Saturday, February 1, 2003 Meeting Notes
1. Vigils and plans in the event of war
2. Tacoma City Council resolution of Jan. 28, 2003
3. UFPPC Feb. 15 events
CHECK-IN: a few scattered notes on remarks by those present:
- Ann said she was interested in seeing what's going on here; she mentioned her interest CIRV, the new electoral reform group (see Announcements).
- Sharon said she finds a tremendous energy in PPJH that seems to radiate wherever she is.
- Colleen said she's very active in other groups, but finds this group a rejuvenating spot.
- Karen reflected on the Columbia catastrophe this morning as a message to us that everything can change in an instant. All we really have is this second, and everything else is conjecture. She read a quotation from Nelson Mandela, which included these words: "You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. . . . As you are liberated from fear, your presence liberates others."
- Cathy said she came to announce a UWT event (see Announcements).
- Rob said he was inspired by the Tacoma City Council meeting. This week he attended a meeting about a mini-MBA course where he was struck by the sense of apathy and futility with regard to the res publica felt by most of those attending.
- Valerie, among us for the second time, said the effect of our actions is uncertain, but if we do nothing, we can be sure nothing will change. She's pleased to have found a group of like-minded people.
- Nancy also appreciates this group's and other groups' activities.
- Mark was heartened by the City Council's action, as he is by PPJH's activities and his increasing awareness of and contacts with the activities of interlinked individuals around the world.
1. Vigils and plans in the event of war
Colleen reported that the special Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon 'State of the Union vigils' were not very well attended, but Nancy said that about forty people attended the Wednesday evening vigil, including many young people. We reviewed our plans to gather at the Federal Courthouse at 5:00 p.m. after a government announcement of invasion or escalated bombing initiating a U.S. war on Iraq. Mark noted that some PLU faculty are planning to cancel classes after the announcement of invasion or increased bombing commencing a war on Iraq and call for a noon gathering on Red Square in the center of the PLU campus for a rally, perhaps moving into Eastvold should weather require it.
Sharon expressed the need for a more positive response on the part of PPJH to the war than reactive anti-war demonstrations: negative actions and expressions are not enough. The group discussed the proper response to those who are in a more negavitistic state of mind.
From this discussion and discussion of the Earth Charter, emerged a decision of the group: ALL PPJH MEMBERS ARE ASKED TO STUDY THE FOUR-PAGE EARTH CHARTER AND ATTEND, IF POSSIBLE, THE FEB. 8 MEETING, WHERE THE EARTH CHARTER WILL BE THE FOCUS OF A ONE-HOUR DISCUSSION AIMED AT EXPLORING THE DOCUMENT AND DECIDING WHETHER PPJH SHOULD MAKE THIS DOCUMENT'S POSITIVE VISION FOR THE FUTURE THE FOCUS OF AN EVENT TO BE CALLED IN THE COMMUNITY SHORTLY AFTER THE OUTBREAK OF WAR.
Polls show that a majority of this country's citizens believe the country is on "the wrong track" and the war offers an opportunity to address those feelings with a positive vision of the future. Colleen said that such actions are, in the long run, as important for this peace movement and its influence on the nation as opposing the war.
Other groups will bear the brunt of organizing anti-war activities; PPJH can play an important role by offering a forum for a discussion of a positive vision of the future for the United States of America and the world.
It may be that the Earth Charter, to which Sheila has called our attention in the past, can serve as a vehicle for this discussion. With its themes of
-- respect for life
-- ecological and environmental concerns
-- social justice
perhaps it can even be more than that. A separate announcement will be sent on the listserv urging PPJH members to study the four-page Earth Charter (and accompanying material on the web) and to come to the Sat., Feb. 8 meeting prepared for this discussion.
