19 April 2017

Meeting minutes for April 2017



Meeting minutes for Wednesday, 19 April 2017
In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Jeff, Kara

Welcome and Introductions


Reports

Our group now has an EIN number for tax purposes. Barbara sent this info to Tilo.
Social media campaign update (Barbara)
  • Group social media account updates
    • Barbara is posting more often to the group Twitter and FB pages.
    • Ovette reposts (from Barbara's Instagram page) items related to AI to the group Instagram page.
    • Marsha posts to the group's G+ page.
    • Meeting announcements: posted to Twitter and FB via Hootsuite
  • FB overview:
    • Definitions
      • "reach" = number of people who saw the ad at least once
      • "impressions" = number of times a post from a page is displayed. (People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, if someone sees a page update in news feed and then sees that same update when a friend shares it, that would count as two impressions.) 
      • "engagement" = like, click, comment, or reaction
      • "page views" = individuals who choose to browse a page. (An actual visit to a profile marks a higher level of engagement than simply liking a post in the news feed. This suggests a more active interest than a convenience-based like.)
    • FB announcement of our April meeting was “boosted” (cost: $20) on April 16, 17,  and18 to 22- to 45-year-olds living within 10-mile radius of West Chester, Phoenixville, Radnor
      • An additional “reach” of 490 persons gained for the post 
      • 14 “engagements,” mostly “likes” to the post. Those who liked the post were invited to like our FB page.
      • Cost per engagement: $1.34
    • Plan for FB use
      • Will take time to increase our number of Fb followers (likes to page)
      • We may wish to “boost” a post a few times per year. Targeted advertisements also a possibility
      • One or two tweets/day from AIUSA’s Twitter account being fed into our group’s Twitter and FB accounts for extra content
      • Meetings now posted to online community events calendars of chestercounty.com, delconewsnetwork.com, mainlinemedianews.com, philly.com, phillyfunguide.com 
  • Barbara will check with some local radio and TV stations (e.g., KYW, WHYY) to see if they have a community events calendar or do announcements of community events
  • Struan is checking list of area newspapers to see if they feature print calendar of events
Update on other outreach efforts (Jeff)

Jeff reported on his correspondence with one of AIUSA’s senior directors in an effort to secure names and addresses of members for the purpose of sending them a handwritten invitation to attend our meetings. Jeff also shared tabling ideas.

22 March 2017

Meeting Minutes for March 2017

Meeting minutes for Wednesday, 22 March 2017

In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Jeff, Ovette, Brendan, Struan, John, Laurie, Kara, Marsha

Welcome and Introductions

Reports
  • Minutes (Marsha): no minutes for February 2017 night (social get-together with no business conducted)
  • Treasurer's Report (Tilo)
    • Tilo not present for report. 
    • Marsha: Ten Thousand Villages store in Exton (site of our annual fundraiser) is closing at the end of March. Explore other fundraising options? Marsha to contact Ten Thousand Villages store in Media to see if we could do a Community Shopping Event there in December.
  • Social Media Director's Report (Barbara): Barb passed out a survey on social media goals for our group. She also distributed a list of media outlets (newspapers, online events guides, and social media) that she's using to try to publicize our group meetings.
  • Group 342 Coordinator's Report (Jeff): No report. 
  • Outreach (Barb): A new AI chapter at Penn State Brandywine invited us to give them a presentation about AI. Barb attended their "AmnesTea" meeting on 13 March and delivered her PowerPoint presentation about AI.
    • Jeff: Maybe we can takes turns attending their meetings? And invite them to attend hours? Any opportunities to do something together for Earth Day? (Not enough time to plan this for this year—just one month away.)
    • Laurie and John: Phoenixville Progresssives have a table at Phoenixville First Fridays—maybe we could do that too?
Actions

