Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
April 24, 2014
Unitarian Universalist Church
Brunswick, Maine

Inspirations: Robin remembered the 11th anniversary of the people of Puerto Rico stopping the US Navy bombing range on Vieques. There is still much contamination on and around the island. Smitty was chosen ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by the state….good work Smitty!

Present: Rita Clement, Clarence Smith, Richard Clement, Bruce Gagnon, Robin Spencer, Dan Ellis, Peter Woodruff, Nicole Moreau, Dovey Balsam, Bud Buzzell, Dave Crowley, Ed McCarthy, Regis Tremblay

Secretary Report: Minutes from last meeting accepted and are on the web site

Treasurer Report: Accepted.

Membership: Now have 124 members, 96 are currently paid-up with dues.

MaineShare: May 14 is the annual meeting from noon to 4:00 pm at the Bangor Savings Bank in Augusta. The MaineShare 25th annual party is June 17 at Bowdoin College at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $25. All are invited to attend. The chapter will send $250 to MaineShare for an advert in their celebration booklet.

Other Announcements:

  • VFP will co-sponsor talk by Adolph Reed on May 10 at library in Brunswick
  • VFP previously authorized $500 for the Tri-County event on June 28 in Lewiston
  • VFP national convention in Asheville, NC on July 23-27. Chapter approved an additional $500 so that Rita and Richard can both attend. We will put the economic conversion theme into our chapter advertisement in national convention booklet. Dan and Bruce will work it up.

Full Disclosure Vietnam War: Doug has a check made out to our chapter for $500 for some yet to be determined work on the national’s Full Disclosure project. Doug and Bruce going to NYC for the April 26 kick-off Full Disclosure event.

April 5 Meeting: The meeting of representatives from many peace groups was held in Brunswick on April 5. Dan attended for a short while for VFP. Primary discussion there was conversion and setting up displays at fairs this summer/fall. They will do something at the Peace Fair in Brunswick on August 2. They have much interest in any state legislation around setting up a permanent conversion planning commission.

BIW Protest & Asia-Pacific Panels: The Asia-Pacific speaking tour we sponsored drew 50 people to UMO (thanks to Dud for working on this one) and 50 people in Brunswick (Dan & Bruce did this one). Speakers were well received. We only spent $530 on speaker travel and honorarium. Dovey reimbursed Global Network who put up the money. Had 100 people come to BIW Zumwalt stealth destroyer ‘christening’. Regis made an excellent video with interviews of the people who came. Find it here We got advance coverage in the Bangor Daily News and the Times Record.

June 27 Conversion Forum in Bath: A new committee in Bath, that came out of the recent General Dynamics TIF fight in the city, is organizing a public forum on Friday, June 27 in Bath. Purpose is to bring the conversion/diversification issue to greater public debate as first step toward working on a statewide legislative effort to form a permanent conversion planning commission like passed last year in Connecticut. See the June 27 flyer here We hope for good chapter attendance and statewide support for this event. A pot luck supper at 5:30 pm and the forum begins at 6:30 pm. Miriam Pemberton, one of leading conversion experts in the country, will be on the panel.

Common Ground Fair: Sept 19-21. Richard sent in our registration fee/application. Requesting same two table space as in past years….will cost $205 more for the space. Will need volunteers that weekend.

October Convert War Economy Walk: Continuing on the theme of conversion the chapter agreed to organize another peace walk through the state next October. Bruce is talking with Nipponzan Myohoji about dates (likely beginning the second week of October). The walk would begin in Rangeley where there is consideration of deploying a ground-based ‘missile defense’ system. The walk would pass through Farmington, Livermore Falls, Lewiston, Gray, Portland, Saco, and end in Sanford at the Pratt Whitney jet engine production facility. The walk would underscore the fact that we would get more jobs from federal spending if we built rail, wind, solar rather than weapons. See the study here So far Bruce and Doug are working on the plan. Please let Bruce know if interested in helping.

Memorial Day Parade: We will once again join with PeaceWorks for the Monday, May 26 parade from Topsham to Brunswick. We all wear black and carry our flags. All VFP members are encouraged to attend. More details later.

Regis on Jeju: Regis thanked the chapter for helping to make his recent tour of west-southwest possible. He hit 13 cities in 20 days and The Ghosts of Jeju documentary won the best expose award at the Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival. In Los Angeles he showed the film to 100 people from the Korean community. A young man from Gangjeong village toured with him and played protest music from the Jeju struggle. In August Regis wants to return to Jeju and tour the film, that has been set with Korean subtitles, around South Korea. He asked for $1,000 travel assistance and this was approved.

Worrying: Dovey and Regis talked about their worries about their sons who both are in military now. Neither parent knows exactly where their sons are or what they are doing. Richard shared his and Rita’s struggle when their son was in Iraq. All of us hold their sons in our hearts.

Dems Convention: Ed shared that the Maine Democratic party meets in Bangor on May 30-31. He needs help with some platform amendments he wants to introduce on Israel-Palestine, veterans issues and more. Contact him if interested.

Next Meeting: Will meet on May 29 in Augusta