Meeting opened by Doug at 7pm
Attendance: Doug Rawlings, Dan Ellis, Larry Gilbert, Peter Morgan, Eric Herter, Dave Larsen, Don Kimball, Suzanne Hedrick, Lynn Ellis, Peggy Akers, Richard Clement, Martha Spiess, John Morris, and guests Helen Jaccard and Matt Hoh
Don read an inspirational poem by Henry David Thoreau
Helen Jaccard gave a short history of the Golden Rule sailboat which has been a project of VFP since 2012 to raise awareness of the dangers of war and nuclear weapons and which is scheduled to be in Maine in June of 2023. The Maine leg of its voyage will begin in Portland on June 19th and from there will sail up the Kennebec River to our beloved Bath Iron Works before returning to Portland, then on to New York City and up the Hudson River on its way to the Great Lakes.
To watch either of two video documentaries on the history and current mission of the Golden Rule and to apply to be a crew member for some part of the voyage, as well as other information on the project, go to: www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org.
Matt Hoh, VFP member, Marine combat veteran, and North Carolina Green Party candidate for the U S Senate, gave a short talk on his candidacy and the efforts of the Democratic Party to keep him off the ballot for the upcoming election in November. These efforts have been successful so far but are being challenged by the Green Party and if justice prevails, his name will be on the ballot. Matt is raising issues that are threatening to the two major parties, foreign policy being one of the most prominent.Their fear of his candidacy is well justified as he is a forceful and articulate advocate for peace and justice.
In his talk he also expressed his views on the Ukraine war, income inequality, climate change (especially as it relates to the U S Military), and other issues
To find out more about Matt and to donate to his campaign go to: www.matthewhohforsenate.org.
Secretary’s Report: June minutes accepted as read.
Treasurer’s Report: (from Lynn Ellis). Total amount in treasury as of 7/28 is $11,056.24.
Anyone who has not received a letter for dues payment should notify either Doug or Peggy. Chapter dues are $35 or whatever you can afford. Please also join VFP National if you can.
Doug gave an outline of events for the August 6th commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ceremonies will begin at 10am at the Franco-American Center on Cedar Street in Lewiston and will feature remarks by current and former mayors of Lewiston and Auburn, and representatives of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pax Christi, and possibly some of the other sponsoring organizations.The program will also include a showing of a documentary on the life and career of Dr. Bernard Lown, physician, inventor, and peace activist, who grew up in Lewiston and for whom the nearby bridge between Lewiston and Auburn has been named (the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge). The day’s events will conclude with the laying of a wreath at the bridge in memory of of the victims of the bombing of the two Japanese cities in 1945.
VFP will have a table at the Center with our usual assortment of materials. Suzanne will bring some peace cranes and Tom Whitney is donating the wreath which will be placed at the bridge.
Masks will be required at the Franco-American Center.
Common Ground Fair – Nothing new to report – final plans will be made at the August meeting.
MaineShare – they are requesting photos from member organizations for their newsletter. Dan showed some VFP photos. Anyone who has some good ones should send them to Dan and he, Doug, Don, and Peggy will decide which ones to submit.
Don reported on the initiative to name the I-95 exit ramp in South Portland after Maine peace activist Samantha Smith. He has written a letter of support for the project and will provide updates on its progress. Suzanne suggested that a postage stamp be issued to commemorate her activism.
It was suggested and unanimously agreed to offer associate membership in the chapter to the widow of Peter Woodruff. Peggy will compose and send a letter to her with this offer.
Larry reported on a webinar on nuclear war that will be hosted by Bruce Gagnon at 3pm on 8/2.
Peter reported that VFP was represented by several marchers at the Old Hallowell Day parade on July 16th. He also attended a memorial service in Portland for a former VFP member
Larry commented on the poor quality of doctor-patient relationships in our current health system and recommended Dr. Lown’s book “The Lost Art of Healing”.
Doug brought up the question of future in-person meetings but no action was taken.
Lynn mentioned that the new website for the Maine Gun Safety Coalition is: www.mainegunsafety.org.
Doug reported that there has been a positive response to the availability of copies of the latest issue of Peace and Planet News at the Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) concerts.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.
Next meeting on August 25th at 7pm (via Zoom).