. not password protected).
All read through the proposed P and J webpage description from Judy. We approved it, but added a few words (in Italics).
This Committee supports Quaker testimonies through events, letter writing, educational opportunities, and witnessing in the wider community. For example, we compiled the list of Recycling Resources (see The Green Pages) and Fair Trade Coffee Resources (see Chicago Fair Trade Congregations pages).
Here is a link to the current Minutes of P&J Committee meetings. They are working documents for internal use and have been password protected; please contact the Clerk of Oak Park Friends Meeting for access to these pages. Here is the link to the archive of older P&J minutes.
3) Kelly provided more background on FCNL Stickers:
After coming to a better understanding of what these are, we agreed that most of the stickers were not appropriate for our webpage, the exception is the FCNL alert sticker. We agreed to each go and look at this online and decide at a later meeting if we want to add it.
4) Kelly reported what Sarah S. had sent to her about IL prisons:
The Obama administration wants to close Guantanamo Bay prison and relocate its remaining prisoners to the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson IL. In order to do this they need Congressional approval. Based on June 25 NYT article it was reported that Congress has not agreed to either closing Gitmo or giving money to purchase Thomson Correction Center. [However, on Tuesday June 29, 2010, it was reported in the press that the Dept of Justice agreed to purchase the Thomson Center in 2011, but the same budget has an amendment prohibiting the transfer of former Gitmo Prisoners]. The upshot is we do not know if or when Guantanamo prisoners will be transferred to Thomson. There are currently still 181 prisoners remaining at Gitmo, 55 of these are slated for release, 48 will never be tried and never be released, and we think the remaining 78 will eventually have trials.
Sarah reported that it does not appear to be the case that IL prison officials are receiving 20% pay raises, so we don’t need to worry about that.
A report from 2006 shows that prison reformers are currently focusing on lifting the mandatory sentences for non-violent (non-DUI) drug offenders. Instead it is cheaper and more effective to monitor these criminal with electronic devices and give them drug treatment and counseling.
We decided we need to season this information.
4) Other Items
Ceasefire, AVP, and the budget were informally discussed. No decisions were made and these items will be held over.
Peace and Justice Committee, May 23, 2010
In Attendance: Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Convener, Recording Clerk), Wil Rutt, and Sarah Shirk.
0. We Opened in Silence
1.a Donna Cech has laid down her work being the Convener of the Oak Park Peace and Justice Committee. We thank her for her year and half of faith-filled service.
1.b Kelly Maynard has agreed to be the new Convener of the Oak Park Peace and Justice Committee. She will continue as Recording Clerk.
1.c We established the following procedures. Kelly will send the minutes she types to Wil and Judy by the end of the first week after the P and J Meeting. Wil will then send out the minutes on the weekly Calendar during second week. Kelly will also prepare a list of action items in time for the Business Meeting which meets on the Second First Day of each month. Kelly will send a short Agenda during third week so items can be added.
2.a.i In Nov 2009, P and J discussed their interest in AVP which led to the question that perhaps Ceasefire is doing similar work with students. We agreed to contact and get more information. Kelly will contact Donna and see what contacts she has made. Kelly will then contact them. It was confirmed that Ceasefire, which is funded via the University of Illinois at Chicago, has taken large budget cuts recently.
2.a.ii AVP works in the prisons mostly so the aforementioned discussion led to the question of what is the status on Guantanamo Bay prisoners coming to Illinois prisons and what reforms to the Illinois Penal system are likely. Sarah Shirk agreed to research this and send us the information.
2.b In Nov. 2009, we decided we would consider reading together Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter. Wil agreed to read the book within the next 6 months (that is by November 2010) and present a summary and/or recommendation that we should read it together.
2.c In March 2010, a member of our Meeting asked us to consider the NRCAT Statement of Conscience against torture and whether we would endorse it. After procuring and reading through their Statement we decided that Peace and Justice will recommend to Meeting that we become an endorsing member. An endorsing member means we sign the statement and allow our name (OPFM) to be listed as an endorser. Being an endorsing member does not require us to send them money. Here is our response.
The National Religious Campaign against Torture (NRCAT) is a membership organization, formed in 2006, committed to ending U.S.-sponsored and U.S.-enabled torture. It is an interfaith group, the executive director is Rev. Richard Killmer (a Presbyterian minister), and many monthly meetings (including 57th Street Meeting and Urbana-Champaign Friends Meeting) have joined as endorsing members as have some Yearly Meetings. Since its founding NRCAT has focused on gathering endorsement of their Statement of Conscience, available below.
