Saturday, October 5, 2002 Meeting Notes
Check-in : a few scattered notes
- Marion's mom is out of the hospital.
- Dorothy's sister surprised her by exclaiming "Oh, good!" when she heard she was active in a peace vigil.
- Kathy attended for the first time, felt drawn to the group by the Oct. 1 ad in the TNT.
- Linda noted that the Chinese ideogram for "evil" means "excess."
- Ben started grad school this week at UW Tacoma.
- Mark reported that positive phone responses to Tuesday's ad had outnumbered negative ones, 11-5.
- Vivi learned this week that her job is at risk because of the budget crunch.
- Pam recommended Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.
- Marisela's day was made by the front-page story on local peace activities in Friday's TNT.
- Elaine is very active in activities with Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October).
1. Contingency planning. The group agreed that beginning Tuesday, the day the Senate is scheduled to begin debating the war resolution, and continuing at least until the US Senate votes on this, a daily vigil will be held at the Federal Building from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. This will be announced to the crowd at Monday's vigil. Individuals were designated to ensure that at least two people will be there Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday's vigil will be held at the regular time. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE WILL BE A VIGIL AT THE FEDERAL BUILDING EVERY DAY THIS WEEK UNTIL THE SENATE VOTES. PLEASE COME AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN.
2. Planning for Monday's Special Vigil. (We're doing the best we can in the absence of Sallie!) We agreed: Marisela will arrive around 4:30 p.m. to help with early organization, the delivery of the sound system by Carl, etc. Linda will be there early and will give a quick session in peacekeeping techniques (AS MANY AS POSSIBLE FROM OUR GROUP SHOULD HELP OUT HERE, PLEASE! -- PLEASE CONSIDER COMING EARLY TO DO THIS). Marion has already spoken to a liaison officer on the Tacoma police and thinks this should be sufficient, but will follow up with another call. The group anticipates that space will be significant but in the event of too many people being there will try to keep the street from being blocked, asking people to go to the opposite side of the street if necessary. Marisela agreed to be program coordinator, and will be the person who controls access to the microphone, organizing the order of speakers, singers, etc., which will no doubt include individuals who come and wish to speak to the peaceably assembled group. An effort will be made to set a peaceful, respectful tone from the beginning & people will be reminded that the vigil commemorates the loss of innocent life. If possible we'll try to have the vigil end with a moment of silence at the sunset (6:37 p.m.) in memory of the innocent lives lost in the Afghan War. Mark (and Marion) agreed to serve as media contact people, to approach media who may be there, giving them informational brochures and answering questions. Mark will also prepare some sign-up phone tree sheets which explain that these will be used for notification of events planned with short notice, to be passed around in the crowd, and also to prepare small card-size lists of contact information people can use to reach their representatives in Congress. Elaine reported that David Alger said he's been getting many calls about the vigil, so a considerably larger crowd than was present at the May 1 vigil can be anticipated.
3. Medea Benjamin Event. At Marisela's initiative,
the group tentatively agreed (pending finalization of arrangements)
to sponsor an address by MEDEA BENJAMIN with subsequent discussion
to be held probably on the UPS campus. Here's more information
about Medea Benjamin -- a formidable force for peace
and justice -- directly from Marisela:
"I have asked the Latin American Studies Program at UPS to help us getting a place to do it and we got their support. Marion has agreed to put together a flyer to hand out on our vigil this Monday. We will need a lot of support advertising this event, so anyone who would like to be in a task force group with me, please email me about it: email@example.com. We hope to get lots of people coming to also help us pay the fee to bring her here. As you will see in the information below, she is a wonderful person with lots of experience. She will be talking about stopping the war on Iraq and the reconstruction of Afghanistan. -- Information about speaker MEDEA BENJAMIN: Medea Benjamin has made the headlines recently with her actions opposing war on Iraq and she has been known as a powerful and charismatic force in human rights activism, working for social justice in Asia, the Americas, and Africa for over 20 years. She is the Founding Director of Global Exchange. She has worked as an economist and nutritionist in Latin America and Africa for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the Swedish International Development Agency, and the Institute for Food and Development Policy. She is a leading figure in the movement to pressure U.S. companies to improve conditions for their overseas factory workers. Her books include Bridging the Global Gap: A Handbook to Linking Citizens of the First and Third Worlds, The Peace Corps and More: 175 Ways to Work, Study, and Travel at Home & Abroad, and the award-winning Don't Be Afraid, Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart: The Story of Elvia Alvarado. Medea was also the Green Party candidate for US Senate