We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Updated DC info from Luke


Here are some notes from our meeting on Thursday, along with more logistical information gathered from a conversation that I had with Carmen Trotta (WAT organizer) last night.

-PARTICIPANTS. Six of us are definitely going (Anna, Jake, Jerica, John, Luke, and Zac). Several others remain interested. Please forward this email to others who are interested. Everyone is welcome.

-TRAVEL. We'll rent a van (or vans). The cost should be between $50-90/person (includes gas), depending on how many of us there are. We plan on leaving early Saturday morning, Feb. 28th. With stops, it should take about 13 hours to get there. We have three options for our return trip. (1) Drive back to Chicago on Friday, Mar. 6th. (2) Drive to the Cleveland area, stay overnight at Anna's, and then finish the drive on Saturday morning. (3) Drive back to Chicago on Sat., Mar. 7th. We'll come to a decision later.

-HOUSING. We will be staying at a Buddhist Temple. There is lots of space, and it's likely that we'll all have beds. While they do have some sleeping bags, we should also bring a few because it can be chilly there.

-FOOD. They have been "begging" for food and will be able to provide many of the meals. When this isn't low, we'll buy groceries and eat as a community when possible. This will enable us to keep food costs at a minimum. I'm sure that we'll want to eat a restaurants at least a couple times during the week, too.

-FUNDRAISING. Aside from travel (about $75) and meal costs (about $50), it would be nice to make a donation (about $25) to Witness Against Torture for providing housing and organizing the campaign. This brings the total cost to about $150 for the week, plus whatever else you want to spend money on in D.C. This is probably a high estimate. Some of us may want to fundraise this money. The IPS students will be asking Randy Gibbons for money (Jerica is on this). Luke and Zac will approach the theology department. There may be other campus groups who are willing to help. We already have $600, but we'll need to raise more.

-WAT ACTIVITIES. It will be important for all of us to participate in the daily vigil each day (11am-1pm), plus any other WAT-sponsored activities. (There will likely be one per day.) This includes a film night, meeting with members of Congress (organized by WAT), hearing a speaker, etc. We can add anything to this list that we want! This includes organizing a nonviolent direct action, which may be "street theatre." It may also include setting up additional meetings with our own representations and/or senators.

-OTHER ACTIVITIES. Aside from those community activities, the rest of the week will includes lots of free time. There are many other D.C. sites to visit, and I'm sure that several of us have family and friends in the area. It is important to have this free time. This is not a school "field trip"; we will not have organized activities for eight hours each day. We are adults traveling to D.C. to participate in this campaign (primarily), but there will be lots of other time to have fun and pursue other areas of interest. Some of us may want to visit the Holocaust Museum; a White House tour is always possible (and being looked into by Jerica).

We will meet again next THURSDAY (1/29) after the Naomi Klein event. Even though the event is scheduled from 7-10pm (according to Facebook), I suspect that it will end about 9pm. Let me know if you would like me to call you about 15 minutes before our meeting. We'll meet at Hopkins House. The agenda for that meeting with include (1) who is else going? (2) fundraising and (3) nonviolent action planning.

Before the meeting, I suggest reading the following WAT articles about Obama's Executive Orders:
- "Yes, We Can Close Guantanamo. No, We Can't Wait Another Year!"
- "Witness Against Torture Praises Executive Orders on Guantanamo and Torture; Calls on Obama Administration to Take Additional Steps"

Also, I have attached two helpful articles. One is from politico.com, and offers a helpful analysis of what the Executive Orders do and don't do. The second is from CNN, and describes who is at Guantanamo; is it the "worst of the worst" (as popularly believed)? This is helpful in light of some recent Pentagon press releases.

Anna is generously creating a blog for Kairos and our group, so we can update each other with ideas for activities and actions while in D.C. Anna will send the link to the group when it's up and running.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any additional questions.


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