20 April 2022

Minutes for April 2022 meeting

20 April 2022

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)


In attendance: Jeff, Barbara, Bob, Heather, Bill, Tilo, Marsha


REPORTS [5 minutes each]

  • Treasurer’s report [Tilo]
    • no change (about $1042 in bank, $200 in cash)
  • Social Media Director’s Report [Barbara]
    • will send out via e-mail the link to our group address list so everyone can update/add their contact info
    • no longer buying ads on FB, now using patch (Malvern, Tredyffrin, West Chester)
  • Group 342 Coordinator’s Report [Jeff]: no report
  • Amnesty News [Barbara]
    • April is Global Volunteer Month: AIUSA thanks all volunteers
    • AI statement on Ukraine
    • [BOB] Fomusoh Ivo Feh, Afuh Nivelle Nfor, and Azah Levis Gob freed at end of 2021 (had been in jail since Nov 2016) (further info here)


GUN VIOLENCE REPORT [Bob]

  • April 26:Advocacy Day: go to Harrisburg to petition state reps (further info here)
  • HR 748 (Ethan’s Law) calling for federal legislation to address safe storage of firearm
  • April 11: Biden established new ATF rule regarding ghost guns
    • Note this is NOT A BAN; it requires the use of registered serial numbers so weapons used in crimes can be traced
  • Biden has nominated US Attorney Steve Dettelbach to lead ATf (agency has had no director in 7 years) 


FREE PEOPLE FROM ICE DETENTION [Bill]

  • Biden administration finally giving Cameroon Temporary Protected Status (further info here)
  • Actions: sign up to lobby Congress, ask for end to Title 42, tell Biden to protect all people seeking safety
ACTIONS

  • "Uyghur Teenage Girl and Mother Detained" (Saudi Arabia: UA 27.22)
  • "Woman's Execution Would Violate International Law" (USA 29.22) [NOTE: SEND ASAP!]
  • "Two Qatari Lawyers Arbitrarily Detained" (Qatar UA 30.22)
  • "Activist Defending Safe Abortion Risks Jail" (Poland 28.22)
  • "Investigate Violations Against Raped Activist" (Morocco / Western Sahara UA 33.21)

FILM REVIEW [Barbara]
"The State of Texas vs Melissa": Documentary by Sabrina Van Tassel about the trial and death sentence of Melissa Lucio for the death of her daughter. Melissa Lucio was the first Hispanic woman sentenced to death in Texas. For ten years she has been awaiting her fate and now faces her last appeal. Her date of execution has been set for April 27, 2022  [see related urgent action above]


NEXT MEETING (online): 18 May, 7:30 p.m. 

16 February 2022

Minutes for February 2022 meeting

 16 February 2022

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)


In attendance: Jeff, Barbara. Bob, Frank, Heather, Bill, Tilo, Struan, Kathleen, Marsha


Guests: David Rendell (from AIUSA Philly chapter), Jim McDonald (AIUSA country specialist for Sri Lanka)


REPORTS [5 minutes each]

REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS

GUN VIOLENCE REPORT (Bob)

"FOR THE PEOPLE": LARRY KRASNER TALK (Kathleen)
  • Thursday, 24 February, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (virtual)
  • Registration
  • so far 156 people signed up
ACTIONS
GUEST PRESENTATION: JIM MCDONALD
  • AIUSA country specialist for Sri Lanka for 31 years
  • brief overview of the civil war
  • "Trinco 5" case is emblematic of the conflict
  • lots of forced disappearances (since late 1980s: 60,000 to 100,000 cases)
  • discussion about how Group 342 can get involved in Sri Lanka cases
    • not case studies (other AIUSA groups are covering those)
    • maybe find other ways
    • Sri Lankan government very responsive to outside pressure/attention
  • AIUSA country page on Sri Lanka
NEXT MEETING (online): 16 March, 7:30 p.m. 

19 January 2022

Minutes for January 2022 meeting

19 January 2022

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS [Jeff Singleton]: Jeff, Barbara. Bob, Frank, Heather, Bill, Tilo, Struan, April, Marsha


REPORTS [5 minutes each]

  • Minutes (Marsha): December minutes were posted
  • Treasurer’s report (Tilo): No change
    • Jeff: When we meet in person again, let's use some funds to buy stamps for international letters
  • Social Media Director’s Report (Barbara): Found Jim Macdonald via Instagram
  • Group 342 Coordinator’s Report [Jeff]: Jeff signed us up to have a table at Bonnie Raitt's concert at the Mann Center on 15 June—anyone want to help? (Discuss later in agenda)
  • Amnesty News [Barbara Quintiliano]
    • AIUSA activism kickoff webinar on 8 February at 8 p.m.—goal is to set priorities for next six months
      • Top priority: lobby lawmakers to pass Break the Cycle of Violence Bill (about stopping gun violence)
      • Second priority: escalate pressure on Mayorkas and Biden to establish asylum and free people from detention
    • More that 74,500 Afghans have taken refuge in the USA, but only have temporary permission to live in the USA. They don’t have immigrant status—just “humanitarian parole” status, which does not provide path to citizenship or residency. Pressure Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act to give them a pathway to citizenship.
    • 10–14 January: Campaign to increase pressure on Biden to close Guantanamo (now has 38 prisoners)
    • AIUSA e-mail about new "Distributed Organizing approach"
      • pilot program to grow AIUSA’s base by organizing around interest/topic groups? (unclear)
      • Barbara will forward the e-mail to our list after tonight's meeting
  • Mention of Unsilenced, new film about China's crackdown on human rights; discussion of this film's connection to the Falun Gong organization, which publishes Epoch Times and promotes alt-right causes and conspiracy theories
  • Next month we will have a guest speaker: Jim MacDonald, the AIUSA country specialist for Sri Lanka 

