VETERANS FOR PEACE, Chapter 23, MINUTES of meeting 7/15/20
Present: Marybeth Knowles, Bruce Pease, Bruce Freeman, Jack Spula, Steve Heveron-Smith, James Swarts, Michael Stuart, David Logsdon (St. Paul,/Minneapolis, Minnesota Chapter)
Minutes of the June 17, 2020, meeting were approved.
Treasurer’s report by Marybeth Knowles. Current balance--$1032.99; $100 paid to National for chapter ad; payment to Zoom by Jim Swarts to be reimbursed.
Virtual convention from August 2 through August 9, 2020; access to the business meeting is free (1:00 pm on August 8, no need to register for the convention); registration fee is $75 (reduced admission and booklet), $100 (regular admission and booklet), $125 (admission, booklet and swag bag). Link to the convention information, including the agenda, on the national Veterans for Peace website: https://vfp2020.attendease.com . Dave Logsdon had high praise for “Poetry Night,” and the workshops.
SAVE OUR VA---CONCERNED VETERANS OF AMERICA
The Koch-funded “Concerned Veterans of America” misinformation campaign claiming the quality of medical care provided by the VA is subpar was discussed. Dave Logsdon said the campaign “dresses up” its emails and characterized it as a “money grab.”
The Veterans for Peace publication “Peace Action” is no longer and will be replaced with the “Peace Sentinel.” Writers and articles are solicited. Marybeth is going to submit an article about the Poor People’s Campaign. Emily Yates is the new editor. Dave Logsdon said Emily is an Iraq war veteran and a talented songwriter, singer, poet and essayist.
Bruce Freeman put a July 2020 article by William Hartung on the Chapter 23 website. The article has an excellent discussion of the 1033 program (supplying military equipment to police departments). The article describes how police officers’ attitudes toward the general public can be affected by the availability of military equipment. Bruce said he has so far been unable to find the government website which keeps track of the equipment which has been supplied to local departments. The existence of the website is mandated by the federal statute (statute is posted on the Chapter 23 website). Jim Swarts remembers seeing some huge military vehicle used by the Rochester Police Department or the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Jim noted Sheriff Tom Baxter was a speaker at the Memorial Day ground-breaking ceremony for the War on Terror memorial. Jim also noted that neither the Sheriff nor the Police Chief has attended the local Black Lives Matter rallies.
POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN
Marybeth said the Black Lives Matter movement has infused the campaign with more energy—including an increase in numbers and a stronger voice (meeting with members of Congress, for example). Marybeth described the new “Jubilee Platform” and noted the Campaign’s opposition to religious nationalism and the demand that resources be directed away from the military for people’s needs. Marybeth is going to submit an article about the “Jubilee Platform” to the Peace Sentinel. Here is a link to the “Jubilee Platform” on the Poor People’s Campaign’s website: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/PPC-Policy-Platform_7-14_v5.pdf
Dave Logsdon described the three-hour “Peacestock” online gathering which begins at 2:00 this Saturday July 18, 2020. The event is sponsored by Dave’s VFP Chapter. Norman Solomon and Andrew Bacevich will speak. Here is a link to more information: http://peacestockvfp.org
The Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace is holding a vigil at the traffic circle in Avon, New York at 7:30 p on August 5, 2020. It was agreed Chapter 23 will participate as a chapter activity. Jack Spula suggested going to the Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace website to sign up to participate and for any updates.
BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS/RALLIES
The local Saturday rallies are continuing. Melanin Market on Saturday July 18, 2020.
AUGUST CHAPTER 23 OUTDOOR GATHERING---TABLED
Because of the uncertainty about holding group gatherings, no August gathering was scheduled.
Next meeting: August 19, 2020, 7:00 pm---Virtual by Zoom