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Chris Martin facilitated the meeting. Thank you!
The group is now involved in 3 ongoing activities: a weekly meeting, a weekly vigil, and a website.
Here's the info:
THE NEXT MEETING OF THIS GROUP IS SATURDAY OCTOBER 13TH 10 AM TO NOON UPSTAIRS AT THE ANTIQUE SANDWICH COMPANY, NORTH 52ND AND PEARL. BRING YOUR OWN FOLDING CHAIR IF YOU CAN. THERE WILL BE SOME CHAIRS AVAILABLE BUT NOT A SUFFICIENT NUMBER FOR THE GROUP.
The WEDNESDAY VIGIL IN FRONT OF UNION STATION at the Federal Bldg is an ongoing event from Noon until 2:00pm, bring large signs that can be read by passing motorists (honk for peace, etc.) and please pass the word. There's a small, dedicated group that would welcome company!
The WEBSITE ADDRESS where articles this group has posted in order to share them with each other is: http://www.tacomapjh.org
If you have something that you would like posted on this website, you are welcome to forward it to Jean, who will post it for you (email@example.com) Many thanks to Jean for helping us with all of this!
UWT is putting together 'teach ins': call the Office of Student Programs for info.
UWSeattle's teach-in series is being video taped and UWT will be showing it, call for info. The President of UW has cancelled this Thursday's classes for teach-ins all day
UPS: There will be a series of brown-bags.
Thurs. 10/11 "Mental Health Issues in a Time of Unrest"--Prof. Barry Anton,
If you would like to write to your representatives, here are the addresses:
Congressman Norm Dicks
Senator Maria Cantwell
Senator Patty Murray
President George Bush
As per last week's decision, this meeting was devoted mostly to an OPEN SPACE MEETING facilitated by Chris to help us discuss and determine direction for the group. A summary of the process and the day's results follows:
Chris began by summarizing a bit of last's weeks meeting, where the group spoke of what each person wanted from the group for themselves and also with respect to going public: how to say what we are and what we are about. Chris asked each person present to say in 5 words or less one thing they remember from last weeks meeting. Some responses: richness, community already, members expressing needs, Carrie's great job of facilitation, how many people wanted much more depth of understanding, a sense of ongoing difficulty between the people who want more depth of understanding and the people who want to take action, the diversity of people's experience, the new people joining and the old people continuing to come, solidarity at the vigil on Wednesday, a feeling that it is good to be part of a group with strong feeling yet wondering how all can unite to do something, happy that this is a thoughtful group that doesn't want to rush out to take action without thinking it through, happy to see new faces and thoughtful folks, wanting to find community, appreciating active discussion
Chris began this 90 minute process of us looking at the intent of our group by explaining how this process is meant to be reflective, to look at an capture the spirit and the intent of the last 2 meetings so that that energy isn't lost. In this sort of process there is a need to hear each voice and pull them all in without excluding any, which is the motivation behind the structure of the process.
We began by each writing on three pieces of paper the 3 most important ideas, values or principles that we need the group to be addressing in order for us to continue to be in the group. We stuck all these papers to the wall, everyone read all of them, and then we sorted them into similar categories/themes. Next each of us marked ones we felt strongly about and broke into smaller groups, each of which would address on major theme.
The themes that the group came up with were roughly sorted into the following 4 areas (the area title is followed by a sampling of the various ideas, values or principles that were put together in the same thematic area) :
CONTENT, INFORMATION, LEARNING: we are a community of learners, we need to know more, the world is hurting and this is a time to tone down the rhetoric and have sensitivity to the specific impact of the 9/11 tragedy, speak for human rights and non-violence, group as a community of learners that can serve as a continuing clearing house of ideas and events so learning and knowledge doesn't stay in the universities, that the group present an opportunity for learning, particularly about the experience of who the US is from the perspective of other countries, speak to human rights and non-violence, compassion
OUTCOMES: commitment to principled action, search for non-violent alternatives to a violent response, plan specific activities to impact US foreign policies, educate ourselves and the public, do something concrete for working toward peaceful solutions, visible dissent to war, effectiveness, long-range strategies and evaluation, activities varied enough to allow participation by each person in something, send positive messages, combine reflection and action, long range strategic evaluation, group participation in the actions the group decides to take to improve US foreign policies
INTERNAL PROCESS: defined group conscience, sensitivity to different ideas and skills and ability to participate, a simple organizational structure that is non-dues paying member based, we have to have consensus if/when we take action as a group, faithfulness in attendance and participation, we need to stay focused on what we want to do so our actions mean something, equality and equal sharing in responsibility and decision-making, consensus when we take action as a group, continual updating and clarifying issues at they arise in a changing situation (rather than dogmatic approach),
WHO WE ARE/OPEN TO DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW: respect for everyone's voice and ideas, inclusiveness, place to listen and to hear others, open to continuing dialogue, trust and willingness to delegate, appreciate efforts of those who take a lead in the group, we need a name that is sensitive to language and doesn't create dual thinking like "war versus peace", an open society with continuing dialogue, group continue to be warm, open, thoughtful, welcoming, diversity and open to expand group participation.
