May 22, 2009

Report on the May NAWC Meeting

Present: Joel K, Scott B, Carl S, Adam R, Peter K, Joan N, Sue D

Walk for the Lake: We voted to sponsor Nukewatch's annual July 19 Walk for the Lake to draw attention to the toxic munitions scrap barrels dumped in Lake Superior near Duluth's drinking water intakes in the 50's and calling for their removal. This includes a $50 donation from NAWC. Also, Joel K is organizing a "Toxic Monster Bash" party on the evening of July 18.
Smadar Lavie: Smadar Lavie is an ethnic minority Jewish Israeli who is a visiting professor at Macalester College in Minneapolis. We have met with her before and agreed to have her up to give a forum on the issue of minorities in Israel and solidarity with Palestine. She is available the week of June 15-19. We determined to seek out a venue, possibly the Friends Meeting House, and confirm a date and time with Smadar. Joel K. will do outreach to local churches, and Scott will outreach to Chum.
Financial Report: Peter reported that we have $1034 in the account and $100 in petty cash.
Minnesota Peace Project: A new state-wide project to lobby Congress against the wars is underway. NAWC agreed to partner with the Minnesota Peace Project in their efforts.
Counter-Recruiting: There will be a counter-recruitment activist conference in Chicago on July 17-18. NAWC approved $160 for assistance to bring two local youth to the conference. Interested parties should contact Joel K.
There is no news on the Duluth School District cutting JROTC. The decision was delayed at the last school board meeting, and a final decision probably will not take place until the June meeting. The committee will work with Progressive Action to meet with school board candidates on the issue and has delivered letters from high school students and parents to board members. More letters are encouraged. Joel K agreed to put some letters on the NAWC blog.
National Assembly: The national organization attempting to untie the anti-war movement will be having its conference July 10-12 in Pittsburgh. We endorsed the conference and approved at least $100 for travel assistance for those going, with the final amount to be determined at the next meeting. We will discuss further what to bring to the Assembly at the June Meeting. Joel and Adam agreed to talk to the Central Labor Body about sending a report, endorsement or representative. It was determined that we will hold a joint report-back session with those going to this conference and the counter-recruitment conference later in the summer or early fall.
Iraq Moratorium: In order to revitalize the third Friday actions, it was determined to hold a summer forum series immediately following the Superior Grandmothers for Peace picket at 5 PM each month. We will switch off locations between the Red Mug in Superior and Amazing Grace in Duluth. June's topic will be Israel and Palestine, hopefully with Smadar Lavie as a guest speaker (update: she is unavailable that evening), and it will take place at the Red Mug. July's will be at 5:15 at Amazing Grace, on Health Care Not Warfare. August will be on Soldiers' Mental Health, location tbd.
Military Families Speak Out: Joan reported that MFSO has taken a position for immediate withdrawl from Afghanistan. After polling, 84% of the membership was opposed to the war in Afghanistan. Joel and Joan agreed to work on some press statements before the deployment of Duluth's 114th Fighter Wing to Afghanistan, Joel agreed to look into getting a banner with the GI Rights Hotline on it, and Adam agreed to develop more literature on Afghanistan.
Fall Project: It's a good bet that the National Assembly will call for October local protests, and we should have one regardless. To build for it, we discussed trying to bring in a big-name speaker on Afghanistan, namely Andrew Bacevich. Joan agreed to try and reach out to him and determine what it would take to get him here. We decided to explore joint sponsorship with the St. Scholastica Center for Peace and Justice.
Announcements: The League of Women Voters is having a meeting on Instant Runoff and Rank Choice Voting on Tuesday, May 19 at 7 PM in the UMD Kirby Student Center Room 311.

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