PRIORITY CAMPAIGNS & ISSUES [5 minutes each]

  • Gun Violence [Bob Rodini]
    • Information sources
      • Tom Buglio, chair of the Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
        • monthly Zoom meeting, e-mail list
        • statistics on gun purchases
      • CeaseFirePA: NYT article about children and gun deaths
      • GunsenseUS: Zoom session on two heroes (success story from Chester PA)
        • to get invitation to join upcoming "Success Meeting" send e-mail to gunsenseus@gmail.com
    • AIUSA “Heroes Campaign”
      • People who are known as violence interrupters or peace keepers who work to stop gun violence in their neighborhoods
      • work on the Break the Cycle of Violence Bill
      • 24 January event: evening with Larry Krasner (Philadelphia District Attorney)
    • Bob: Will ask Ton Buglio to speak at one of our meetings Bill: How do the police feel about increased gun violence?
  • Refugee and Migrant Rights [Help Wanted]: need someone to cover this topic—contact Jeff if you're interested

UPDATES [5 minutes each]

  • Kabylia Update [Marksen Harouz]—not present tonight
  • Death Penalty Update [Brendan Hickey]—not present tonight

REVIEWS [5 minutes each]

  • Jeff: watched first three episodes of the documentary miniseries Struan recommended (“Can’t Get You Out of My Head”) about how governments infiltrate protest movements; was creeped out but will watch the rest on Struan's recommendation
  • Struan: “The Sound of Metal”—about a drummer who goes deaf
  • April: “King in the Wilderness”—about the last year of MLK’s life Bob: HBO released the documentary The Forever Prisoner about Abu Zubaydah in Guantanamo; he is now insane and will probably be there forever

ACTIONS

  • Struan: "Free Venezuelan Prisoner of Conscience" (Venezuela: UA 75.21)
  • Heather: "Two Eritreans Risk Deportation from Egypt" (Egypt: UA 103.21)
  • April: "Environmental Lawyer under House Arrest" (USA: UA 105.21) [additional information available here]
  • Tilo: "Arbitrarily Detained Lawyer Denied Health Care" (Egypt: UA 190.18)
  • Frank: "Peaceful Activists Jailed for 'Defamation'" (Democratic Republic of Congo: UA 117.21)
OLD BUSINESS
  • Case File
    • Bill: Do we have a current case file?
    • Jeff: We had one, but it has been dropped. Will discuss this more next time. Maybe we can pick up a new case file.
NEW BUSINESS
  • Tabling at Bonnie Raitt concert at Mann Center on 15 June
    • Bill, Barbara, Bob all interested
    • Jeff will get more information
    • Bill encourages everyone to watch this performance of Roy Orbison's "Sweet Dreams Baby," which includes Bonnie Raitt as one of the backing singers
NEXT MEETING (online): 15 February, 7:30 p.m. 

04 January 2022

2021 Write for Rights follow-up

 AIUSA Group 342 has been recognized by AIUSA for our participation in the 2021 Write for Rights campaign!




15 December 2021

Minutes for December 2021 meeting

December 15, 2021

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS [Jeff Singleton]: Jeff, Barbara. Bob, Bill, Tilo, Marsha


REPORTS [5 minutes each]

  • Minutes (Marsha): November minutes were posted right before this meeting
  • Treasurer’s report (Tilo): No change
  • Social Media Director’s Report (Barbara): Jeff wondered if we should have a monthly budget for social media posts? Barb says she’s not feeling so good about Facebook these days; other social media is free; she posts meeting info on our website
  • Group 342 Coordinator’s Report [Jeff Singleton]:  Jeff is enjoying planning meetings with Barb and Bob
  • Amnesty News [Barbara Quintiliano]

PRIORITY CAMPAIGNS & ISSUES [5 minutes each]

  • Gun Violence [Bob Rodini]
    • Should call it “gun violence prevention”
    • Bob and Jeff attended a Sandy Hook commemoration event on December 5; Josh Maxwell talked about his experience with domestic violence while he was mayor of Downingtown
    • Gun violence prevention (GVP) organizations: Every Town for Gun Safety, Ceasefire PA, Moms Demand Action, GunSenseUs, Unitarian Universalists Seeking Justice for All
    • Bob has not seen relevant updates on the AIUSA website
  • Free People From ICE Detention [Bill Schomp]
    • info from AIUSA website “our work” “free people from ICE detention” (amnestyusa.org/campaigns/freethemnow/)
    • AIUSA seems really spread out; Bill will try to find out who at AIUSA is the “czar” for this topic
    • As of October 8: 22292 people detained, many of whom got COVID; AIUSA doesn’t say where those people should go if released
    • actions on the website
    • have any questions? Bill will do the research, will also research if anyone in Congress is trying to do work on this
  • Refugee & Migrant Rights [beginning 01/22]: [Jeff: Does anyone have special interest in this subject?]