from California in 2000. During much of 2001, her work focused on California's energy crisis, fighting the market manipulation by the big energy companies and rate hikes that cause hardship for low-income ratepayers and small businesses. In January of 2002, Medea accompanied four Americans who lost loved ones in the September 11th terrorist attacks on a trip to Afghanistan to meet people there who lost relatives during the recent conflict. Medea also led a women's delegation to Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to investigate the humanitarian situation among the refugee population, to assess the consequences of US bombing, and to talk to women's groups about what role they would like to play in a transition government. Medea is currently speaking throughout the US, discussing the moral and financial responsibility of the US for the future of Afghanistan and galvanizing grassroots opposition to war on Iraq. Recent addresses have been entitled: "Bridging Sorrow: Victims to Victims Delegation to Afghanistan," "Rebuilding Afghanistan," and "Stopping the War on Iraq, Uniting for Peace." -- BIOGRAPHY: Medea Benjamin is Founding Director of Global Exchange. For over twenty years, Medea has supported human rights and social justice struggles around the world. Medea recently accompanied four Americans who lost loved ones in the September 11th terrorist attacks on a trip to Afghanistan to meet people there who lost relatives during the US bombing of Afghanistan. Their extraordinary journey has received such international attention that the US Government is being pressured to discuss civilian casualties and to create a compensation fund for Afghan victims. In November of 2001, Medea led a women's delegation to Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to investigate the humanitarian situation there among the refugee population, to assess the consequences of US bombing, and to talk to women's groups about what role they would like to play in a transition government. Medea is currently galvanizing grassroots support to promote rebuilding the region. For much of 2001, Medea focused on California's energy crisis, fighting the market manipulation by the big energy companies and rate hikes that cause hardship for low-income ratepayers and small businesses. She headed a powerful coalition of consumer, environmental, union and business leaders working for clean and affordable power under public control. Medea was the Green Party candidate for US Senate from California in 2000. Her run for U.S. Senate succeeded in mobilizing thousands of Californians around platform issues such as living wage, schools-not-prisons, and universal healthcare. Medea's previous work has focused on improving the labor and environmental practices of US multinational corporations, and the policies of international institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. During the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in December 1999, Medea's organization, Global Exchange, helped fix world attention on the need to place labor and environmental concerns over corporate profits. While critical of unfair global trade policies, Medea has promoted "fair trade" alternatives that are beneficial to both producer and consumer. She helped form a national network of retailer and wholesalers in support of fair trade and was instrumental in pressuring coffee retailers such as Starbucks to start carrying fair trade coffee. Medea is a key figure in the anti-sweatshop movement, having spearheaded campaigns against the giant sports shoe company Nike and clothing companies such as the GAP. In 1999 Medea helped expose the problem of indentured servitude among garment workers in the US territory of Saipan (the Marianas Islands), which led to a billion-dollar lawsuit against 17 US retailers. After several fact-finding visits to China, Medea co-sponsored with the International Labor Rights Fund an initiative to improve the labor and environmental practices of US multinationals in China. The ensuing Human Rights Principles for US Businesses in China have been endorsed by major companies such as Cisco, Intel, Reebok, Levi Strauss and Mattel. In 1999, San Francisco Magazine named Medea to their "Power List" as one of the "60 Players Who Rule the Bay Area." She serves on the board or advisory council of numerous organizations, including the United National Development Program, the Interhemispheric Resource Center, the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness and Green Empowerment. Medea helped build US support for the movement to oust General Suharto in Indonesia and for the right of self-determination for the people of East Timor. She supported the Peace Process between the Zapatista rebels and the Mexican government, fought to lift the embargoes against Cuba and Iraq, and was active in cutting US military aid to repressive regimes in Central America. She has been an election observer and led fact-finding delegations to dozens of countries. . . . She helped produce various TV documentaries such as the anti-sweatshop video Sweating for a T-Shirt.
-- Medea Benjamin received a Masters degree in Public Health from Columbia University and a Masters degree in Economics from the New School for Social Research. She worked for ten years as an economist and nutritionist in Latin America and Africa for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the Swedish International Development Agency, and the Institute for Food and Development Policy." PLEASE CONTACT MARISELA TO HELP WITH THIS PROJECT!
The meeting ended at 12:10 p.m.