Rochester, New York
VETERANS FOR PEACE, Chapter 23, MINUTES of meeting 12/16/20
Present: James Swarts, Jack Spula, Jeremiah Knowles, Bruce Pease, Roger Griswold, Mick Cole, Dave Logsdon, and Mike Stuart
NEW CHAPTER SECRETARY
Jeremiah Knowles has accepted the position of Chapter 23 secretary.
Marybeth was unfortunately not present at the meeting and was unable to give a treasurer’s report. However, James reported that Chapter 23 was able to donate $300 from the chapter and account and Chapter members contributed approximately an additional $600.
Marybeth talked with Hector, from the deported veterans project, has a movie that will be released soon on Netflix but no release date as of yet. James Swarts met with Garett Reppenhagen about a letter for Gov. Cuomo in order to pardon Hans, the veteran in NYC at risk of being deported back to the Dominican Republic. James has yet to receive the letter to sign.
James Swarts that he recently reached out to Evan Dawson to request to discuss the Deported Veterans Advocacy Projects on his 1370 Connections program on WXXI-AM. On a recent show Evan Dawson highlighted No One Left Behind - interpreters who are being left behind in Iraq and Afghanistan after serving US forces with the promise of being able to come to the United States. James requested being able to to discuss with Evan the issue of Deported Veterans. James shared the positive response he received from Evan during the meeting.
"Hi Jim -
Good to hear from you. And you're right: these are valid points that many people might not know about. As you suggested, I will keep you on the top of mind for when this topic resurfaces for us.
RISE UP (MAILING SERVICES)
We use a program called Rise Up that provides mailing services for liberal organizations. Rise Up is currently fundraising in order to keep providing these services. Usually Chapter 23 donates $50 to contribute to the program. The executive committee suggests another $50 donation. Mike Stuart made a motion to approve the donation, Bruce Pease seconded. Unanimously approved by all members present.
VFP NATIONAL INITIATIVES
National VFP has a social hour at 6pm on Thursday that has not been popular. Roger has been attending semi-regularly and reports low attendance for the social hour. National VFP has recently sent out a fundraising letter in order to have enough money to have a representative in Washington DC. Chapter 23 members are encouraged to contribute.
Save our VA campaign has been advocating against the privatization of the VA and expanding the timeframes of services. Chapter 23 discussed the Biden Presidential appointment to VA; Denis McDonough, who is not a veteran as well. This pick has not been well received and additionally has no experience in health care issues.
VFP National has recently started a new social event from 8pm - 12pm, an open mic night. Tune in to hear music from VFP members and affiliates. This Friday, December 18th, VFP National is hosting a social hour called “Peace on Earth” at 8pm. You can register to attend here; https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwud-2tqzwjE9NOcnZwrrT-Uw8zWc-jxFyv.
CHINA WORKING GROUP
The China working group through National, are drafting a statement for VFP to present to the Biden administration to tone down the rhetoric. The China working group has put out information that Warmongers are advocating for conflict. China should be looked at as a competitor but not an enemy. The China Working is advocating hard in hopes to avoid conflict with China. One of the major concerns is that the main global currency would be the Yuan instead of the Dollar. Both China and India have more than 1 Billion people each.
POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN
Marybeth will talk about the Poor Peoples’ Campaign Jubilee platform during the next meeting.
2021 GOALS AND BLM
Chapter 23 members discussed goals for 2021 year. Mike proposed a greater focus on supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. James shared the Veterans for Black Lives Matter t-shirts through the national office. Several Chapter 23 members attended some of the protests since the beginning of the protests. In Rochester the group called Free the People Roc has been one of the main local organizations organizing the protests. Their information can be found mostly on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The most recent rally was protesting the recent release of an ethics probe into the murder of Daniel Prude that showed no wrong doing on behalf of city officials. The Rochester City Council has hired an outside probe into the incident. The State Attorney General’s investigation is also still ongoing.
Dave Logsdon joined the meeting and shared the National VPF election results. Dave will unfortunately not be on the board the next year. Dave will still be involved with the National Membership Committee and will be the chair. Dave was the “old white guy” in the group until recently. After the BLM movement came to the forefront, there was a huge spike in membership in Veterans for Peace which has been primarily Post 9/11 veterans. Unfortunately, the younger veterans have not made it to the local meetings. The membership committee is still planning on how to address integrating and maintaining the younger veterans in local meetings. Dave reviewed the roll of the board in Veterans for Peace. Dave shared information about VFP show Veterans Stand Down. Episodes can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqn9EcWt1EY&list=PLa3WV8IXRsZVKuy1kE6V-XBiVKGy3nI7A. This show provides insight into the perspective of National VFP and younger veteran members.
Via Zoom, Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 7 PM. Chapter 23 members can email James Swarts in order to invite guest speakers.
Watch for email with a link to join.