  • "Pastors Face Imprisonment For Trumped Up Charges" (Myanmar: UA 13/17)
  • 2017 Nowruz Action
    • 5-Minute University presentation on Nowruz (Jeff)
    • Marsha distributed descriptions of each case (available here), and Barbara supplied notecards and stamps. Chapter members wrote Nowruz greetings to the prisoners of conscience (one of whom is Mohammed Sadiq Kabudvand, our chapter's case file) highlighted in this year's action. We wrote about 35 cards.
New Business
  • AI Group 342 Dress Code (Marsha): Last year we discussed getting AIUSA t-shirts for our group. Marsha agreed to look into this. AIUSA has completely shut down its online shop and did not respond to Marsha's request for image files so we could print our own shirts. Marsha was able to find AI products in other countries, but they are country-specific and mostly available only in limited sizes. She is going to mock up our own design and find out about getting it printed.
  • Correspondence with Nick at the AIUSA Office (Marsha): In January, Marsha received an e-mail from AIUSA that included contact info for someone in that office, so she sent him a long e-mail detailed some of her (and our chapter's) frustrations about the lack of support and communication from the main office. Nick responded in detail. Marsha shared this correspondence with the group tonight and asked for feedback on what we (as a chapter) want to convey to Nick. 
    • We need an EIN for banking. (We have asked Kathleen Lucas for this but have received no response from her.)
    • We want help contacting local AIUSA members. (Jeff has talked to Kathleen Lucas about this. She asked him to send her a list of zip codes; he did so but has received no response from her.)
    • John submitted an application to attend AI training in Chicago last summer but received no response.
    • Barbara sent an e-mail to Savannah Fox in September 2016 asking (for the third time) why the check we sent to AIUSA in January 2016 had not yet been cashed. Savannah promised to call Barbara back in 48 hours. Barbara has still received no response.
    • We would like to purchase AIUSA t-shirts or have the high-res image files of the logo so we can create our own.
  • Tickling Giants screening (Marsha)
    • Sara Taksler, a senior producer for The Daily Show, sent a letter to our chapter e-mail address in January asking if we would be interested in hosting a screening of her documentary Tickling Giants, which is about "Bassem Youssef, the 'Egyptian Jon Stewart,' and his fight to bring satire to the Middle East. Tickling Giants is a very funny film about free speech and what happens to a country when power is abused."
    • They are offering free screenings to 200 organizations (the usual fee is $350). Let's approach the Colonial Theater to see if they would be interested in this. Jeff knows someone on the board there and will talk to that person first.
Items for Next Month's Meeting
  • 5-Minute University (Struan)
  • Proposal for new approach to tabling events (Jeff)

Upcoming Events
  • April meeting: Wednesday, 19 April, 7:30 p.m, Wegmans in Malvern, PA

18 January 2017

Meeting minutes for January 2017

Meeting minutes for Wednesday, 18 January 2016

In attendance: Barbara, Jeff, Colin, Tilo, Marsha

Welcome and Introductions

Announcements
  • 2016 Write for Rights: 109 cards, 11 petitions, $335.47 received from Ten Thousand Villages for our community shopping event
  • Dues: Please give $35 annual chapter dues to Tilo
  • Barbara asked for members willing to be auxiliary coordinator who can create agendas and run meetings when she is unable to attend
    • Jeff volunteered to take on this role
    • Marsha will be Jeff's backup
    • Jeff will run the March, April, and May meetings
Actions

  • Ali Shariati (Iran): hunger-striking prisoner of conscience in poor health (UA 257/16)
  • Mohammed Sadiq Kabudvand (Iran)
  • Xu Youchen (China): veteran human rights activist sentenced to death (UA 3/17)
  • Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, and Ahmed Raza Naseer (Pakistan): four human rights activists who have been missing (presumably detained by the state) since early January (UA 5/17)
New Business
  • Movie night at Tilo's house in lieu of regular meeting on 15 February , 7:30 p.m.
    • We will choose the film that evening
      • 13th (about the 13th amendment) (trailer here)
      • The House I Live In (about the war on drugs) (trailer here; full film on YouTube for $1.99)
      • Bitter Lake (about how Saudi Arabia exported Wahhibism) (full film here)
    • Barbara will post an announcement to the Google Group and ask for RSVPs so Tilo knows how many people to expect
    • Members can bring snacks to share if they like (but it's not necessary)

