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. 

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Minutes for April 2022 meeting

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