UPDATES [5 minutes each]

  • Kabylia Update [Marksen Harouz]—not present tonight
  • Death Penalty Update [Brendan Hickey]—not present tonight

 

REVIEWS [5 minutes each]

  • Jeff: watched first three episodes of the documentary miniseries Struan recommended (“Can’t Get You Out of My Head”) about how governments infiltrate protest movements
  • Bob: HBO released the documentary The Forever Prisoner about Abu Zubaydah in Guantanamo; he is now insane and will probably be there forever

WRITE FOR RIGHTS (part 2)

Online petitions and letters prepped by Barbara and Bob (distributed to our e-mail list before this meeting)

Visit write.amnestyusa.org/good-news/ to see Write for Rights success stories


17 November 2021

Minutes for November 2021 meeting

Wednesday, 17 November 2021 (in person and via Zoom)

In attendance: Jeff, Barbara, Bob, Heather, Marsha, Bill, Struan, Tilo, April

Greetings and Personal Updates

Treasurer's Report (Tilo): Wells Fargo almost closed our account because of inactivity, but Tilo fixed it. Some discussion about what to do with the money we have in there. Decided to keep using it for postage, stationery, event supplies/fees.

Amnesty News (Barbara): Discussion of new (published last month) book Know Your Rights and Claim Them: A Guide for Youth, by Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie, and Geraldine Van Bueren.

Coordinator's Report (Jeff): Our group's monthly meetings are now planned by committee (Jeff, Barbara, and Bob). Agenda will include time limits for each topic to help us stay on track, as well as a section called "Priority Campaigns and Issues" with topics that we are following throughout the year.

Priority Campaigns and Issues
  • Gun violence (Bob): There are lots of regional/state groups focusing on gun violence. Maybe we can build alliances with them? Attend their protests/events?
  • Refugee and migrant rights (Jeff): (Jeff will start this next month.)
  • Free people from ICE detention: (We need someone to be in charge of this topic.)
Updates: Planned to get Kabylia update from Marksen and dealth penalty update from Brendan, but neither is at this month's meeting.

Reviews: Bitter Lake documentary (directed by Adam Curtis) about why the USA got involved in Afghanistan
  • Jeff watched this recently (based on Struan's recommendation)
  • Connections to Wahabism in Saudi Arabia
  • Lots of old documentary/video footage
  • Struan: all of Adam Curtis's stuff is on YouTube; also check out his six-part BBC series on protest
Write for Rights: Tonight we signed cards and letters on behalf of five of the case files (Belarus, Thailand, Guatemala, Ukraine, Israel)

Next meeting: 15 December 2021, 7:30 p.m., via Zoom

15 September 2021

Minutes for September 2021 meeting

 Wednesday, 15 September 2021 (via Zoom)

In attendance: Jeff, Barbara, Bob, April, Struan, Bill, Brendan, Heather

Greetings and Personal Updates

Members gave updates on their activities since last meeting.

We continued to discuss format and venues of future meetings. We agreed that there is value in continued to meet via Zoom every other month, as it allows members who live at a distance to continue to participate in our group activities.

Public meetings will be announced on our social media accounts.

Jeff suggested that each month a member volunteer to summarize a major AIUSA campaign. Bob volunteered to speak about the Ending Gun Violence campaign at the October meeting. Jeff also suggested that members review a film, podcast, magazine article, etc., at our meetings. 

Barbara spoke briefly about Banned Books Week actions (September 21 to October 2). During this period, Amnesty International draws attention to people around the world who have been imprisoned, threatened, or murdered because of their writing, art, or other published work. AIUSA is highlighting the cases of six authors and has provided online petitions for each of them: https://www.amnestyusa.org/banned-books-2021/


Actions
  • "Release All Peaceful Protestors" (Cuba: UA 88.21)
  • "Activist Jailed for Anti-President T-Shirts" (Nigeria: UA 89.21)
  • "Human Rights Defenders Remain in Detention" (Belarus: UA 85.21)
  • "Opposition Politicians Tried by Special Court" (Egypt: UA 107.19)
  • "Peaceful Activists Released on Bail" (Democratic Republic of Congo: UA 74.21)
Next meeting (online): Wednesday, 20 October 2021, 7:30 p.m. 

Minutes for April 2022 meeting

20 April 2022 AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom) In attendance: Jeff, Barbara, Bob, Heather, Bill, Tilo, Marsha REPORTS [5 minutes each] Tr...