Meeting notes 12/1/01
We met at Associated Ministries, and thanks to Chris for facilitating. The next meeting will be at the Associated Ministries, Saturday December 8th, 10 am until noon - 1224 S. "I" street - PLEASE COME.
ONGOING VIGIL - WEDNESDAYS 12:30 to 1:30 - in front of the Fed. Blgd, bring a friend! If you can only come for part of the time, that's fine.
Our Website: The address is <www.tacomapjh.org/>
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The meeting began with the community check-in, a summary follows the agenda notes.
We welcomed two new people this week, Julius and Vivian, who are long-time members of the Tacoma peace movement. We then made a "shameless appeal" to attending members, and collected significant donations for the expenses of the upcoming event:
"SEEKING ALTERNATIVES TO WAR: CONFRONTATION OR COOPERATION" taking place on December 15th at 2:00pm at the Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue. Free admission. Bring a friend.
The program committee reported the afternoon's schedule: An M.C. will begin the afternoon, then the Admiral will be introduced, he will speak for 35 minutes or so, and there will be time for questions and answers. The group supported having Janie as MC, and Sallie as introducer if she's willing. It was felt that group members in these roles will help give a personal connection as well as a sense of our group's connection to the event.
Publicity: Sallie reported that flyers (2600 of them) for the event have been mailed (thanks to all of those who came to the mailing party yesterday - there were some people who helped out who aren't able to attend these Saturday meetings). Members took flyers and posters to distribute this week. Many thanks were offered to Sallie and Marion. Sallie has been working very hard on the flyers and the mailing, but says it's been fun. Marion mentioned that it was fun for her to do because of the ease people work together in this group, with openness to receive feedback and offer support. There was discussion about website and email distribution, and Marion will email the flyer text to members, so they can distribute it to people on their personal lists.
Jean is handling electronic promotion.
The Press release is complete and going out this week to all major media, both print and electronic. Carrie W. is handling that.
There are various media people being contacted: Dave Seago for the editorial page of the News Tribune, and Paul Nelson for a radio interview.
The flyer is also being leafleted at one of the bases this week.
Video arrangements are being made, in case of overflow and for other uses.
Logistics: Carl sent an email report/request: he would like volunteers for the day of the event - greeters, ushers, and others to participate in the meeting. Peaceful, happy, smiling people are also needed to sit in the first couple of rows. If you can help out in any of these roles, or want to help with any other logistics, please email him (he is away until Friday, so he will reply after that). Tell him when you are available (what time on Saturday, and/or times during the previous week):
email@example.com (that's carl(and then the numeral '1')anderson, no spaces)
Pam gave a description of the space. There is a large foyer, and there will be tables along the wall, with the donation table near the door to the hall. Carl has suggested that we encourage each endorsing group to bring a relevant piece of literature for distribution and their own volunteer to sit and the table and respond to questions. This group will have sign up sheets and information sheets for the film project, the conversation café project, and the study group project. There are 3 sponsors listed on the flyer ( ) and the group agreed to also invite the ACLU and the Fellowship of Reconciliation to bring flyers and representation. We remembered our intention to create a low paper, focused, dignified foyer atmosphere.
Karen volunteered to handle 'esthetics' with the help of her sister - flowers and so forth. A big Thank You to them both.
Itinerary: Carl will pick up the Admiral Thursday night, and there are meetings with him being arranged for meals. Colleen is organizing the meal assignments, and people are contacting her with the names of invited contacts from people active in the community, colleges and universities, and political representatives.
An excellent article by Barbara Kingsolver is being posted on the website.
Medea Benjamin, the head of Global Exchange, has returned from her trip to Pakistan, and will be available as a speaker for an event in winter, if we decide to do that.
For the community check-in at the beginning of the meeting, members shared reflections about how they are feeling with regard to 9/11 and subsequent events. This is some of what was said, with each paragraph being a summary of the remarks of a different person:
- The moon has been my teacher during these heavy rains where the force of water has been too much for the earth and there has been flooding. When the skies cleared I saw how the moon gives her light unconditionally, trusts her journey, has confidence, and so as I am wading through these deep waters I will think of the moon and be inspired by her power.
- I'm experiencing deep dichotomies: when things are feeling great and then when they are not so good, the conflicts seem louder and the emotional times seem better and deeper.
- I'm experiencing low energy and the winding down of the rhythm of school, and the need to push forward. But overall I am happy, and feel it is great to have a job these days. I do experience the people on my teaching committee feeling that the war is over and we've won, and so what is the next phase? I am concerned about how all this is effecting us here at home.
- The 11th doesn't seem that long ago. I spent Thanksgiving with my parents, who have spent time in the Middle East, so I learned a lot from them. They are also against the war.
- I have been keeping busy with work-required thinking. At first after 9/11 I had down time, and then it took 2 months to come out of it. And now I am more active, less passive now. I am very concerned about the implied assumption that the next step in this 'war' is now Iraq. We may be creating another generation that comes back from war traumatized. I'm glad of the ACLU involvement, because people seem so willing to give up freedoms for security, and that frightens me.
