Minutes of MVPP Meeting, July 27, 2004

The following were in attendance: Don Abbott, Becci Backman, Lou Bernieri, Michael Bleiweiss, Arthur Brien, Jane Cadarette, Peter Cameron, Bobbie Goldman, Barbara Haack, Brian Quirk, Nikki Rosen, Mary Kate Small, and Boryana Tacconi. We extended a warm welcome to new friends, Mary Misrahi and Diana Philip.

Treasurer's Report: Peter reported a current balance of $3,380.48, reflecting the costs of the July newsletter and the recent payment for a shipment of flags from Italy. 450 flags have now been shipped with approximately half of the order already called for. Our first order of 300 flags was sold out in less than a year.

Membership: Becci reported that current membership stands at 110; counting couples and other family members, the total number would grow by 20 to 30 more.

By-laws Revision: Becci reported that a small group consisting of Kathie, Brenda, Don, and herself had met twice this month to consider revisions of the by-laws to reflect the name, purpose, and practice of MVPP, as they have evolved over recent years. Draft copies were circulated and discussed. Because a vote by the directors is required to make changes in the by-laws, we decided to call a directors' meeting for 6:30 PM on August 4, 2004. At that time, they also will be asked to approve a special proxy vote by members to approve the name and stated purpose of MVPP. We hope to have all voting finalized by the end of the regular monthly meeting in September. Kudos especially to Becci for her expert leadership of this process.

Newsletter: Congratulations to all who produced the recent issue. There will not be an August issue.

Recent Events: a.) Veterans for Peace Conference. On Thursday July 22nd, 34 songsters from MVPP and the People's Music Network rallied under Mary Kate's leadership to provide a memorable evening of singing during the Veterans for Peace dinner cruise in Boston Harbor. Many thanks to the spirited dedication of Mary Kate and to the assistance of Jim Scott, who led rehearsals and helped direct the evening. Several MVPP members also were in a packed Fanueil Hall the next evening for "Veterans Address the Nation," a program of unsurpassed inspiration voiced by a host of speakers and performers, including Iraq veterans, Daniel Ellsberg, Howard Zinn, Military Families Speak Out, and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. b.) Boston Social Forum; July 23-25. Several members participated in the Forum, held at UMass Boston. As we debriefed our individual experiences at different seminars, workshops, and plenary sessions, we universally affirmed that this was a "teach-in" with an extraordinary degree of expertise and usefulness, plus the kind of hope that was consistently grounded in practical alternatives. Many members expressed interest in attending other forums in this global series. There will be one in Seattle in October 2004 and another in Porto Allegre in winter 2005.

Upcoming Events: a.) Hiroshima Vigil in Andover on August 6; b.) Peace Event in Chelmsford, August 14, a merit badge activity personally organized by a girls scout, Kristen Williams; Mary Kate, Nikki, Brien, Becci, Linda, and Ralph are considering attending; c.) The World Says No to the Bush Agenda on August 29; buses are being organized and members were encouraged to sign up, with many planning to attend; d.) Bread and Roses Festival, September 6; we voted $25.00 for a permit once again to set up a table at this annual Labor Day event; e.) Concert at Imagine Studios in Newburyport on September 11; f.) MVPP 20th Anniversary Benefit Concert, September 18. Mary Kate continues to organize this event. Brian volunteered to help with the printed program. Don and Kathie will handle publicity. We decided not to do an ad book per se, and instead to seek sponsors for this anniversary celebration, with names printed in the concert program. We agreed on ticket prices at $15 and $10 for seniors and students; g.) Economic Forum with Mike Prokosch in Andover on October 19.