2. Tacoma City Council's Jan. 28 resolution
Mark presented a draft of a letter from PPJH to the Tacoma City Council supporting their action and praising the courage of those who voted for it. The group approved the letter and all present affixed signatures to copies that will be mailed to each individual councilmember. The text of the letter, dated February 1, 2002, which will also be sent to the News Tribune, is as follows:
Dear Mayor Baarsma and other members of the Tacoma City Council,
We wish to express formally our deep appreciation for the courageous act of the Tacoma City Council on January 28, 2003 in joining 56 other representative bodies of municipalities around the United States (see New York Times, Feb. 1, 2003, in which Tacoma's resolution is prominently mentioned) in adopting a resolution that opposes a pre-emptive strike on Iraq and urges the federal government to give the U.N. weapons inspections enough time to complete their task. As the millions of concerned people around the world urge the president to pull back from the brink, we believe that American public opinion is now the only force still capable of restraining a group of leaders engaged in an unconscionable rush to war. One has the sense that the gathering public opinion against a war is one of the things that the administration is trying to forestall. In this context, your act, far from being outside your purview as some have said, in fact represents what is best in American democracy. We hope that your resolution and your courage may play some part in the awakening of the American public to the injustices that are being committed in the name of our national security.
While People for Peace, Justice, and Healing is a non-partisan group that endorses no electoral candidacies, we assure you that your gesture will not be forgotten. We urge you to continue to speak your conscience on this and other important matters facing this nation. Let it not be said of our generation that we stood by silently and watched while the fundamental values of this nation were subverted.
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
PPJH members are strongly urged to take the time to write individually to the Tacoma City Council expressing their views on the Jan. 28 resolution, which was strongly attacked in a Jan. 30 News Tribune editorial as "ridiculous" and for which the councilmembers who voted for the measure (Bill Evans, Mayor Bill Baarsma, Deputy Mayor Bil Moss, Connie Ladenburg, Sharon McGavick, and Doug Miller) are taking considerable heat. PJHers may also wish to write to those who voted against (Kevin Phelps, Rick Talbert, and Mike Lonergan), as well as to the media, especially the News Tribune. Letters to councilmembers may be addressed to the Tacoma City Council, 747 Market St., Tacoma, WA 98402, or sent on-line via the Tacoma City Government website. (Bill Evans should get special praise and support in letters for the important role he played in this resolution.)
3. United for Peace of Pierce County Feb. 15 events
Mark updated the group on plans for two Feb. 15 UFPPC events, which are being organized and publicized as separate events.
(a) A rally in McKinley Park at 1:00 p.m. with speakers and music, followed by a march to the Federal Courthouse. A flyer for this event is now available in .pdf format http://www.tacomapjh.org/ufppc.htm on the web. For more information about the anti-war rally and march, contact Mark Jensen (535-7219) or Sallie Shawl (383-3056 ext. 105).
(b) A peace celebration at the Washington State History Museum entitled "The World Says No to War: A Celebration of Peace" from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., which will feature more than a dozen groups and individuals performing music, dance, and spoken word events or featuring other forms of artistic expression, most with diverse international themes. A flyer will be available on-line soon. For more information about the peace celebration, contact Joan Robertson (572-0394) or Beth Maslow (627-3356).
These events will be taking in the place in the context of national and international demonstrations organized around the theme "The World Says No to War," as designated by the national coalition http://www.unitedforpeace.org United for Peace and Justice (of which United for Peace of Pierce County is a member) in what promises to be the largest world-wide anti-war demonstration history has ever seen.
a. Cathy Tashiro of UWT announced that at UWT (BHS 104) at 12 noon on Tues., Feb. 4 "Justice for All? Civil Rights in the Post-9/11 Climate" will feature a presentation by Pramila Jayapal, activist, author, and founder of http://www.hatefreezone.org Hate Free Zone Campaign of Washington; a reception will follow. Pramila Jayapal will also be a guest lecturer at 2:00 p.m. in BHS 106 in Prof. Michael Forman's class on "The Political Theory of Human Rights." The public is invited to both events, which are free.
b. The first-ever anti-war demonstration at Tacoma Community College will take place near the center of campus on Wed., Feb. 5, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. PJHers are urged to attend. To offer help with the event, call or write Kat Rampp (756-2171 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
c. "Downwind," a 50-minute documentary on depleted uranium (DU) released in June 2001, will be shown on the Pacific Lutheran University campus on Wed., Feb. 5 at 7:00 p.m. in Ingram 100.
d. The next Bill of Rights Defense Committee meeting will be held at 408 N. 11th St. on Mon. evening, Feb. 3, at 7:00 p.m.
e. The newly named Citizens for Instant Runoff Voting (CIRV) will meet again on Wed., Feb. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church to pursue the goal of bringing instant runoff voting to local elections. Call Colleen Waterhouse for more information (759-9680).
The meeting concluded at 12:15 p.m. with hands held in a silent circle.