Economic Justice Team Meeting Minutes

MAY 22, 2019

St. John’s Economic Justice Team, decided to enjoy the evening listening to a program concerning the Underground Railroad in Troy, Ohio.

The program was a joint effort of The Troy Historical Society, and The Museum of Troy History, held at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, 301 W. Main St., in Troy, Ohio.

April 24, 2019

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Kim Thorpe, Caroline Maslowski, and Joyce Swank.

Paul welcomed everyone.

We discussed the Pachamama event about Ghana. Those who attended felt it went well and was well accepted. We are interested in co-hosting future Pachamana dinners.

Action Item

Church council – Council requested to know the amount of the love offering received for Larry Hamilton’s presentation. The amount was $103.

Taco Bell – Joyce reported that she has not heard back from Taco Bell and assumes there will be none. Discussion about environmental concerns in general about plastic straws, plastic in general, and new concerns as China no longer accepts much of our recycled items.

Mary Sue Gmeiner/Showing Up for Racial Justice – Paul indicated he felt this event would be best when we get to the “Ally” section of the White Privilege material, which is a ways off.

Michael Greenman/Move to Amends’ Interfaith Caucus – Possible program

Environmental Issues – Possible program with speaker on global warming, changes in recycling, etc.

Bail Bond – Possible program on changes. Steve Huffman or other legislator on this and other issues we are concerned about.

New Business:

Discussed what Paul will put in upcoming Sunday bulletins and May Journal including summary of Pachamama event and next White Privilalge discussion on 5-8 and business meeting on 5-22.

Paul brought to the group’s attention the we could also consider purchase other resources available from the UCC on economic justice topics.

March 27, 2019

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Ruth Jeffryes, Caroline Maslowski, and Joyce Swank.

Paul welcomed everyone and provided devotions. Ruth provided refreshments.

Paul will write a Journal article and announcements for the Sunday bulletins regarding the Let’s Talk: White Privilege, Pachamama dinner, and the April business meeting.

Those present discussed the presentation by Larry Hamilton. Everyone was pleased with the attendance, the presentation, and the generous love offering.

Action Items:

Taco Bell plastic cups – Joyce has not received a call back and assumes she will not.

Pachamama Dinner – Mary Ann had sent a paper for those to sign up to help with the dinner on Friday, April 12, from 6-8 pm. Team members signed up as follows:

Publicity – We think Lindsay is taking care of this.Drinks and Dish to Share – Drinks – Paul will provide those left from Larry Hamilton event and more if needed

Dishes – Joyce and Ruth

Set Up – Caroline and Joyce

Clean Up – Ruth and Paul if needed (someone should call him)

Products from Pachamama bring and set up display – Caroline, Paul, and Joyce will help Lindsay as needed

Coordination with Lindsay – Mary Ann

Name for White Privilege Discussions – Will use “Let’s Talk: White Privilege”. Was suggested for future topics we could call the “Let’s Talk: ____________.

New Business:

Discussed decision by council to offer St. John’s as a wedding chapel

Next Meeting:

Wed. April 24, 6:30 p.m.

February 27, 2019

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Ruth Jeffryes, Mary Ann Crist, Sarah Wittman, and Deb Hogshead.Paul welcomed everyone and provided devotions. Ruth provided refreshments.

DISCUSSION:

At tonight’s meeting, we discussed the following topics:

Taco Bell: Joyce Swank was unable to attend tonight’s meeting, but she sent word that she has yet to hear from Taco Bell about their switch to No. 5 plastic cups, which can’t be recycled in our area.

March 20 event on Randolph Freedmen: The team reviewed a draft flyer and draft news release, Larry Hamilton’s bio, and info on the Randolph and McCulloch Freedom’s Struggle Complex. The team decided to present Mr. Hamilton a $50 honorarium for his presentation.

