Meeting opened at 7pm

Attendance: Doug Rawlings, Don Kimball, Dave Larsen, Dan Ellis, Kathy Coughlin, Sally Chappell, Kristina Wolff, Dan Glover, Peggy Akers, Lynn Ellis, Peter Morgan, Adam Toothaker, Larry Gilbert, Tom Whitney, Martha Spiess, Katherine Young, Eric Herter, Suzanne Hedrick, John Morris.Inspiration(s): Wabanaki Greeting (Don Kimball); poem by Sigfried Sassoon,”Does it Matter?” (from WW1),(Doug Rawlings); Quote from Oscar Arias (Nobel Laureate from Costa Rica),(Sally Chappell).

Secretary’s Report: November meeting minutes accepted as written.

Treasurer’s Report: End of year (2023) balance is $3779.71. This is less than in 2022 but the anticipated check in February from MaineShare should boost this amount by somewhere in the neighborhood of $3000.

Chapter dues ($35) for 2024 are due.Please send checks to Lynn Ellis at Maine VFP, P.O.Box 92, Brunswick ME 04011 or renew on the Chapter website (vfpmaine.org).

It was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously to provide $700 to Don Kimball for “Proudly We Serve”, his ongoing project to feed the homeless in Portland. Don expressed his sincere thanks for the donation.

Don reported that donations of warm clothing are always welcome and are greatly appreciated by him and by the recipients.

He also welcomes help with food distribution in Portland on Saturdays.Contact him at don.kimball@yahoo.com.

Ongoing and upcoming events of interest:

  • Every Saturday, 1-3 pm, Longfellow Square, Portland, rally for cease fire in Gaza.
  • Wednesday, January 3, 10am, State House, Augusta, rally for gun legislation. Contact Lynn Ellis at lynnsellis62@gmail.com for more info.
  • Sunday, January 14, 1pm, Armory, Western Ave., Augusta, rally to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.
  • Monday, January 15, 4:30pm, U.S.Post Office, Belfast, celebration of Martin Luther King Day.
  • Tuesday, January 23, Washington DC, tentative meeting with Senators Collins and King on banning assault weapons. Contact Peter Morgan at psmorganjr@aol.com
  • Wednesday, February 14 and every Saturday from Feb. 17 to Mar. 30, 11:30am-12:30pm, Bath Iron Works, Washington St., Bath, rally and vigil for the conversion of BIW to peaceful use.
  • Saturday, April 27, Maine State Library, Augusta, start of VFP Peace Walk from Maine to Washington DC. Planning for the walk is currently underway.
  • Friday, June 7, Lewiston, unveiling of Rob Shetterly’s portrait of Dr. Bernard Lown. Larry Gilbert will provide updates.

Doug reported that the state of Maine has declined to prosecute VFP member Dud Hendrick and the other activists who were arrested for a sit in at the office of Representative Jared Golden to protest U.S. complicity in Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Their arraignment had been scheduled for January 10 in Bangor. Dud and the other defendants were looking forward to a jury trial in an attempt to increase public awareness of the atrocities being perpetrated on the Palestinian citizens of  Gaza by the Israeli government.

Doug reported that over 240 TV stations will show the documentary “Truth Tellers”, the story of Rob Shetterly’s portraits of over 200 courageous human rights defenders.

Adam Toothaker reported that he has made repeated calls to the offices of the Maine Congressional delegation to protest Israel’s bombing and invasion of Gaza and urges everyone to do the same.
The meeting concluded with a short discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. No one defended the Israeli position.
Next meeting (via Zoom) will be on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7pm.