- To me 9/11 seems very distant, perhaps because of all the stuff going on in my life. It seems things haven't changed all that much in this country - though for a while it seemed that they had. I'm so disturbed about things going on in this country that I find I don't care so much about events in Afghanistan right now.
- It seems to me that the country had just begun to mourn and to reach out to each other in caring, as well as to consider strengthening protection - and then suddenly we are at war with a poverty stricken country on the other side of the world, and people are starving. I think if an individual were acting this way in response to those events, they would seem insane. And it seems there will be more war and more bombing, and I am concerned with how politicians are using this grief and chaos as an opportunity to put forward their own agendas.
- I am a part of the Tacoma Friends Meeting and have taken part in their Compassionate Listening Course designed for working with conflict. I have extended the meaning of that to the notion of "compassionate living" where all aspects of your life should include an overarching view of compassionateness. This involves paying attention and not feeling that you have to immediately participate in a conflict, that you can listen and not take part in the steps that lead to military action. It involves resolving not to participate in violence, and then to ask "what are the alternatives to violence?". This also involves acting not as individuals, but involved in groups. So I have come to this meeting to explore what the alternatives might be.
- I was in Paris on 9/11 and then returned to the US, and so I was struck by how arrogant and self-serving our country is. We act as though we are the only ones on the planet, unaware of what is going on in the rest of the world. We are so fortunate in this country, and we need an awareness of our good fortune. In France I saw how people fear war and felt the need for restraint - they felt we should jump into anything. My travel companion had difficulty facing the fact that people in other countries could hate the U.S. so much. I want people to go out and see how different the rest of the world is, and to create a government that would respond to that.
- I am happy today, and grateful to be here. This morning my heart was full, I saw the sail boats and the water, and I was struck with how beautiful Puget Sound is. Those who complain about the weather here should live in Tennessee where I grew up. I appreciate the recent column against "patriotic shopping." I have been doing a lot of learning about opening to grief. Because of my illness, I think I had a fear that my heart would break, and so I closed it for a while, and thus was not so deeply moved by 9/11. In our Thursday night group Jude spoke of reading the Times obits of the 9/11 victims, and of seeing those people as individuals, and I felt a big change. And I found out my son's Spanish teacher lost her brother, who was just leaving the Towers and who they at first thought had survived. She is very private and has been grieving privately. So lately I have been thinking of letting in sorrow.
- I have been traveling a lot, and over Thanksgiving I was in Boston with 27 members of my immediate family. I heard more fear and anxiety in the people in Massachusetts than there has been here. I spent time with people who lost friends of friends. So in this last week I have been reviewing the pictures again in my mind. Though my ability to participate in this group has been limited, I can talk to people about what we're doing. I had a friend in Tucson who made a spontaneous contribution, and got some support from the people in Boston that I old about this group. I can participate in the Vigils, and I like that. I feel powerless to do anything about the war, and I am horrified about the civil liberties losses that I'm sure will come back to haunt us.
- I feel so out of sync everywhere, except with this group. I feel so unequivocally that everything this country is doing is wrong. In other parts of the world on the day we started bombing they felt what we were doing was unilaterally American. What I thought this group was going to be and what I wanted was a study group. I wanted to learn more about Afghanistan, Iraq and Islam. I still would like a study group to go deeply into things. And for myself my life is so busy, I need to create more alone time to reflect on what's going on. And I do look forward to Saturday mornings and Wednesday noon vigils.
- I am feeling thankful for some things This week I views a movie with my students, "Gringo in Mañana Land" which shows thematic clips of Hollywood movies beginning in the 20's which illustrate how you make and shape public opinion through the media (for instance portraying Latin Americans as uneducated children). There were lots of clips from Reagan movies. I compare that to this new phase of war in Afghanistan, and how public opinion is being prepared for the bombing of Iraq, with Bush creating ultimatums, and commentators remarking with no concern on the possible division of Iraq into 3 countries.because we have to 'protect our national security.' This is considered part of the 'plan' to go after terrorist states who don't cooperate with the U.S. The mood is to keep going...I don't know what to do, I feel powerless.we can write the President, have vigils, but.. And Iraq poses no threat. There are 6,000 children dying every day in Iraq because of the U.N. sanctions that the U.S. has influenced so strongly.
- I am have not been able to come to the group until today. I am concerned about the increase in sanctions on Iraq. Instead of the bombing, I want people to go into Afghanistan and help with food and medical care, but it seems it's too late. I appreciate the attitude that encourages the U.S. to be a caring and responsible nation. I am aware that 6 million people are about to die from starvation in Afghanistan. I was certainly devastated by what happened in New York, but there are awful tragedies happening all over the world. I feel the U.S. needs to start caring about the rest of the world. We need to start changing our ways.
- I have been feeling overwhelmed by work and by all that has happened, and I connect with what everyone has said today. There was an article in the Chronicles of Higher Education accusing us of being traitors. When someone wanted to confront me and argue about that issue, I simply refused to engage in that kind of discussion, but said that we want to provide a forum for alternatives to war.
After this check-in, we addressed our meeting agenda reported on above, and ended the meeting with a few moments of silence.
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