Issues related to laws governing services for people with disabilities: Paul shared information and links to information on sheltered workshops, federal conflict of interest laws, disability rights and subminimum wages, and new approaches to helping people with disabilities find work. He shared experiences his family has had with services. Sarah shared her knowledge and experiences of working with people with disabilities. She said the state provides job coaches who help people find jobs in the community so they can be included in the community, and she noted that one size does not fit all—some people with disabilities have a much harder time finding jobs in the community. Sarah said different types of waivers provide different degrees of financial assistance for people with disabilities. Basically, the greater the disability, the greater the financial help. She said the issues are complicated; for example, if people with disabilities make too much money, they could lose services and insurance.

Pachamama Market and Dining for Women: Mary Ann shared her idea of providing a venue for Lindsay Woodruff, owner of Pachamama, to hold potluck dinners that give people an opportunity to learn about other countries and make donations to support the entrepreneurial efforts of women in those countries. Pachamama specializes in selling fair-trade, handmade and eco-friendly goods.

Earth Day t-shirts: Paul reported that a church member had asked whether the team might be interested in buying Earth day t-shirts. No action was taken on this item.

White Privilege curriculum name: The team briefly discussed whether and how to change the curriculum name, which is currently called “White Privilege: Let’s Talk.” Ruth reported she had started recording the name as “Let’s Talk: White Privilege.” The team decided for now to go with Ruth’s suggestion.

ACTION ITEMS:

May 20 event

Publicity

Deb will revise the flyer to include the church telephone number and get a new original to Paul.

Paul will print about 50 copies at the church and give some to Sarah for local distribution and some to another member of the team for mailing to area churches and social-service agencies.

Deb will contact Caroline about writing a letter to accompany flyers sent to area churches and social-service agencies.

Sarah will distribute flyers around the community.

Deb will add the church telephone number to all news releases and submit them to the Piqua Daily Call, Troy Daily News, Dayton Daily News, Troy Public Radio and local online calendars. She will also create a Facebook event and boost it on the team’s Facebook page.

Deb will contact Joyce and Caroline to make plans about reaching out with personal invitations to some of the predominately black churches in our area.

Paul will let the church secretary know that she may get calls about the event and, if so, she should let Paul know so he can return calls.

Program preparation

Deb will arrange a time for Larry to do a test run of his presentation using the equipment in the sanctuary.

Deb will contact Paul for access to the church for such a test run, and she will contact Sarah so she can meet Larry before the event.

Hospitality

Mary Ann volunteered to provide the bulk of the refreshments for the March 20 event.

Paul will provide sodas.

Ruth will provide nuts.

Sarah will introduce Larry on the night of the event.

Dining for Women

Mary Ann will talk with Lindsay Woodruff about scheduling a Dining for Women potluck on either April 19 or April 26.

Paul will seek Council approval for holding Dining for Women on either April 19 or April 26.

Paul and Sarah will work to implement the first Dining for Women event when Mary Ann gets back to them with information from Lindsay.

Next White Privilege study group: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., March 13, 2019

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., March 27, 2019

January 23, 2019

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Deb gave devotions.

Discussion: Old Business

Joyce reported she had contacted Taco Bell about its decision to switch from paper cups to No. 5 plastic cups, which can’t be recycled here. Someone in management is supposed to return her call in the next few days. Joyce also said someone had used Change.org to post a petition asking Taco Bell to go back to paper or at least let customers bring in their own re-usable cups. Joyce shared the petition on her Facebook page. Joyce also shared two types of re-usable straws she had recently received as gifts from her daughter and a cousin.

The team talked about when to invited Mary Sue Gmeiner (of SURJ, or Showing Up for Racial Justice) and Larry Hamilton (of the Randolph and McCulloch Freedom’s Struggle Complex) to speak. We decided to hold off on asking Mary Sue to come until we reach “Part 4: On Becoming an Ally” of the White Privilege curriculum. We decided to invite Larry to speak sometime between mid-March and mid-April. For Larry’s presentation, Caroline suggested we extend a personal invitation to local black congregations, either by meeting with their pastors or attending their Sunday School classes. We decided to start with the pastor at Richards Chapel. Joyce shared information on the history of the Randolph Freedmen. Paul reported a news story he had heard about taxpayer money being used in the South to care for the graves of Confederate soldiers while the graves of blacks went unattended.