Outreach/Membership Campaign
  • Follow-up to last month's discussion (led by Struan) about outreach campaigns 
    • Marsha
      • presented a list of local events that welcome nonprofit/local groups (where we could have a book sale, sell t-shirts, etc.)
        • possibilities: Good Neighbor Day (4 July, Downingtown); West Chester Growers' Market (Saturdays from May through November, WC), Malvern festivals in spring and fall, Eagleview Farmer's Market (Thursdays)
        • members present agreed that at least some of these are very viable options for our group (given our size and location)
        • Marsha will do a bit more research and bring an updated list for the March meeting
      • discussed places that might let us post flyers about our group
        • Marsha will ask Kimberton Whole Foods, Chester County Library, Henrietta Hankin Library, Lionville YMCA
        • Can Michele post one at Tredyffrin Library?
        • Maybe Tilo can ask the Unitarian church in West Chester to post a flyer (and perhaps mention our group in a newsletter or other media?)
        • Can other members check other YMCAs, other libraries, other venues?
        • Marsha will make sure our flyer is up to date and send out a revised version to everyone (print at home and e-mail/post as widely as possible)
      • drafted a letter for AIUSA to distribute to local AIUSA members (since AIUSA won't give us their contact info); will time it to be an invitation to our March meeting
    • Discussion about having a talk and book signing by Eric Fair (author of Consequence, a memoir about being an interrogator Abu Ghraib)
      • Maybe Tilo can ask the Unitarian Congregation of West Chester to host and cosponsor?
      • Barbara pointed out that an event like this will require a lot of work to promote, and unless three or four other members of our group help with that task it just won't work
      • Marsha asked about having other local groups cosponsor this event (and help with promotion)—maybe invite Philly group to cosponsor or even host? (Barbara pointed out that if Philly group hosts, though, then the event is no longer what we intended: a vehicle to promote our group in our local area.)
      • Eric Fair is likely to charge a hefty speaker's fee that is outside our budget (another reason to get other groups on board to sponsor this)
    • Jeff
      • Hasn't yet asked Noam Chomsky if he can talk to our group
      • Has contacted Kevin Ferris (Chester County editor of The Inquirer) but hasn't heard back yet; maybe will have report next month
      • spoke with Kathleen Lucas about his idea to handwrite letters to local AIUSA members to invite them to our group
        • She loves the idea and says she will facilitate getting him the contact info
        • Unclear if she will actually hand over a list or if he will have to sit in the AIUSA office and look at it there
        • If we get a list, perhaps at a future meeting we could all take some time to handwrite a few notes (based on the same form letter)
    • Social media and tech for our group
      • Barb has created a FB page and an Instagram account just for our chapter
        • Barb and Ovette planning to chat about how Ovette can manage the Instagram page
        • Barb will add Colin as admin to the FB page so he can help there; maybe he can help with Twitter and Instagram too
      • Discussion about the best way to share files within our group
        • Google Groups no longer supports file sharing
        • Google Docs is an option but requires a Gmail account (which not everyone has)
        • Dropbox is another option to consider
        • But do we have that many files we need to share with each other?

