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Meeting notes 10/20/01

We met at Associated Ministries and Flo facilitated the meeting, Jude took notes. Thank you both.

The next meeting will be at the Associated Ministries, Saturday October 27, 10 am until noon at 1224 S. "I" street. The topic of the introductory 'go round' will be "my own reflections on the meaning of non-violence," so reflect a bit and bring a brief statement of those thoughts.


Website: The brand new address is or

In order to limit the volume of articles being sent to the entire group, there was a request that if we have an article we want others to read, we can request that the link be posted on the website. However, all articles and other content of interest may not be available for free on the Internet. Some websites, like the New York Times, archive their articles after a short period of free access. The archived articles may be retrieved only after a fee is paid. Other websites, like Salon, have a mix of free and premium content. The premium content is only available after a small yearly fee is paid. In addition, other material is being circulated via email that cannot be located on the web; still, some attention to copyright issues should inform a decision to distribute it without permission of the author. In general, the website should be treated as the main clearing house of information so that less clutter will appear in email but website postings will not include reproduction of copyrighted material.

The OPED article from members of this group that was in the News Tribune last Sunday is available on our website. It's not available on the TNT's website, and we don't know exactly why it can't be made available. If you want to write or call TNT and ask that it be made available, that would help.

VIGIL: time change this week and next week: 12:30-1:30 (one hour) in front of the Federal Blg, as usual, please come, bring a friend! Starting Wednesday November 7, the vigil will move to 5pm and will be a one hour candlelight vigil (bring a candle in a glass and signs).

COMMITTEES: These 4 committees were formed at this meeting. If you are interested in joining any of them, please contact the person listed:

  • Film event committee: Janie and Marisela, with Janie as the contact person ( or 383-5592, prefers you to email her)
  • Large Public Meetings with Speakers committee: Sallie, Flo, and Carl, with Sallie at contact person (383-3056 ext. 105 or
  • Small Group Events committee: Ardine, Pam, Janie, Ken, and Ursula, with Ardine as contact person ( or 857-8911)
  • Small Study Group committee: Jude and Jean, with Jean as contact person ( or 759-4757)

Janie is meeting with a newly forming women's peace group in Tacoma this afternoon, and will let them know what we're up to and let us know what they're doing.

the meeting:

There were several new people this week, and the meeting began once again with introductions and brief sharing. Several people mentioned that they saw the article in the OpEd section of the paper last Sunday, and had been looking for a peace oriented group to join with. Thanks again to those who wrote the article. Some of the remarks in this introduction were as follows: I was active years ago in Women's League of Peace and Freedom, and felt compelled to come; there needs to be groups all over the country looking for ways to respond other than violence and war; feeling such trepidation at the news each day and wanting to find community; want to join with those seeking reconciliation and healing; this past week's national and international news is discouraging, and hope we come up with more ways to send our message to the community; this week I have been reflecting on trying to articulate the origins of my stand on non-violence; it's useful to be with people who are talking about these issues instead of being with people during the week who are very afraid and thus are becoming angry and hostile. I want/need to respond to their anger and hostility without reacting in that way myself, and so it's a relief now to talk about the larger issues (I work in the health services); last week I mailed a message of support form this group to Representative Barbara Lee (very similar to the OpEd piece, thanks) and now I am looking forward to an activity we can all take part in; I am concerned about the bombings and now the land troops and see these as more steps down the slippery slope to a situation that is uncomfortable for everyone; I want to be in community with people who talk about non-violence and social justice; I couldn't come to last week's meeting and really missed it because the bombing had started and I wanted to be with a group that has bonded with each other in concern for peace; I have been reflecting that having governments act in a non-violent way is something that takes a really long time; I came because I am wanting support for combating my own personal cynicism that says "well, this is how the world is," coming for a sense of community which I don't get from those letters in the paper that say "love it or leave it."

Flo began by reading the intended focus of this meeting from last week's meeting notes:

"It was agreed that the focus of the next meeting will be brainstorming these things: What does nonviolence look like in this time and circumstance? What would a public presence be for a non-violent stance? How can this occur? Comments were made about wanting to brainstorm a vision for the future that can echo down decades; how do we put together a peaceful world economy? With the heart as guru and the head as student, we each do what little bit we can. How do we encourage that in the world community?"

There was a discussion about how to do this, and it was decided to brainstorm in the large group: brainstorming is a free exchange of ideas, with everyone given the opportunity to participate; it's non-judgmental, without prioritizing, and without discussion. So the group did this, and the ideas were written down. Before we began, there was a reading of the evolving group purpose statements:

Evolving Statements of Group Purpose:

  1. In 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.
  2. This group desires to engage in a peaceful approach to achieve 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
  3. The group is carrying on a conversation that is ongoing, in which participants respect and listen to others
  4. Due to the changing membership of this group, and the groups desire to continue to expand, grow and include, the group's decision-making process will continue to be a very loose form of consensus.