After this portion of the process, Chris asked the group to comment on their experience of this process. Some of the comments: great, gave opportunity to organize thoughts, felt a bit overwhelming from the perspective of trying both to honor those who want to take quick action and those who want a process of consensus, compared to other organizations which often are dominated by a few loud voices this process is inclusive and collective, like that this was relative slow and the leader structured it all in advance, felt a bit of tension between the needs of those who are ready to move and the needs of those who want more deliberation or a less action-oriented focus, how do we maintain our group integrity while various members do different things, feel now that we could ask others to join because we have specific themes and ideas, are we going to be a clearing house for information or are we going to initiate action, felt the process was quite rich and inclusive.
Chris then asked that people make 4 small groups, with each person joining with others interested in one of the 4 themes, and that these groups try to draft a statement of a guiding principle that would represent the themes, ideas and concerns stated in each of the 4 areas. After some time working on this, each group drafted a rough statement:
CONTENT, INFORMATION, LEARNING: In the light of the events of September 11 and the need to make an informed response, we are committed to learning and understanding more about the background of the conflict and the peace and justice issues in the present situation. We will maintain a website to share the best information available, and expect that some parts of the meeting times will be devoted to learning about substantive issues.
OUTCOMES: This group desires to engage in a peaceful approach to achieving a non-violent response by our community and our government to the September 11th act of terrorism and to influencing our government to enact a more principled foreign policy.
INTERNAL PROCESS: This sub-group discussed the process for making decisions as a group, seeing it as a choice between consensus style decision making and a voting majority style, but could not see a clear position/choice between the two options.
WHO WE ARE/OPEN TO DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW: This group is carrying on a conversation that is ongoing in which participants respect and listen to each other.
At the end of this process, Chris asked if anyone felt that their ideas and position was not being represented in these areas, and no one felt that their ideas and needs had not been included. Chris noted that the issue of group name and internal process perhaps needs more voices to clarify and decide, and so perhaps that topic should be address by the entire group.
It was stressed that this work is a work in process and has not ended: we need to continue to refine and define what we've got started and that the work done by the small groups yet needs to be vetted by the whole group.
In the last portion of the meeting, Janie shared that she had been approached by the TNT newspaper to facilitate the writing of an OPED piece to represent this group's views, with the following restrictions and limitations: the piece must be 700-800 words, have only 2 names in the by-line, be accompanied by a photo, and include certain topics, and be completed by Wednesday. Janie emailed a few others who struggled with such a quick deadline and yet a desire to take this opportunity for publicity so that others Tacoma would know that a group like this exists that they could join. They created a draft of an article which Janie shared with those present, letting everyone know that editing and refinement of language was still to be done, but asking if the letter reflected the general spirit and intent of the group. Janie received 98% support and thanks from many people for the efforts of the writers. There was discussion about language and co-authorship, and suggestions for wording changes. It was mentioned that as this article is necessarily brief, it affords the opportunity for others in the group to using this article perhaps as a base or beginning statement, draft more lengthy letters to send as individuals (or to bring to the group) to the newspapers or to representatives. As a newspaper article, it offers an opportunity to begin a dialogue with the community.
In the discussion there were many differences of opinion, and people tried to hear each other; there was particular concern for creating a negative response from the public, but the example was given of that sort of occurrence at the Wednesday vigil, and how that sort of experience was transformative for all those involved.
Those writing the article agreed to be sensitive to the concerns voiced by the group, and to include contact information for the group indicating that the group is open and inviting readers to participate. Many people expressed thanks to those who spent so much time working on the article.
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