Discussion: New Business

Paul reported he had asked Church Council about any issues they’d like the team to explore. One Council member expressed concern that a sheltered workshop in Clinton County has been privatized and that the clients now sat around and watched television instead of working to make money and experience fulfillment because the state came in and said they had to be paid a minimum wage. Deb shared what she knew about subminimum wage laws, which allow employers to waive the minimum wage requirement if they can prove the performance of disabled workers is of a lower quality than the performance of nondisabled workers performing the same task. The team discussed the pros and cons of such laws, including how they would affect workers with different skill levels. Paul will investigate. As he gathers more information, he might talk with someone at Riverside/RTU Industries about the issue. While on the topic of wages, Caroline said she had heard that teens have a different minimum wage.

Paul asked the team whether one meeting a month is enough for the White Privilege curriculum. It was suggested we raise the question at the next White Privilege session to get everyone’s input. The team discussed how it might reach out to those people who have previously attended the sessions.

Podcast

We resumed listening to the Radiolab podcast about the Citizens United decision, hearing a discussion about express advocacy (i.e., political advertisements that expressly and clearly support or oppose a particular electoral outcome), its relation to books and free speech and the suggestion there’s a fine line between regulating campaign spending and banning books. We heard a bit about Justice Kennedy and the suggestion he was the most important man in America while on the bench. We will pick up next time at that point where Radiolab explores the way Kennedy’s mind works.

Action items

Joyce awaits a return call from Taco Bell management.Deb will share the Taco Bell petition on Joyce’s Facebook page to the Economic Justice Team’s Facebook page. Everyone is encouraged to sign it.

Deb will contact Larry Hamilton with a request to speak with us about the Randolph Freedmen, sometime between mid-March and mid-April.

After a date for Larry’s presentation has been set, Paul will contact the pastor at Richards Chapel and extend a personal invitation. He will also ask her who else she recommends we contact.

Paul will investigate sheltered workshops and wage laws.

Paul will speak to Nancy Smith about reaching out to the women at Trinity Episcopal who had attended previous sessions of our White Privilege study.

Next White Privilege session: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Feb. 13, 2019

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Feb. 27, 2019

Our 2018 Annual Report

This year the team hosted the following films, presentations, podcasts, and concerns, which were related to economic justice and open to the public:

White Privilege: Let’s Talk, a United Church of Christ adult education curriculum designed to invite members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive and bold conversations on race.
Our White Privilege meetings are going well. I’ve been very surprised how everyone joins in and shares their stories during the reflection portion of each White Privilege study session. With each meeting, there is a growing awareness of how white privilege perpetuates racial injustices and our need as individuals to step up and change our own behavior and work to change social systems that hurt our brothers and sisters of color.

Big Pharma, Market Failure, a video exploring the problem of extreme drug prices in the United States and the impact drug costs have on the public, businesses and the overall US. economy.

Money Bail, a video exploring the pros and cons and especially the impact on the poor.

Zero Hunger, Zero Waste, a presentation by Kroger’s Erin Rolfes on the corporation’s waste-reduction program. The program addresses a fundamental absurdity in our food system: 40% of the food produced in the US. is thrown away. A Q&A followed.

Dark Money, a PBS documentary that tracks the influence of corporate money in contemporary American politics by presenting a case study involving the state of Montana, its politics and the Anaconda Mining Co.

The team listened to a number of podcasts:

Radiolab presents More Perfect (as in, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union,”) a Radiolab production that tells the stories behind some of the Supreme Court’s most significant rulings. Specifically, we listened to a podcast on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

NPR’s podcast Fresh Air. With host Terry Gross interviewing Elisabeth Rosenthal, about her new book, An American Sickness, How American Health Care Became Big Business. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a journalist and former physician, explores the dysfunctions in the American health care system.

NPR’s podcast Fresh Air. A portion of Terry Gross’s interview with Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, about his new book, Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

The team shared the following information:

The November 2018 ballot, issues and concerns.

