Meeting opened at 7:04 pm by President Doug Rawlings
Attendees: Dog Rawlings, Dan Ellis, John Morris, Don Kimball, Dave Larsen, Richard Clement, Robin Spencer, Peter Woodruff, Peter Morgan, Eric Herter, Dud Hendrick, Peggy Akers, Suzanne Hedrick, Martha Spiess, Tom Whitney, Thomas Tubman, Sally Chappell
Inspirational message by Ralph Waldo Emerson read by Doug
Don K. introduced three members of the Deported Vets Advisory Project. Speaking for the group, Jesus Valenzuela explained that 3700 veterans who were not US citizens have been deported over a 22 year period. These vets, many of whom suffer from PTSD, receive none of the benefits provided to vets who are US citizens. A video was shown on the history of these deportations and featured the personal experiences of some of these vets.As part of their lobbying efforts, DVAP advocates for VA jurisdiction (instead of ICE) and for an executive order from President Biden to address the problem. Jesus will provide us with talking points for calls to the White House on behalf of the deported individuals.
March Secretary’s report accepted as written.
Treasurer’s report: $6334.78 in the treasury as of 4/29/2021
Membership: Doug and Peggy will send dues renewal letters to members by June 1.Suggested amount is $30. Members are also encouraged to join the National VFP.
Archives: Dan will store all archival material. Anyone in possession of such should deliver it to Dan. Doug and others will peruse the material already collected at the May 17 Tax Day Rally in Brunswick for possible use by Bates College.
Tax Day May 17th Rally on the Green in Brunswick: 12 noon to 2pm. Martha S. is coordinating and Dan will set up the sound system. Speakers have already been lined up but anyone else who wishes to speak or read poetry is welcome.
Moms Demand Action: Peter M. will provide info on the bills currently in the Maine Legislature. A MDA representative will speak at our May meeting. Members are encouraged to wear orange to the meeting for a group picture. Thanks to Dave Larsen for testifying before the legislative committee at the State House.
Warrior Songs: Chapter has donated $500 for the project. We will receive a DVD and six CDs of songs sung by veterans. For another $200 we can get films on various topics such as veteran suicides – Doug will investigate.
White Nationalism: Don K. will bring material relating WN to the Military to the May meeting.
Memorial Day Parade: Dan reported that he has not received any information as to the possibility of a Brunswick parade but that he doubts that one will take place. No info on any other parades.
Outreach: Peggy and Doug spoke to a high school class on alternatives to military recruitment and are scheduled for another talk in the near future.
Doug took part in a panel on immigration and will receive a video featuring the stories of Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants. Peter M. and John travelled to the border at Houlton with the banner for nuclear disarmament and photographed it at various points between Houlton and Augusta.
Maineshare: Richard reported that the proposed merger of Maineshare and Maine Initiative is still in the discussion stage and that Maineshare is in favor of a merger. Maineshare does not believe that the present model for fundraising is sustainable in the future. Contributors to Maineshare may designate which organizations should receive their contributions if they wish. We have accumulated more than enough points to secure our share of distribution of funds for this year. Richard will provide Maineshare with our chapter activities. Maineshare will issue dues amounts for the year by May 30th.
A welcome was extended to our newest member, Tom Tubman, a Navy veteran. Welcome aboard Tom.
BIW: Vigils on the first three Saturdays of May from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm/ All are welcome.
Tom Whitney reported on a joint US – Russian project for cooperation on nuclear disarmament. He referenced a letter that has been written to bring attention to the 1961 McCloy-Zorin agreement between the two countries addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament and will post the letter on the listserv. Individuals and organizations may sign on in support of the agreement. Discussion of the letter will be held at the next meeting.
Don K. reported on Senator King’s recent statement on the Russian military. He and Doug will compose a response from the chapter to the statement. It may be possible to write a joint letter with the Russian chapter of VFP.
Don reported on Governor Mills’ recent agreement with Northeast Delta Dental to provide free health care for Maine residents.
Doug reported on the need to pressure Rep. Jared Golden to support the Medicare for All bill in Congress. Contact Doug for more info.
Matthew Hoh will be Don Kimball’s guest on his show Friendly Fire (WMPG – Wednesdays – 1pm) the next two weeks. The topic will be US Military withdrawal from Afghanistan.