Members present – Doug Rawlings, Peter Woodruff, Peter Morgan, Richard Clement, Dud Hendrick, Peggy Akers, Dave Larsen, Clarence Smith, Sally Chappell, Eric Herter, Dan Ellis, Don Kimball, John Morris
Moment of Inspiration – Remembrance of Stan Lofchie by Doug, Dan, and Eric
Presentation by Barbara Arsenault representing Moms Demand Action (for gun control).She gave an overview of the organization’s goals and actions including a survey on veteran suicide given to veterans organizations, VFP being the only veterans group to respond. In 2018 VFP recorded forty seven suicides, of which 75% were by firearms.Gun suicides were higher in states with lax gun regulation. MDA is also asking physicians to inquire about firearm ownership as part of all routine physical exams and encouraging government agencies to institute firearm buy back programs wherever possible.Peter Morgan thanked chapter members for their support of MDA by wearing orange to meetings and for testifying before the Maine Legislature in support of Red Flag laws. Although proposed legislation has not yet become law, it will be reintroduced in upcoming sessions.Ms.Arsenault will provide links to the chapter regarding future MDA activities here in Maine.
Secretary’s Report – December meeting minutes (by Doug) were accepted as written.
Treasurer’s Report – Dan reported that we have $805.82 in checking and $4,630.25 in savings and that we now have two megaphones in case anybody wants to amplify themselves.
Richard reported that checks from Maineshare are on the way. Maineshare is still undergoing reorganization.
Doug reported that he had contact with a representative from the Lewiston-Auburn Memorial Park regarding “stones” for the park.The gentleman was invited to our meeting but did not appear.The issue did not generate much interest on the part of the members present.
Discussion was held on the possibility of hosting a monthly film series. Doug showed a few minutes of an HBO film “Letters Home From Vietnam” but the video quality was poor. Doug will contact Ellen Davidson for technical assistance..”Sir, No Sir” (GI resistance to the Vietnam war) is another film that could be shown. The project will undergo further development.
A motion was made,seconded, and passed unanimously to donate $500 to help with the production of the monthly newspaper Peace and Planet News. The paper is currently undergoing a transition to an on line form. Besides covering topics relevant to the core mission of VFP it will include articles on various aspects of social justice.
Sally reported on a new project by noted peace activist Paul Chappell on the subject of peace literacy. His web site is http://www.peaceliteracy.org/. Sally will investigate the possibility of having Paul speak at one of our meetings and/or contributing an article to Peace and Planet News.
Don reported that he has contacted the Archives Department at USM regarding donating our own VFP archives to them but has not yet received a response.
Chapter members participated in a peace action at Bath Iron Works on Jan. 22nd to celebrate the implementation of the U N treaty outlawing nuclear weapons (which the US is not a party to). The treaty is particularly relevant to BIW since the Aegis destroyers which they build are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Discussion was held on Covid-19 vaccinations.Several meeting attendees related their personal experiences in trying to get a vaccination but the process at this point seems to be rather haphazard and it looks like it will be everyone for themselves for the time being.Good luck to all.Call Peggy if you have questions or if you can provide any information.
Meeting ended with a wide ranging discussion on topics of general interest.
Meeting adjourned at 8:50 pm. Next meeting (via Zoom) on Thursday, Feb.25th.