Toledoans for Safe Water, A grassroots organization in the Toledo area working to establish a Bill of Rights to protect Lake Erie and the communities that rely on its health and viability. Algae blooms are endangering their clean drinking water.

An article in the December issue of National Geographic. “High consumption by some nations, put all of us at risk.” Life on Earth is threatened by climate change, nuclear attack, dwindling resources—and the chasm between rich and poor.

Also:  We posted signage on environmental stewardship practices,
and to our knowledge, the team is recycling most of the church’s recyclables.

December 19, 2018

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Paul and Caroline both offered devotions.

Paul led the meeting.

Discussion

The team shared reactions to the last White Privilege session. The session went well. Two college students, a brother and sister, joined us for our discussion. It was a delight to have them. They had learned about the session when visiting the church website.

Paul asked Deb to share information about a movement to protect Lake Erie. Ohio activists were seeking signatures to demonstrate support for a Lake Erie Bill or Rights (LEBOR), which was to be discussed by the Lucas County Board of Elections on Dec. 20. Caroline shared her knowledge of Lake Erie, factors that affect its health and the difficulties associated with finding solutions that will satisfy all concerned. (For more information on LEBOR, click here, and for information on the Great Lakes Consortium, click here.)

Paul invited the team to share other interests and concerns.

Joyce recently learned that the local Taco Bell has started using non-recyclable plastic cups for its beverages. She wondered whether this was a local change or an industry-wide initiative. She would like to do some research and learn more about the issue, including finding out who to contact with a request to stop the use of non-recyclable plastic.

Joyce also reported she had learned that there’s a move to replace plastic containers with containers made from shrimp casings..

Suggestions were made about future programs to hold. Two ideas related to our current study of White Privilege: inviting Mary Sue Gmeiner to speak about Showing Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ (learn more about SURJ, by clicking here) and/or inviting Larry Hamilton to speak about the Randolph freedmen and the creation of the Randolph & McCulloch Freedom’s Struggle Complex in Piqua (learn about the complex, by clicking here). One idea dovetails with our interest in environmental justice: inviting Michael Greenman of Move to Amend’s Interfaith Caucus to speak, perhaps working in partnership with other congregations and having another speaker or two on environmental issues.

We discussed the challenge of getting more people involved with our efforts. One idea was to ask other churches to partner with us. It was noted that the church secretary has connections at Richards Chapel and that some of the women attending the White Privilege sessions go to the local Episcopal church. The question is, how do we support these individuals as they reach out to members of their own churches and encourage their congregations to get involved?

We ended the meeting by listening to part of the Radio Lab podcast on the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. FEC, which can be heard by clicking here.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Jan. 9, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Jan. 23, 2018

November 28, 2018

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Paul provided devotions and led the meeting.

Discussion

The team shared their reactions to Erin Rolfes’s Nov. 27 presentation on Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative and the last White Privilege session. Those who attended Erin’s program agreed that it went well and was informative. The White Privilege study group continues to go well. The next White Privilege session will be at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 12. We will begin Part 2 of the curriculum. We talked about the possibility of asking Mary Sue Gmeiner to speak about being an ally to people of color around the time we begin Part 4, which will cover that topic. Mary Sue is a member of the Dayton chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

Deb read an email from Sue Carter with Ohio Fair Food. Sue said her group plans to form a state-wide network of allies who have joined the Wendy’s Boycott as a way to share information about how we can support the campaign around the state.

Caroline shared information from an article about inequality around the world. She noted that human needs are dictated by hunger and accompanied by a need to feed the world. She added that for poor countries to advance, it’s likely that we in the United States will need to make sacrifices, such as reducing our oil consumption. The article, “High consumption by some nations puts all of us at risk,” is in the December 2018 issue of National Geographic and can be found online.

Paul shared information about a book by Louis Hyman called Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary. Paul said he has ordered the book, and he suggested we listen to a podcast on the topic at our next meeting.

Although we thought we might have time to listen to a Radiolab podcast about Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the other topics of tonight’s meeting generated an interesting and lively discussion.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Dec. 12, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Dec. 19, 2018

October 23, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Nancy Smith.