Peace and Justice recommends to Meeting that we become an endorsing member. An endorsing member means we sign the statement and allow our name (OPFM) to be listed as an endorser. Being an endorsing member does not require us to send them money.
A Model Resolution for Religious Institutions for Endorsing U.S.-Sponsored Torture: A Call for a Commission of Inquiry
WHEREAS one of our core principles as Friends is our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all persons; and
Whereas torture violates the basic dignity of the human person, degrades everyone involved -- from policy-makers to perpetrators to victims -- and contradicts our nation’s most cherished values; and
Whereas torture is inherently wrong and immoral, because it is designed to break the human soul and the human body; and
Whereas reliable evidence available to the public has shown that the United States has engaged in torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in response to the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, including a report produced by the International Committee of the Red Cross and made known to the public in February of 2009 that concluded: “[T]he ill-treatment to which [detainees] were subjected while held in the CIA[Central Intelligence Agency of the United States]program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture.”; and
Whereas the full story on the scope, breadth and depth of U.S. sponsored torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment has yet to be fully revealed; and
Whereas public awareness, acknowledgement, and understanding of what the United States has done with respect to the use of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are necessary in order to make sure that our nation never again engages in this conduct;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Oak Park Friends Meeting endorses the following statement “U.S.-sponsored Torture Now: A Call for a Commission of Inquiry”:
The United States must never again engage in torture. Torture is immoral, illegal and counterproductive. It causes profound and lasting harm, especially to its victims but also to its perpetrators. It contradicts our nation’s deepest values and corrupts the moral fabric of our society.
We call for an impartial, nonpartisan, and independent Commission of Inquiry. Its purpose should be to gather all the facts and make recommendations. It should ascertain the extent to which our interrogation practices have constituted torture and "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment". Understanding the causes, nature and scope of U.S.-sponsored torture is essential for preventing it in the future and eliminating it from our system without loopholes. U.S. law will determine the extent of any criminal culpability.
As people of faith, we know that brokenness can be healed – both in individual lives and in the life of the nation. All religions believe that redemption is possible. Learning the truth can set us on a path toward national healing and renewal.
The United States must never again allow itself to be driven by blinding fears and bitter resentments in responding to national tragedy. The use of torture only serves to undermine our security in a dangerous world.
Nothing less than the soul of our nation is at stake in confronting U.S.-sponsored torture and completely renouncing its use. Let the U.S. reaffirm its values by establishing a Commission of Inquiry.
2.d In March 2010, several members from Meeting asked Peace and Justice to consider working with United Power for Action and Justice. Kelly investigated what being a member organization with them means. She met with Amy Totsch and learned they are looking for a core group of people in a congregation working on a specific issue who need help organizing. Since that is not our situation we decided we would not become a member organization at this time.
3. New Business
During the month, Wil had sent out a link to some of us of short video clips about the Military industrial complex which a college-aged Quaker had made. Several of us had watched and commented on them. The question is what , if anything, do we do with them. We decided they were not appropriate for our Webpage since one of the main interviewees advocates secession of Vermont from the Union and none of us thought we wanted to back that idea. Instead we suggested that a prominent FCNL link (from which you can get the same information) be put on the webpage. Wil can also send out the clips via the online newsletter
Finally we decided that Quaker Earthcare Witness ought to be treated by us on par with AFSC and FCNL. A link to them will be added to the webpage.
Since we are adding so many things to the webpage we suggested Wil announce he is doing these changes under our guidance.
Peace and Justice Committee, April 25, 2010
In Attendance: Judy Erickson, Kelly Maynard (Clerk, Recording Clerk), Dean Peerman, and Wil Rutt.
NOTE: We had a very brief meeting as we were interrupted and circumstances forced us to end the meeting.
0) Friends opened with silence.
1) Kelly distributed last month’s minutes and an agenda. The agenda listed our committee’s accomplishments since November 209 and our holdovers.
1a) Actions since November we have accomplished:
Submitted and had published Fair Trade Resources, Recycling Resources, articles on AFSC, ICADP, AGLI. Arranged several FCNL letters and worked out our FCNL priorities.
