VFP Chapter 34 Meeting Minutes - November 15, 2007
VFP Chapter 34 Meeting Minutes - November 15, 2007
Attendees: 18 (Bob Carpenter, Hugh Bruce, Bob Grossman, Al Stolzer, Sally Davidson, June Svetlovsky, John MacDougall, Arthur Wasserman, Kathy Hager, Frank Stearns, John Baldwin, Lionelle Hamanaka, Bob Davidow, Gabe Falsetta, Bill Davis, John Milmore, Terry Taffe, Bob Keilbach).
1. Introductions/Meeting Minutes - The meeting started with introductions at 7 PM, chaired by Ch 34 VP Hugh Bruce. Minutes of the November 1 meeting, previously distributed by e-mail, and by hard copy at the meeting, were approved.
2. Treasury Report - Bob C has been trying to contact the Community Church, to reduce our current rent, and a fund-raising letter has been drafted, addressed to donor supporters. Comments regarding the letter will be incorporated, and a final version issued before the next chapter meeting. Meeting attendees contributed toward the cost of the meeting room at the Community Church.
3. Veterans Day Parade - Sunday November 11 - We had a sizable contingent marching in the annual NYC Parade, presenting our antiwar message as a counterpoint to the pro-war groups participating. We had chapter banners, “Bring them Home Now” banners, carried signs, a flag-draped coffin, and distributed literature at the parade. Our contingent was stopped at one point because of parade officials’ objection to the distribution of our literature, but we were permitted to continue provided we handed out leaflets on the sidewalk. There were no problems with the messages conveyed on our banners and signs. There were reportedly far less participants in the parade this year, apparently reflecting the anti-militarism mood of the NY populace, which allowed our group to step off at 12:30PM, earlier than in past years. As usual, the crowd was very supportive of our message.
Following the parade, there was a very well-attended speakout at St Mark’s in the Bouwerie, focusing on shutting down the detention camp at Guantanamo, which included a memorial by Vinie Burrows to our brother Dave Cline.
4. Holiday Party - The Holiday Party committee, consisting of Bob Grossman, June Svetlovsky and Lionelle Hamanaka, had no report at this time. They are currently calling local venues regarding availability in January 2008.
5. Proposed Counter-Recruitment Event on 125 St. - a meeting was held Wednesday evening to discuss the event with Bob Gumbs, who is the Green Party candidate running for Congress against Charles Rangel. Three of the six attendees were Chapter 34 members. Gumbs has proposed a counter-recruitment “teach-in” event on 125 St., on a weekday, with follow-up at public high schools. Some attendees expressed concern about the racial makeup of the organizing committee; Hugh recommended contacting BVSJ for support. Members involved in organizing the event will report back at a subsequent chapter meeting, for possible further Chapter 34 involvement.
Discussion of this event brought up the lack of follow-up on the recommendations from earlier this year of the Chapter 34 events planning subcommittee. It was agreed that the agenda for the next meeting should include revisiting this issue, and hopefully decide on what antiwar activities we can do as a chapter.
6. Chapter Banners – Bob G asked for a new banner for use at the Wednesday vigils in midtown, expressing our demand to Bring Our Troops Home Now. Frank has an extra banner from the Queens vigil, which will be conveyed to Bob for his use next Wednesday afternoon.
7. Levitt Letter - Hugh read a letter from N. Levitt, written after a motion he made at the last meeting to prohibit distribution of a particular member’s literature was not approved, basically on free speech grounds. The letter expressed his concern about the “far left wing” orientation of the chapter.
8. Speaking on Subways & Buses - At the last chapter meeting, Jay Janson reported on his lecturing on buses and subways to thousands of passengers during the last two months, as being a positive way of getting our antiwar message out. His report was well received, with a big round of applause.
9. New Business/Upcoming Events
a. Friday November 16, and the third Friday of each month thereafter, 12-2PM - Iraq Moratorium/Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign demonstration, Washington Square Park. Raindate: Saturday Nov. 17th 12-2PM
b. November 16-18 – Annual SOA/WHISC Vigil and the Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the School of the Americas, Fort Benning, GA
c. Friday November 30 – MFSO fundraiser with speakers, at Holy Name Church, 207 West 96 St. at Amsterdam Avenue, NYC. 6 - 9PM. Contact Lionelle at 646 2628578
d. January 12, 2008 - Memorial service for David Cline, NYC
10. Peace Vigils - VFP members currently participate in four ongoing weekly peace vigils at locations throughout NYC:
! Grandmothers for Peace - Vigil for Peace at Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue between 49 - 50 St. every Wednesday afternoon from 4:30 - 5:30 PM.
! Women in Black - Silent Peace Vigil at 41 St and Fifth Avenue every Wednesday afternoon 5:30 - 6:30 PM
! VFP/Queens Network for Peace & Justice - 2 Peace Vigils, one at Continental Av & Austin St. in Forest Hills, and one in front of the Flushing Library, Saturday morning from 11AM - 12 Noon
These vigils have been a positive means of educating the public regarding efforts to defund the Iraq war and end the occupation, bring our troops home, and provide information to counter military recruiters, as well as attempt to attract new members.
11. Meeting Schedule – First and Third Thursday of each month, posted on the Calendar at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vfpnyc034
The next 3 general meetings of NYC Chapter 34 are scheduled for:
! Thursday December 6, 2007 - 7:00 PM at 28 E.35 Street
! Thursday December 20, 2007 - 7:00 PM at 28 E.35 Street
! Thursday January 3, 2008 - 7:00 PM at 28 E.35 Street
The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday December 3, at 25 W. 43 St. in the 19th floor conference room from 6:30 - 9 PM