Caroline provided devotions about abiding love, posing an interesting question: Why can’t we speak as lovingly to other people as we do to our pets?”

Paul led the meeting.

Discussion

The team shared their reactions to the last White Privilege session, which, because of a good and lengthy discussion, focused on Chapter 4.

Deb provided a little information about Showing Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ, and indicated that Mary Sue Gmeiner would be willing to do a presentation that describes and explains the efforts of this group to combat racism.

Joyce shared an interesting post from Facebook that suggested “staying out of politics” is an example of white privilege because white citizens who don’t get involved in politics have the “privilege” of not doing so because they have nothing at stake in an election, unlike people of color who do.

Joyce updated the team about plans for Kroger’s Erin Rolfes to present a program on the corporations Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27. The program will include a PowerPoint presentation and Q&A. Joyce has requested information on what the Troy and Piqua Krogers are doing in particular.

Paul shared viewing options for the screening of Dark Money, available through PBS Point of View. The team decided to stream the documentary at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29.

Paul played the podcast “How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business,” which had aired on PBS Fresh Air. In the podcast, Terry Gross interviewed Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a medical journalist and former physician, who wrote the book An American Sickness, which looks at the problems in our healthcare system and offers suggestions for promoting change. (To hear the podcast, go to https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/10/523005353/how-u-s-health-care-became-big-business).

Action Items

  • Joyce will prepare an article about the Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program for the November Journal, providing copies for Caroline and Deb; Joyce will provide stamps and envelopes for use in mailing information about the program to area churches.
  • Joyce will invite the Piqua Kroger manager to attend the event since he had been instrumental in arranging contact with Erin Rolfes.
  • Deb will write a news release for the TDN, DDN and local radio station; post the event on the team’s Facebook page; prepare a bulletin-size flyer for insert in the Sunday bulletins at area churches and print envelopes for area churches for use by Caroline.
  • Caroline will prepare a letter to area churches describing the program and will mail them along with bulletin-size flyers using the pre-printed envelopes and stamps from Joyce.
  • Paul will purchase four dozen cookies for the program.
  • The team will ask Ruth Jeffryes to be in charge of coffee for the program.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Nov. 14, 2018

Zero Hunger, Zero Waste: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tues., Nov. 27, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Nov. 28, 2018

September 25, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Ruth Jeffryes.

Paul led the meeting.

Discussion

The team shared their reactions to the first two White Privilege sessions. It was generally agreed the discussions were going well. It was suggested that future sessions might include the viewing of videos associated with the curriculum. Caroline asked whether there was any information on how churches across the country have responded to the curriculum.

There was no new information about whether recordings would be available of Rev. Traci Blackmon’s keynote address on race at the GLAUCE conference in October in Chicago.

Joyce reported contact with Kroger corporate headquarters regarding their zero-waste efforts. Unable to get information, she contacted Piqua Kroger store manager Zach Bahlinghaus, who expressed interest in her questions. He will contact Kroger’s PR department regarding materials to share and protocol for doing presentations and will get back to Joyce. His response sounded very promising.

Ruth shared a piece of calligraphy (“All is privilege. Winter teaches us that.”), which she created back in 1991 using a paper bag, an example of recycle and reuse efforts.

The team talked about how to proceed with future meetings. Joyce suggested we share updates on topics we’ve previously discussed as we continue to explore white privilege as a separate issue. Paul asked team members whether they’d be interested in listening to NPR podcasts on economic-justice issues. The team agreed they’d enjoy hearing podcasts.

Info on Issue 1 (Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment) was shared. Issue 1 will be on the November ballot. The team had explored this issue back in June at the same time we viewed the documentary on money bail. Info was also shared about the screening of Dark Money in Dayton. The documentary will also be aired on PBS in October.

Action items

  • Paul will select a podcast to share at the October meeting.
  • Joyce will submit an article to The Journal.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Oct. 17, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

August 28, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, Ruth Jeffryes, Nancy Smith and Robert Brower.

Paul provided devotions and led the meeting.