Judy suggested we send her the Fair Trade Resources document, our articles on the organizations we fund, and the FCNL letters so she can add them to the webpage. Kelly agreed to send her the FTR and the Organization write ups which she had. Wil agreed with the idea of putting the FCNL letter writing on the webpage which was an idea that had arisen at last month’s P and J Meeting, but not been decided since we had not spoken to Judy yet.
1b) Issues held over:
Nov 2009, AVP > Ceasefire, will contact and get more info.
Nov. 2009, consider reading together Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
March 2010, NRCAT Statement of Conscience? endorsing member? participating member?
March 2010, United Power for Action and Justice member organization?
meet with Amy?
March 2010, FCNL letter in 4th week calendar
By and large we have to hold over all the above named issues for our May meeting. However some discussion occurred. An important note is that Kelly is meeting with Amy Totsch of United Power on Monday May 3rd to talk to them about what they as an organization do, and what they would want us to do with them. At least two members of the Meeting had asked us to consider joining them, but it is difficult for us (P and J) to assess the level of support and involvement for our congregation to actually join with them. Our membership is shrinking and many of our own posts are left unfilled so it may not be the best time to commit to other activities.
Another discussion concerned the proposed reading of Carter’s book. Here there are several issues we need to decide. 1) Do we want to organize a Meeting wide event of some type to learn about recent development sin Israel? If so what is the best way to do this? Wil mentioned that the University of Chicago has available online a series of talks about the situation that they held a few weeks ago. Judy pointed out that the Oak Park Library frequently has educational events on the subject. So the members of meeting already have many ways to educate themselves. 2) Do we want to start a Meeting bookclub? This would not be part of Religious education as it’s not about Religion but about Current events. If so, who will run it and what will we read? Judy pointed out the Oak Park Library runs a similar bookclub.
Peace and Justice Committee Report, Minutes of Meeting on March 28, 2010
In Attendance: Kelly Maynard (Clerk, Recording Clerk), George McCoy, Patricia McMillen, Wil Rutt, and Burke Shipley
We opened our meeting in Silence.
1. Patricia gave a short presentation on the National Religious Campaign against Torture (NRCAT). NRCAT is a membership organization, formed in 2006, committed to ending U.S.-sponsored and U.S.-enabled torture. It is an interfaith group, the executive director is Rev. Richard Killmer (a Presbyterian minister), and many monthly meetings (including 57th Street Meeting and Urbana-Champaign Friends Meeting) have joined as endorsing members as have some Yearly Meetings. Since its founding NRCAT has focused on gathering endorsement of their Statement of Conscience, titled “Torture is a Moral Issue” and available online here. In 2010 NRCAT is working to 1. Secure an independent Commission of Inquiry that will investigate the torture policies and practices of the U.S. government since September 11, 2001 and make recommendations about safeguards that are needed to assure that it will not happen again. 2. Close Guatanamo Bay. And, 3. Codify the elements of the Executive Order (issued by Pres. Obama in January of 2009) and other important anti-torture provisions into law. OPFM have been asked to join as an endorsing member. This means we as a Meeting sign/endorse the Statement of Conscience and agree to consider promoting NRCAT programs. We have also been asked that we encourage individuals in our Meeting to contact Members of Congress to support Legislation to make permanent the policy of allowing the International Red Cross access to all detainees.
After some discussion, we decided that Kelly would prepare a short summary (given above) and that we would all look at some of the material online and make a decision next month as to whether we recommend to Business Meeting that OPFM join as an endorsing member. We can also choose to be participating members which is the same thing as endorsing members except it includes an annual monetary commitment (of an amount of our own choosing).
2. Kelly presented about a group called United Power for Action and Justice. This is a Cook County group formed in 1997 and made up of about 250 local congregations, neighborhood organizations, and health institutions. They are a grassroots activist community, affiliated with IAF, that helps smaller member groups unite on an action. “United Power engages in non-violent and democratic action in the public arena.” In particular they have focused on healthcare, housing and guns laws. They have helped get All Kids passed and closed down a notorious gun shop. They are currently working on getting an amendment on the November ballot that would change the way administrative districts are drawn. For more info go to their website. We need to consider whether we want to recommend to Business Meeting that we become a membership organization. The smallest annual dues listed on their webpage is for a congregation size 50-100 persons and is $600. Our Meeting has about 25 members so we might be able to half that to $300. Kelly will call and see. [Note this dollar amount is new info Kelly looked up after the cmte. meeting.] We will make a decision at the next Peace and Justice Committee meeting.