Budget Allocations: In addition to the Bread and Roses expenditure cited earlier, we voted $250 to support Sean Donohue's work in Colombia in August.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 7:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Don Abbott, Clerk


Minutes of MVPP Meeting, August 24, 2004

The following were in attendance: Don Abbott, Becci Backman, Michael Bleiweiss, Arthur Brien, Peter Cameron, Lynne Edwards, Ralph Galen, Bobbie Goldman, Barbara Haack, Brian Quirk, Kathie Robinson, Masood Sheikh, Boryana Tacconi, Jacob Zar, and Winnie Zar. We were joined by a reporter and a photographer from the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, who were helping prepare an article about Merrimack Valley residents who intend to participate in the upcoming August 29th demonstration in New York: "The World Says No to the Bush Agenda."

Treasurer's Report: Peter and Becky reported a current balance of $3,738.95, including recent receipts from the Cuttyhunk Island community, secured by Jim and Mary Todd, and receipts from a very successful day on August 14 in Chelmsford, organized by Kristin Williams, as part of a peace event she designed in fulfillment of Girls Scout Merit Badge responsibilities.

By-laws Revision: Becci, Don, and Bobbie reported that a quorum of 8 directors met on August 4 to discuss and vote on proposed by-laws revisions. They unanimously passed the version members had seen at the July 27th meeting, with one amendment: that all language be made "gender free." Directors also approved a procedure for members to vote by proxy with regard to the new name and stated purpose of MVPP, if members are unable to vote in person at the next monthly meeting on September 28, 2004.

Membership: Becci informed us that a regular membership renewal will accompany the proxy vote mailing, scheduled for September 2. If everyone renews, the roster of individual members will total 111.

Newsletter: We reaffirmed our earlier decision to publish the next newsletter according to our normal September schedule, mailing it just prior to the regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Barbara reviewed topics and items to be covered, and she received several offers of volunteer help. There was particular interest in publishing a list of recommended readings for members.

Web Site Updates: Bobbie again expressed concern that our web site needs more regular attention. Boryana offered to be of assistance.

Recent Events: a.) Hiroshima Vigil in Andover on August 6; Don thanked all who participated in this moving vigil, attended by approximately 35 people; b.) UJP brunch; Ralph attended and gave rave reports about his experience there, which featured very positive reviews on the Boston Social Forum; Ralph urges other members to attend these valuable brunches each month (next one is 9/26).

Upcoming Events: a.) New York Demonstration, "The World Says No to the Bush Agenda," on August 29; at least 8-10 members will be attending. Bobbie asked us to consider officially endorsing the event. After considerable discussion, with a majority in favor but some opposed, we decided to table the idea. We agreed that we need to develop clearer understandings of limitations placed by our tax-exempt status on partisan political activity by MVPP; b.) Bread and Roses Festival in Lawrence on Labor Day; 9 members intend to attend, and Becci will be the point person for logistics and tabling activity; c.) Concert at Imagine Studios in Newburyport on September 11; Becci is coordinating the tabling and needs one more volunteer to make it work; d.) MVPP 20th Anniversary Benefit Concert on September 18; we reviewed logistics and publicity and ticket sales for this special event; Mary Kate is the point person and Don is handling press releases and fliers; e.) Economic Forum at Memorial Hall Library in Andover, at 7:00 PM on October 19, with guest speaker, Michael Prokosch; Northbridge Alliance will serve as a co-sponsor, to be joined by other organizations we are also approaching.

Priority Action: Ralph and others voiced special concern that we give particular time, especially at the beginning of the new school year, to the issues surrounding military recruitment in our public schools. In the forefront is the work being undertaken by Jose Cruz and others in Lawrence to educate high school students and parents about how they may exercise their rights under section 9528 of the "No Child Left Behind" Act. Families have the option to request that no information about one's child be disclosed to any military recruiter, without prior written consent. We formally voted to adopt this initiative as a top priority in the coming weeks.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 at 7:30 PM. Given the high importance of many items on the agenda-especially the vote on the organization's name and stated purpose, the planning for the October 19th Economic Forum, and the issue of military recruitment in schools-we encourage maximum attendance.

Respectfully submitted,

Don Abbott, Clerk