Joyce queued and the group watched the following short videos introducing the White Privilege curriculum:

  • Let’s Talk About White Privilege with the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ (3:33 minutes)
  • A Brief Overview with the Rev. Day McCallister (5:55 minutes)

Following the viewing of the videos, Paul led the group in a discussion about the topic of white privilege and the contents of the curriculum’s Introduction and Chapter 1. Those in attendance shared their thoughts—and questions—about race and the concept of privilege, and they drew on personal and/or vicarious experiences that have impacted their thoughts and feelings related to these issues.

A short business meeting followed the discussion. In follow-up to an action item, Deb reported she had contacted Shirley Weyrauch of GLAUCE to see whether recordings will be available of the Rev. Traci Blackmon’s keynote address on race at an October event in Chicago. Ms. Weyrauch said she’d check with the planning team and get back to her. Rev. Blackmon’s office did not respond to Deb’s inquiry.

Decisions

In consultation with tonight’s guests, it was decided to continue reading and discussing the White Privilege curriculum, a couple of chapters at a time, and to hold informal discussions once a month on a night separate from the team’s monthly business meeting.

Action Items

  • Paul will distribute the remaining chapters of the five that make up Part 1: Spiritual Autobiography Told Through the Lens of Race to those in attendance who cannot download copies themselves.
  • Everyone will read Chapters 2 and 3 of Part 1 in preparation for our next discussion on white privilege.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018

July 31, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Deb Hogshead, and Ruth Jeffryes.

Ruth provided devotions, and Paul led the meeting.

Topics of Discussion:

Guest speaker on Kroger’s sustainability efforts. Joyce contacted the Troy Kroger; they said they weren’t familiar with these efforts and told Joyce to call Kroger’s corporate office.

UCC’s curriculum on white privilege. Paul read through the curriculum’s list of definitions, and we discussed how we might present the curriculum and how quickly we might cover it. Deb shared information on an event scheduled for October, in Chicago, that will feature the Rev. Traci Blackmon, UCC executive minister of justice and local church ministries, speaking on the topic “Standing Together: A Sacred Conversation on Race.” Blackmon is one of the authors of the UCC curriculum on white privilege. The team wondered whether there would be any recordings or transcripts from the event.

Recycling at the church. The team needs to review who is responsible for which type of recycling at the church. We’ve noticed aluminum cans have not been getting picked up. If responsibilities have changed, labels on recycling bins may need to be updated.

Additional program ideas. Paul suggested we listen to the following:

Other news. Deb reviewed four of the 16 UCC resolutions passed at the 2017 General Synod:

  • Committee 8: A More Just Economy–$15 Minimum Wage, Living Wages and Job Creation (A Resolution of Witness), which passed by 75%
  • Committee 13: Affirming the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Boycott of Wendy’s (A Resolution of Witness), which passed by 86%
  • Committee 14: On Recognizing and Studying Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency (A Resolution of Witness), passed by 97%
  • Committee 14: The Earth is Lord’s—Not Ours to Wreck: Imperatives for a New Era (A Resolution of Witness), which passed by 97%

Deb updated the team on CIW’s continued efforts to get Wendy’s to support the Fair Food Program.

Deb announced a presentation in Dayton that might interest the team: Westminster Lecture on Faith and Civic Life, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 28, at Westminster Presbyterian Church (to be followed the next morning with a panel discussion featuring area faith and civic leaders).

Decisions:

The team decided to start discussing chapters of the UCC curriculum on white privilege during the first 30 minutes of our monthly meetings, beginning with our August 2018 meeting. Devoting just the first 30 minutes to the curriculum will still give us time for a business meeting, and people who attend just for the discussion can feel free to excuse themselves if they don’t want to stay for the business portion of the meeting. The team decided to start out with just one chapter. Our August discussion will help us evaluate just how much material we can cover in 30 minutes at our monthly meetings and otherwise help us decide how we want to proceed. The curriculum can be downloaded to a computer from https://www.uccresources.com/products/white-privilege-lets-talk-a-resource-for-transformational-dialogue-pdf-download and printed if a hard copy is desired.