3.a Wil announced that he and Kevin Brubaker will be giving a workshop about FCNL at this summer’s ILYM annual meeting. He gave us a practice run with an extensive handout explaining the new and improved FCNL webpage. In particular Wil explained their very easy to use mechanism to make an email letter and send it your elected representative on their weekly actions. We thank Wil for the information.
3.b. This month’s FCNL action letter is to write your reps thanking them for voting ‘yes’ for Healthcare Reform or telling them you are disappointed that they voted ‘no’. Go to the FCNL website for more information.
3.c. We decided that a good way to gently encourage FCNL letter writing is for Wil to add a notice point in the 4th week calendar which he sends out reminding Friends to look for the action we are promoting on the Webpage (and putting said link on our new webpage).
4. Patricia spoke to us about the Rosenberg Fund for Children. This is a foundation that makes grants to U.S. children of persecuted activists. It was founded by Robert Meeropol who is that son Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed for espionage in the early 1950’s, basically because they were Communists. As a result their children were orphaned. The fund seeks to make life a little bit easier financially for similar kids. Patricia was going to give this information to Donna so we can consider adding them to our list the next time the Monthly Meeting’s budget comes up and P and J has to make funding recommendations.
5. We reviewed our decision about writing a monthly blurb for the Newsletter on a selected organization we donate money to. So far we have written up AFSC, ICADP and AGLI. Wil took responsibility to write the next one on FCNL.
5b. We think it is a good idea to create a link on our new webpage which has all our organizations listed and then our blurbs can be hyperlinked to them as we create them. Patty will contact Judy about this.
6. We closed with a brief silence.
On MARCH 14, 2010: Peace and Justice Committee: The committee brings recommendations on the FCNL legislative priorities for the next 2 years (report attached). Each priority proposed by Peace and Justice was considered by the OPFM. Discussion resulted in approval of:
Final recommendation was to add North Korea and Iran to list provided in bullet 2
Insert “take positions against use of torture by the federal government and the federal death penalty, …..” into the first bullet.
Group approved the five priorities, as amended.
PEACE & JUSTICE COMMITTEE MINUTES by Donna Cech
February 28, 2010
In Attendance: Donna Cech (convener), Helen Dickinson, George McCoy, and Wilmer Rutt.
FCNL Legislative Priorities: The 5 priorities suggested at the 1/17/2010 meeting were reviewed and after reflection were further seasoned by the Peace and Justice Committee. The Peace and Justice Committee forwards the following suggestion for Legislative Priority areas to the OPFM for seasoning and/or approval. The OPFM should then decide if the meeting will contribute these suggestions to FCNL as they slate their legislative priorities.
The Peace and Justice committee did not weight or prioritize these issues/suggestions.
It is crucial FCNL speak to Congress and encourage them to protect civil and human rights, take positions against use of torture by the federal government and the federal death penalty and show them that condoning violation of privacy, unconstitutional search and seizure, and illegal detainment ultimately hurts our way of life and does not protect it.
FCNL must remind Congress that dialogue with our perceived enemies is the best way to resolve conflict, therefore we feel FCNL should encourage dialogue and mediation between the US, Al Qaida, the Taliban, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and Iraq.
The US should pursue a policy that would enable Haiti to become more self-sufficient, not just supply emergency aid. The focus should be on infrastructure, economy and trade status.
FCNL should continue to focus on making sure there is affordable access to quality healthcare for all Americans and also globally.
FCNL should continue to investigate and dismantle the root of racism in large financial institutions such as life insurance.
2. Kelly has written a description of the African Great Lakes Initiative that will be submitted to the newsletter by the Peace and Justice Committee, continuing on presenting information about organizations who have received donations from OPFM.
3. Peace and Justice committee recommends that the recycling resource list and the fair trade coffee information be posted on the OPFM website. Donna will work with website committee to post the information.
4. Wil will follow up with IlYM regarding the Commission of Inquiry statement presented by Kent Busse, related to the National Religious Campaign against Torture. A recent e-mail from Kent suggested the topic was “remanded” to monthly meetings for seasoning.