Upcoming Events
  • Movie night (in lieu of February meeting): Wednesday, 15 February, 7:30 p.m., Tilo's house in West Chester, PA
  • March meeting: Wednesday, 15 March, 7:30 p..m, Wegmans in Malvern, PA

21 December 2016

Meeting minutes for December 2016

Meeting minutes for Wednesday, 21 December 2016

In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Brendan, Ovette, Jeff, Gina, Struan, Marsha

Welcome and Introductions

Announcements
  • 2016 Write for Rights: 109 cards, 11 petitions
  • Dues: Please give $35 annual chapter dues to Tilo
Actions
  • Petitions to government officials on behalf of Write for Rights cases (11)
  • Cards to activists highlighted in 2016 Write for Rights
New Business
  • Movie night at Tilo's house
    • Possible films to watch
      • 13th (about the 13th amendment) (trailer here)
      • The House I Live In (about the war on drugs) (trailer here; full film on YouTube for $1.99)
      • Bitter Lake (about how Saudi Arabia exported Wahhibism) (fill film here)
    • Date set for Wednesday, 15 February (instead of our usual chapter meeting)

Outreach/Membership Campaign

  • Struan discussed successful outreach campaigns (e.g., book sales, donation boxes at local businesses) at other AI chapters he's been involved with; most were city/urban areas with lots of foot traffic and already high awareness of AI
  • Struan suggested contacting local journalists and media
  • Brainstorming for ideas of how to connect with potential supporters and members in Chester County
    • Marsha
      • will draw up list of local events (where we could have a book sale, sell t-shirts, etc.)
      • will send AIUSA a letter for them to distribute to local AIUSA members (since AIUSA won't give us their contact info)
    • Can Tilo work with Unitarian Congregation of West Chester to arrange a talk and book signing by Eric Fair (author of Consequence, a memoir about being an interrogator Abu Ghraib)?
    • Jeff: Noam Chomsky says this is a good time for the left—let's ask him to talk to our group! 
      • will ask local journalist contact (at The Inquirer) about this
      • will contact Kathleen Lucas
    • Social media for our group
      • Barb: currently updates FB page for regional AI groups (including Philly), our group's Twitter; will create a FB page just for our chapter
      • Marsha: currently managers our group's Google+ page
      • Ovette: interested in setting up and maintaining an Instagram page for our group
    • Marsha: will find out which journalist groups helped her brother-in-law when he was imprisoned by the Nigerian government
Some Good News

Marsha brought a printout of "33 Reasons to Be Positive about 2016," which AI recently posted. 

Upcoming Events
  • Next meeting: Wednesday, 18 January, 7:30 p..m, Wegmans in Malvern, PA
  • Movie night (in lieu of February meeting): Wednesday, 15 February, 7:30 p.m., Tilo's house in West Chester, PA

16 November 2016

Meeting minutes for November 2016

Meeting minutes for Wednesday, 16 November 2016

In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Gina, Struan, Marsha

Welcome and Introductions

Announcements
  • 2017 Write for Rights
    • Barb attended a phone briefing conducted by Zeke Johnson and Emily Walsh from the DAPL site
    • Discussion about which is most effective: petitions, printed letters, handwritten letters
New Business
  • Movie night at Tilo's house
    • Possible films to watch: Thirteen (about the 13th amendment), The House I Live In (about the war on drugs), Bitter Lake (about how Saudi Arabia exported Wahhibism)
    • Date set for Wednesday, 15 February (instead of our usual chapter meeting)
  • Madaya Mom
    • Free comic (joint production of Marvel and ABC News) that was distributed at NY Comic Con last month
    • Marsha brought a copy and passed it around for everyone to see
    • Based on interviews with a real Syrian family in January 2016
    • The comic can be read for free here
Actions
  • Good News!: Prisoner of Conscience Received Medical Care (Venezuela, UA 20/16)
  • Protect Human Rights at Standing Rock (Opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline)
  • Massive Crackdown On Media After July Coup Attempt (Turkey: UA 253/16)
  • Four Young Men Arrested After Publishing Video (Venezuela, UA 242/16)
  • Disclose whereabouts of 10 doctors (Sudan. UA 251/16)
  • Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand (Iran, Group 342 Case File)
More New Business
  • Discussion about the lack of response from Savannah and the AIUSA office
    • The last check we sent hasn't even been cashed, much less acknowledged
    • Lack of communication is frustrating, especially since Savannah promised to take steps to improve it
  • Doctors without Borders exhibit about the refugee crisis: Forced from Home
    • Barb and Bob attended this
    • Barb's description (shared via e-mail with Group 342): 
      • The tour began with a film introducing us to various refugee camps throughout the world and explaining the "push factors" -- the various circumstances that force people to leave their homes. Each of us adopted the identity of a refugee or internally displaced person (the latter have an even harder time finding a safe haven) from one of the war torn countries of the world. Sara, an MSF aid worker from France, was our guide as we fled for our lives. We were forced to discard or trade away the few precious possessions we had hastily gathered as we left. We crowded into an inflatable raft (and didn't drown), found our way to a camp, and were treated for cholera in a field hospital.    
      • According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are over 60,000,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the world today, the highest number ever recorded. The simulation gives visitors just an inkling of the hardships refugees endure as they seek safety and a new life. A very moving experience. 