Action Items:

Joyce will call Piqua Kroger to ask them about Kroger’s sustainability efforts and the possibility of a guest speaker. If necessary, she’ll call Kroger’s corporate office (perhaps having to tell them that our local Kroger grocers are unfamiliar with the corporation’s sustainability efforts).

All team members, in preparation for our August discussion of the UCC curriculum on white privilege, will read or re-read the Introduction and Chapter One, writing down questions or comments that come to mind.

Paul will share information about the team’s plan to start the UCC curriculum on white privilege—and how to get a copy of the curriculum—via

  • the team’s bulletin board.
  • Sunday bulletins for Aug. 19 and 26.
  • Church Council.

Joyce will share information about the team’s plan to start the UCC curriculum on white Privilege—and how to get a copy of the curriculum—via the August Journal.

Deb will share information about the team’s plan to start the UCC curriculum on white privilege—and how to get a copy of the curriculum—via EJT’s Facebook page.

Paul will check with Church Council to see about who will take over the church website and church Facebook page since Deb is no longer doing that.

Deb will see if any recordings or transcripts will be made of Rev. Blackmon’s keynote address “Standing Together: A Sacred Conversation on Race” at the October event in Chicago.

Paul will check to see whether the person who initiated aluminum-can recycling at the church wants to continue to be responsible for this aspect of our recycling efforts. Paul will also check the RACI matrix we submitted to Church Council; the RACI matrix should list who’s responsible for which type of recycling.

Next meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018

May 29, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Ruth Jeffreyes, and Deb Hogshead.

Caroline provided devotions, and Paul led the meeting.

We finalized plans for the June 26 presentation of the documentary “The Bail Trap,” which will be followed with information on Ohio House Bill 439 (bail reform legislation introduced in the 132nd General Assembly) and the Ohio Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment (a ballot initiative).

We deferred to July any further discussion about inviting Kroger representatives to speak.

Paul distributed copies of White Privilege, Part One and invited us to read this section before our July meeting and to be prepared to discuss.

Our next meeting will be 6:30-8 p.m., June 26, when Emily Parsons will present the video “The Bail Trap.”

April 24, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Caroline provided devotions, and Paul led the meeting.

Topics of Discussion:

  • February 27 presentation of Big Pharma: Market Failure. We agreed the event was a success. Although we wished more people had attended, we did have a good turnout nonetheless and met new people.
  • Kroger’s sustainability efforts. Joyce and Caroline reported experiences other church members (i.e., Joyce Heffelfinger and Nevin Fessler) have had with Kroger’s move to reduce waste. Kroger (and other area grocers) routinely brought unsold foodstuff to First UMC’s food pantry. Kroger also takes unsold flowers to nursing homes—these items are not thrown away. On a related note, Caroline talked about a news story that described new technology that “eats” some types of plastic; Joyce had read a similar news report.
  • Environmental Stewardship Practices signage. Deb thanked Joyce and Paul for framing and displaying the signage in the café and in the fellowship hall. The signage reminds church members about ways to reduce waste, protect the environment and promote fair trade.
  • White Privilege/Let’s Talk curriculum. We continued to talk about whether, when, and how to present this UCC curriculum. Caroline suggested we consider presenting it like a Bible study and that we hold off starting until the fall. It is a lengthy curriculum that requires self-reflection, and we need to find out more about what’s involved with presenting it as either a six-week or a six-month program and whether it would be possible and advisable to offer just a portion of the curriculum. Paul wondered whether a transcript was available of the 2016 webinar that introduced the curriculum.
  • Criminal justice issues. We discussed whether to present a documentary on money bail. Caroline noted that our Ohio legislators are writing legislation on this issue. Deb said there’s currently a petition for a ballot initiative on this or related issues. We agreed the time was right to present a program on this issue. We decided to see if we could get two speakers for a late June program: one speaker to show the documentary on money bail and another to discuss the ballot initiative.
  • Podcast on democracy and global capitalism. Paul played a portion of a podcast in which NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed Robert Kuttner about his new book Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalismand about his views on current trade issues.

