16 November 2022

Minutes for November 2022 meeting

 16 November 2022

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)


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

GREETINGS AND MEMBER CHECK-INS


GUN VIOLENCE REPORT [Bob]

  • Looking through the photographs in the CeasefirePA literature he has received, Bill observes that all of the politicians who advocate for gun control are Democrats. He sees zero Republicans in the mix. 
  • The 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting is coming up on December 14. Since that event, the only gun control measure enacted is the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was passed June 25 (and got support in response to the Uvalde shooting).
  • The PA House impeached Philly D.A. Krasner today. However, a 2/3 vote in the PA Senate is needed to convict, and if the vote goes along party lines (which is almost certainly will), the GOP does not have enough votes. This impeachment is a dog-and-pony show to appease the GOP base. 
  • The Democrats are poised to take control of the PA House. If they can control at least one chamber, this will prevent the GOP from trying to sneak in legislation (especially anti-abortion legislation) by putting it on two consecutive legislative ballots. 

MIGRANTS' RIGHTS [Bill]
  • "Amnesty has thrown in the towel, apparently": Bill is having trouble finding info/campaigns/actions on Amnesty's website on this issue.
  • Bill is interested in housing refugees (and wrote to the governor of Ohio offering to do this).
  • Our last Amnesty case file, Ivo Feh (Cameroon), was released from prison last December. Do you want to take on another case file?
  • Some discussion of this. Barbara will look into it.

OTHER DISCUSSION
  • Do we want to meet bimonthly? --> Sure, let's try it. (We can always switch back to monthly if we like.) We will skip the December meeting and meet again via Zoom in January. Maybe we can do an in-person meeting at Wegmans in the spring.
  • Any other actions we can take? --> We can continue to use the Google Group for sharing actions, news, etc. Everyone should feel free to post there.

WRITE FOR RIGHTS 2022
Discussion of five cases (we'll discuss the other five next time):
           
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, January 18, 7:30 p.m (via Zoom)

19 October 2022

Minutes for October 2022 meeting

19 October 2022

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)


In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Heather, Emily

GREETINGS AND MEMBER CHECK-INS

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Write for Rights will launch on November 1. We will sign petitions during our November and December meetings (although AI usually extends the deadline to the end of January).

GUN VIOLENCE REPORT [Bob]

  • Verdict in Stoneman High School shooting: Imposition of the death penalty in Florida requires a unanimous decision on the part of the jury. Unanimity was not reached, and an automatic sentence of life without parole was imposed on convicted shooter. Gov. DeSantis is calling for changes to Florida's death penalty law. 
  • A shooter with a felony record was able to purchase ammunition in Philadelphia. because Pennsylvania lacks state laws requiring background checks. This person was one of several suspects in the deadly shooting at Roxborough High School on September 27.
           
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, November 16, 7:30 p.m (via Zoom)

21 September 2022

Minutes for September 2022 meeting

21 September 2022

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)


In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Bill, Struan, Frank, Heather, Marsha


PERSONAL CHECK-INS [everyone]
  • Jeff is stepping away from Group 342 for a while.
  • Bill wants to house a refugee—how can he find one?
  • Barbara would like someone to serve as co-organizer for this group. Struan will consider taking this on.
  • Let's think about moving to a hybrid meeting format with occasional in-person meetings at Wegmans.

GUN VIOLENCE REPORT [Bob]
  • Discussion of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed June 25. It's the first law in 28 years to address gun violence prevention. Its features include: firearm safety act support for red flag programs and closing the "boyfriend loophole." Credit card companies now agree to enact tracking code to track gun-related purchases.
  • Recommendation of the Amnesty-promoted documentary The Sweetest Land, about gun violence in Hartford, Connecticut. 
  • There will be a Moms Agains Gun Violence rally in Harrisburg on September 25 to promote candidates who are working on gun violent prevention.

I.C.E. / IMMIGRATIO REPORT [Bill]
  • Has Amnesty taken this off their website? (Bill can't find it there anymore.)
  • Discussion of the "remain in Mexico" policy.
  • Bill thinks there are fewer urgent actions available these days.

BANNED BOOKS [Barbara]
  • The AI banned books website will be up until October 21. 
  • It's kind of like Write for Rights: there's photo for each case, and clicking on it takes you to information about it and a letter for action

GOOD NEWS


NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, October 19, 7:30 p.m.



18 May 2022

Minutes for May 2022 meeting

 18 May 2022

AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom)


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


REPORTS [5 minutes each]

  • Treasurer’s report [Tilo]: no change
  • Social Media Director’s Report [Barbara]
    • currently using free posts on FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Patch
    • Barbara raised the question of paying Wix (about $100/yr) to have our own URL; Tilo and Marsha don't think it's worth the expense
  • 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
    • Jeff and Bob drove together, met Tom Buglio there
    • met with Dianne Herrin (PA House District 156)
    • various speakers, including some relatives of young people who died violent deaths (MOMS—Mothers of Murdered Sons) and Governor Wolf, criticized legislature for not taking up gun violence laws in past three years
    • upcoming event: “Wear Orange” (Bob is looking for more info)
  • Bill: there are lots of groups—do they work together?
  • Bob: yes! (two big national groups are Everytown USA  and Moms Demand Action)

FREE PEOPLE FROM ICE DETENTION [Bill]

  • Latest stats from https://www.amnestyusa.org/campaigns/freethemnow/
    • 20,033 PEOPLE DETAINED BY ICE as of 3/31/22
    • 134 ICE DETENTION FACILITIES As of 4/4/22
    • CONGRESS PASSED A FUNDING BILL FOR FISCAL YEAR 2022 THAT:
    • Gives DHS $23 billion to fuel its ICE/CBP detention and deportation machine
    • Allows 34,000 people to be locked up in ICE detention
    • Includes $10 million for ICE’s so-called “alternatives to detention” that still restrict, surveil, and harm immigrants, and have NOT resulted in fewer people detained
  • unequal treatment of asylum seekers evident in US government positive response to Ukrainian refugees
ABORTION RIGHTS [Barbara]

ACTIONS

  • "Charge or Release Student Mohamed Imran" (Sri Lanka 42.22)
  • "Free the Gezi Defendants" (Turkey 37.22)
  • "No Access to Family and Proper Medical Care" (China 284.16)
  • "Human rights defender at risk in Gambia: Madi Jobarteh" (Gambia 40.22)
NEXT MEETING: 15 June, 7:30 p.m. 



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. 

Minutes for November 2022 meeting

  16 November 2022 AIUSA Group 342 meeting (via Zoom) In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Heather, Bill, Marsha GREETINGS AND MEMBER CHECK-INS GUN ...