Upcoming Events
  • Write for Rights event: Saturday, 17 December, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Ten Thousand Villages in Exton
  • Next meeting: Wednesday, 21 December, 7:30 p..m, Wegmans in Malvern, PA

19 October 2016

Meeting minutes for October 2016

Meeting minutes for Wednesday, 19 October 2016

In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Jeff, Colin, Tilo, John, Marsha, Michelle, Brendan

Welcome and Introductions

Announcements
  • 2017 Write for Rights update (Barb)
    • Kit now available online
    • This year letters can be sent any time between now and December 31.
  • Annual dues for chapter (Tilo)
    • Tilo usually collects this from each member around this time of year (fall)
    • $25/person
  • Homa Hoodfar (Canadian-Irish-Iranian professor held in solitary confinement: UA 137/16) has been freed!
Actions
  • Rayees Ahmod Mir and Waheed Ahmed Gojree (India, UA 239/16): "Two teenage boys in Jammu and Kashmir are being detained in prison under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), which expressly prohibits the detention of anyone under 18 years of age. The PSA is an administrative detention law that allows detention without charge or trial for up to two years in some cases." (Colin)
  • Ali Isa al-Tajer (Bahrain, UA 267/15): "Ali Isa al-Tajer’s trial on terrorism charges began on 23 August. The judge did not respond to the allegation that his confessions were extracted under torture. He is still awaiting to be examined by medical consultants following a referral in December 2015. He remains detained and the next trial session has been set for 3 November." (Bob)
  • Mohammed Sadiq Kabudvand (Iran, Group 342 Case File) (Michelle)
New Business
  • Mary Shaw: former member of Group 342 recently passed away (Barb)
  • Movie night at Tilo's house
    • Possible ideas: documentary called Thirteenth (about the 13th amendment)
    • Maybe do this on a regular meeting night
    • Finalize date next month
  • Doctors without Borders exhibit about the refugee crisis
    • On Independence Mall next month
    • Marsha will send into to group e-mail list
Guest Presentation
  • Emily Abendroth and Layne Mullett of Decarcerate PA and LifeLines Project
  • Goal: End mass incarceration in PA (3 steps)
    • 1. Stop prison expansion (no new prisons)
    • 2. Reform system (why people are sent to prison)
      • Decarceration
        • sentencing, bail campaign, pretrial process issue (bail), parole
        • create less punitive sentencing policies
    • 3. Community reinvestment (education, health care, programs that address causes) instead of spending on prisons
      • Places that decreased prisons saw that money get redirected to policing (which increases problems associated with #2)
  • Preferred terminology: "death by incarceration" instead of "life without parole"
  • Q&A
  • Suggested readings, info on how to contact representatives, postcard campaign
Upcoming Events
  • Next meeting: Wednesday, 16 November, 7:30 p..m, Wegmans in Malvern, PA
  • Write for Rights event: Saturday, 17 December, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Ten Thousand Villages in Exton