Action items:

  • Joyce will contact Kroger to see whether they can provide a speaker who could talk about Kroger’s efforts to protect the environment and reduce waste.
  • Joyce and Paul will take a look at the White Privilege/Let’s Talkcurriculum and make a recommendation at our next meeting.
  • Deb will check to see whether the UCC has a transcript of the webinar that introduced the White Privilege/Let’s Talk
  • Deb will contact potential speakers for a late-June program on money bail, gather information on Ohio legislation, and be prepared with details so we can hit the ground running with publicity efforts at our meeting in May.

Next meeting: 6:30 p.m., May 22, 2018. [Please note: The next meeting date has been changed to May 29.]

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

In place of our February 2018 meeting, we screened the document Big Pharma: Market Failure.

There was no March 2018 meeting.

January 23, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Paul led the meeting.

Topics of Discussion:

  • Bulletin board and Paul’s plans to update it. Paul has been finding good information at Becker’s Hospital Review, among other sources.
  • Environmental-Stewardship-Practices signage. Signage is ready for framing and posting.
  • Kroger’s sustainability efforts. Joyce gave a full report of her research on Kroger’s sustainability efforts, which include responsible sourcing, zero tolerance of human rights abuses in the supply chain, eco-stewardship, reuse of plastic packing crates, plastic and cardboard recycling, carbon reduction, controlling refrigerant leakage, reducing water consumption, and a zero-hunger/zero-waste initiative. Joyce reported that nationwide, Kroger sends 69 million pounds of edible, un-purchased food to food banks; it directs other waste to animal feed, industrial uses, and composting. As a participant in the EPA’s waste-wise program, Kroger works on providing concrete measurement of progress toward its goals. Caroline wondered whether Kroger might offer guest speakers to present on these topics.
  • February 27 screening of “Big Pharma: Market Failure.” Deb reported that most plans have been confirmed with Bill Davis of SPAN Ohio. We’re still waiting to confirm start time, length of the video, and a few incidental details. Paul shared his ideas for a bulletin insert for the two Sundays before the event. Deb shared a draft news release and flyer. Caroline shared a letter to accompany the flyer. Deb gave Caroline 20 envelopes, and Joyce gave Caroline 20 stamps.
  • White Privilege/Let’s Talk curriculum. Deb reported that Pastor Donna had come across the curriculum and wondered if we’d like to present it. Deb, who had participated in a 2016(?) webinar about the curriculum before it was released, briefly described the curriculum and its purpose. Some possibilities include (1) going through Part 3: The Cash Value of Whiteness ourselves before presenting it as a program open to the public or (2) using the information in Part 3 in our regular meetings as topics of discussion. The curriculum is designed to be presented across six weeks or six months, with participants engaged in study at home prior to group meetings led by a facilitator. Recognized as extremely valuable and pertinent to our goal of addressing systemic economic injustices, we had a few concerns, mainly that it required a large time commitment—inside and outside of lesson meetings—beyond what we are doing now. It was suggested that White Privilege/Let’s Talk would make an excellent Sunday School curriculum.
  • Screening of a documentary on money bail. Further discussion tabled until a future meeting.

Action items:

  • Paul will put up a new bulletin board with information on the high cost of prescription drugs.
  • Joyce will frame two copies of the Environmental Stewardship Practices signage; Paul will hang the framed signage in the café and kitchen.
  • Joyce will continue researching Kroger’s sustainability efforts, eventually talking with local Kroger staff and finding out whether speakers are available per Caroline’s suggestion.
  • Deb will let everyone know details about February 27 start time and video length when she receives this information from Bill Davis, and she will give Caroline a copy of the finalized flyer.
  • Caroline will ask the church secretary to type her letter to accompany the flyer; she will work with the church secretary to make copies of the letter and the flyer; she will send the flyer to 16 churches and four social service agencies.
  • Team members will reflect on White Privilege/Let’s Talk curriculum and talk more about it in a future meeting.

Next meeting: February 27, 2018, for the screening of Big Pharma: Market Failure, with the possibility of a brief business meeting afterward. Time TBA. If we hold a brief business meeting, Paul will provide devotions.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

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