Here are all (or most of) the ideas that were presented:

  • design a flag of the world with some message on it and make it available to the public;
  • community conversations on peace and justice, such as 'conversation cafés;
  • form a small group to do dedicated study of ways to change world economic and political conditions that influence the growth of terrorism, how terrorism can be combated non-violently, and ways to bring that information and the language of peace justice and healing to the wider world;
  • increase membership in the weekly vigil so those who are in support but don't come now, feel welcome and encouraged to attend;
  • discuss the questions "what is non-violence?", "how do governments practice it?" how do we as individuals practice non-violence?" how can we as a community practice non-violence?";
  • leafleting at public places;
  • public presence in more places than just the vigil, like Tacoma Mall; organize a large public meeting that would be educational and informational, designed around "what are the alternatives to war," perhaps with a well-known person as a draw;
  • have a concert as a way to reach out to a large community and as one way to integrate at artistic approach (find other ways to bring in art);
  • work toward long-range peace solutions rather than this particular war (which appears to be unstoppable) such as creating focus groups for education and awareness (for instance children's groups here learning about the lives of Afghani children or groups of elders here learning about elders in Afghanistan);
  • build collaborative relationships with other groups such as churches and schools;
  • on a personal level, how do I demonstrate my participation in this peace group and orientation to the people I interact with every day?;
  • Discuss the 'why' of non-violence and whether people in our culture actually care about is, and if not, how can we change? And how do we get information out to people without being preachy to people who are already stressed out and frightened? What form does the information need to take to be heard, to be palatable?;
  • use the Tacoma TV Channel for publicity (perhaps interviews of members of this group);
  • present a film ("Long Night's Journey into Day" is being shown by other groups; we could get it and coordinate with them) Follow the film event with time for discussion and conversation
  • create smaller public events on the model of the 'house concert' ("at home" salons and discussions in a private home, or coffee shop, or church), we can produce a guide to facilitating these events
  • develop our community as something similar to a 'hate-free zone' (already a national movement)

Those suggestions were seen to fall into 6 major categories of ideas:

  1. large, one-time public events (concert, meetings, speakers, film)
  2. smaller public events (salons, conversation cafes, 'at home' concerts, focus groups, study group)
  3. Publicity/Media (TV, radio, newspaper articles and letters, website, email)
  4. Internal group events (non-violence study group, how to get the word out, finding new language)
  5. external outreach (leafleting, posters, designing a flag, vigils, collaboration with other groups, hate-free zone, words into action, international connections, letters to those in government)
  6. Misc. (Working Assets' free calls to the White House, etc.)

There was discussion about how to address these items, which first considered dividing into two categories: internal and external. However, the group realized that these two are not opposites and could go on in a parallel way, with our internal discussions and studies proceeding alongside the creation of smaller and larger actions and events. This would help us continue having the conversations we have been having as the whole process of peace-building involves ongoing conversations among ourselves and with others.

It was agreed that the large community events had 3 purposes:

  1. To create a public occasion to address the question "what does peace look like?"(It was agreed that this language is better than saying "opposition to war")
  2. To create a place for individuals to make their statements
  3. To recruit new people for ongoing activities (there could be small tables at these larger events where we could pass out a short facilitator guide that would encourage individuals to start holding small salons at home; there could be sign up tables for the larger group or to recruit helpers for individual larger or smaller events, etc)

Continued discussion in the whole group resulted in the creation of the 4 committees listed at the beginning of these minutes. If you are interested in joining any committee, please call the contact person. It was agreed that the group's own internal study, discussion, and grappling with various aspects of current events and issues would proceed every week, perhaps with a certain amount of time devoted to it each week, alongside the work of the committees, attendance at the vigil (please come and invite others), personal letter-writing and whatever else we all do individually.

Consideration was given to committees taking 1 hour of the Saturday morning time to meet together, although this wasn't decided clearly.

There was discussion of the ongoing vigil, how it seems to get getting smaller, and the possibility of a time change. It was agreed to hold the next 2 vigils on Wednesday from 12:30 to 1:30, and then, beginning Wednesday November 7th, to change the time to 5:00 to 6:00, and since it will be dark by then, to make it a candlelight vigil. Bring candles in glass containers and signs. Tell the people you know who are members of the other groups you attend. Tell friends.

It was agreed that the next meeting will be a continuation and revisiting of these committee topics and proposals (with reports from the committees as appropriate). Also, in order to continue our own internal focus, it was agreed that the topic of the introductory 'go round' will be to ask each person to offer their thoughts on the meaning of non-violence, so reflect a bit and bring a brief statement of those reflections. Ursula agreed to facilitate the meeting if we agreed to support her learning process as a facilitator. We agreed. Thanks Ursula, and thanks to all who attend, and to the member who led us in song at the end of the meeting: "Wouldn't it be wonderful/glorious if all the children of the world could live in peace!"

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