Notes from meeting — August 16, 2014

Posted: August 20, 2014 in Meetings

Notes from 8/16/14 meeting of RI Coalition for Human and Civil Rights Rochambeau Library, Providence 1PM

Present: Terry Cummings, Randall Rose, Nick Schmader, Richie Cooke for part of mtg.,Cathy Orloff.

Facilitator: Randall.

Notes: Cathy.

  1. Vigil on Thursday 8/14 downtown Providence, against police brutality and Michael Brown’s shooting in Missouri. Turnout very good, probably more than the 200 reported in ProJo; crowd very nice, mostly young; inter-racial pictures on very good. Also maybe this event and the one at Brown last fall with the NY Police Commissioner might slow down local police from getting overly abusive with the public? Negatives re: Journal coverage; for one thing it left out a lot of what the speakers said of their personal experiences of police brutality. Also there was no TV coverage. Times are changing: the (corporate-owned) media sometimes totally ignore mass demonstrations. Recently the BBC ignored 20,000 rallying outside its own building! Also FaceBook and Twitter are so popular now, despite their vulnerability to mass surveillance. Maybe more people don’t turn out because even though the events are well-intentioned, the ralliers often have complaints but lack specific proposals, so what was really accomplished? Cathy said she would like to address that more fully and will send a draft to Terry.
  2. Obama-in-RI Aug. 29 Vigil The new RI Anti-War Committee is organizing it; many of us overlap both groups. We also discussed location; 2 seemed for Newport, 1 for Providence and 1 was OK with whatever the larger group decides. Possible locations in Newport were reviewed. What to officially ask for: end NSA spying, end aid to Israel; US drones and troops out of Middle East; end blockade of Gaza. Also reform Wall St. and clean up stock market activities. Also end the war on youth of color; stop torture, close Guantanamo, demilitarize local police forces. ( Perhaps too many demands will be too distracting? ) There’s another RIAntiwar meeting this Wednesday evening 8/20 to continue planning.
  3. RI Constitutional Convention – Whether to have one will be on the Nov. 2014 ballot. If yes, delegates will be elected in 2015; proposed amendments will be voted on in 2016. Groups favoring one: Operation Clean Government; (Common Cause is neutral); some “insiders” like Gary Sasse and former Justice Robert Flanders. RI Taxpayers group. Randall favors it and is working with April Collins and Mike McCarthy to try and put together a platform; he may run as a delegate? Groups against it: Unions, many progressives: Planned Parenthood, Gay Pride, some in the “Democratic elite” ( e.g.House Speaker Mattiello); Tea Party. We decided to have the RICHCR favor having one, but again since our attendance was low today, if anyone has major objections, please post on the listserve.
  4. Senator Dawson Hodgson to attend our meeting? This had been favorably discussed before. He is running against Kilmartin for the Attorney General office. Suggested to invite him to our September meeting, in which case we need a big turnout for that event. The buzz from the Snowden revelations is waning; that may be why our attendance has fallen off? But police militarization issue is also a Rights issue, we can do more with that. Nick volunteered to look into that.
  5. Brown Student Outreach – They have an Activities Fair in their old gym in early September. Maybe we could attend and recruit some students? Also find out if there is a corollary group on campus. Randall, Terry, Richie and Nick may be able to do this.

Note from Cathy – I later realized that we neglected to mention the Aug 5
rally re: RIPTA and Kennedy Plaza – ably organized by Patricia Raub! Also with a decent turnout and good coverage. So it has been a productive month, IMO!!

Next meeting, September 13, probably at Rochambeau library again.


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