Meeting Minutes

2012:   11/5/12, 8/8/12, 7/11/12, 6/13/12, /5/9/12, 4/11/12 3/14/12, 2/8/12, 1/11/12

Archives: 2011

Minutes AI meeting

November 5, 2012

-Since Dave Lefkowitz has left the leadership position when he relocated to Portland, Dennis Remick has come forward to take on the responsiblility of coordinator at this time.  Dave has continued to support our group with his guidance as well as continuing with website support.   We are very grateful for this… thank you Dave.

-Dennis Remick and Don Wertheimer have agreed to take over as signatories for the checking account.  Funds will be used to cover costs for printing and postage for POC Mao Hengfeng letters (over 100 signed – thank you Dennis) and petitions to Stop Recruitment of Child Soldiers in Myanmar . 
-Amnesty co-sponsored event with SOU UN Club featuring Myra Dahgaypaw, US Campaign for Burma and Fred Stockwell, Eyes to Burma (ETB) was held on October 17th and many valuable connections were made.  Two attendees are planning to go as medics to Thailand and spoke with Fred to coordinate.  Another woman helped them raise money for their trip and has volunteered to give a recital as a fundraiser for Eyes to Burma .  Two others are also planning a trip and have volunteered to assist Fred at the dump.  Dennis attended most of Fred’s ETB events and followed up with an interview that he videotaped and plans to edit into Fred’s photographic powerpoint.  Thanks to all!
– Those in attendance reviewed areas of interest and commitment. 
We agreed to continue to support the work and release of Mao Hengfeng, particularly in light of the disturbing news that she is being sentenced to one and a half years of internment in a labor camp.  Please follow link below to learn more:
We will continue to work on education and advocacy for Burma . 
Barbara will investigate a speaker and film event for MLK day and has contacted Burmese journalist Min Zin ( and Nicholas Kristoff – Half the Sky.
Don will review AI’s work on ending the death penalty in Oregon and share with group at next meeting.
Dennis will contact Sara to gather information about the annual write-a-thon for December.
Kathleen continues to support Amnesty’s work as liason to the University (SOU.)
Our next meeting will be on Monday 12/3/12 located on the SOU Campus, Stevenson Union Cafe at 2PM.

August 8, 2012

1. Immigration
August 19 @ 6:30pm at Unitarian Church – Peg Bowdin from Az to speak
Hosting another panel on ICE and Immigration in the RV in September at RCC focusing on Dream Act Deferred Status and Secure Communications actions
– Steve to Update next month
2. Myanmar(Burma) Update by Barb
Phyo Wai Aung was released on 8/3 No new Prisoners of War identified. Barb will keep us advised.  Fred Stockwell’s 3rd visit to Ashland with Eyes on Burma presentation. SOU and Unitarians will host activties;10/16  Fred to participate on a panel along with guest speaker Myra from DC (Cost of $500 to fly Myra out. Barb pursuing funds), 10/17
Burma DJ Film at SOU(possible co-host with AIFF), 10/18 “Hearth” story telling at UCC, 10/21 Dance at SOU, 10/28 Fred to speak at the Havarah. Idea presented that our goal is to recruit young people at SOU during UN activities.
3. Mao Hengfeng Update – Regina
AI closed case.
4. Area Report – Don
AI USA is having financial issues. Many staff layoffs.  Sara Schmidt remains Western Region Coordinator

July 11, 2012 – skipped because of low turnout – failed to send out notice and summer doldrums may have contributed? – we will take up the July agenda in August

June 13, 2012 

Present: Grace, Regina, Dennis, Barb, Steve, Karen, Mary, Mary – new

1 year anniversary celebrated with cupcakes

Debrief from Iran Human Rights Campaign  – Reza Mohajerinad     Dennis

Dennis creating a film on Reza. Signed copies of his book will be at the June book festival

The May event generated 104 petition signatures, 65 personal letters to end Baha’i persecution, 74 personal letters to release students. Postage donated. Met with SOU President requesting a street to be named for “July 18”. She recommended that the city be approached.

Update on Iranian web programmer – Saeed Malekpour                    Karen

Four years in prison with serious health issues. He is on and off death row. He is a Canadian citizen.  Steve Harper, PM of Canada, actively working on release. Karen wrote 3 sets of letters.  Decision: Karen to keep us posted. Group felt that since he was a Canadian citizen AI work would be more effective coming from Canadian citizens.

Women’s Human Rights Campaign  – May 10 “No Woman, No Cry” event.  Decision: Delay discussion until Nadine present which may be in the fall.

Immigration Human Rights Campaign:  Steve and Barb;  Community Forum held at the Unitarian co-sponsored by AI and others – 30 attendees; Secure Community Law – local booking agency forwards fingerprints to FBI and then ICE; Mandate from federal government. Terry Holderness(police chief), Deanna Bonda(immigrant student), Sara Sandell(attorney), Dave Lefkowitz spoke on the panel. Police chief does not support law since it undermines community trust.

Burmese Refugees in Burma:  Barb;  Eyes to Burma – Fred Stockwell – 3rd year – October 2012; Burmese speaker – Mira Dagapaw from DC – needs airfare; Decision: AI will co-sponsor event; Discussion to take on a Burmese Prisoner of Conscience – AI contact is Jim Roberts;  Action: Group signed letter Barb had written

Prisoner Of Conscience Mao Hengfeng: Regina; Norway has decided to inactivate their work on Mao Hengfeng.  Decision: We will also inactivate our work on Mao Hengfeng. She is no longer in prison or under house arrest.

Legislative Update:  Steve;  Wyden and Merkley representatives met with Steve and bother were invited to the immigration forum

Treasurer Report – none (Karen) Checks coming to Dave.

Tabling: inactive

July 4th – no planned activity

Question: Does AI pay for speaker honorarium?

Events: June 26 – Immigration Forum at the Unitarian Church; June 23 – Ashland Book and Author Festival 2012

Next Meeting  July 11

Facilitator        Dennis

Agenda:          1. Update on new Prisoner of Conscience – approval to move forward         Barb

    May 9, 2012

  • Prisoner of Conscience Mao Hengfeng action on hold while await AI confirmation about freedom status after Asian News reported her recent arrest
  • Discussed tackling new issue:  new POC, Womens’ Rights Campaign, and/or immigration.  Steve will lead on immigration rights through local multiple groups organizing 5/24/12 on this issue – concentration on Dream Act and Dave will report back on how group may help undocumented-unaccompanied minors (Special Immigrant Juvenile Cases in Immigration Court)
  • Iran: Execution order still in effect on Iranian webprogrammer, Saeed Malekpour; We are hosting the 5/23/12 (6-8PM at SOU Student Union) presentation by Iranian Student Activist Reza Mohajerinad at SOU and should spread the word (Jefferson Exchange radio interview on 5/22 at 8AM with our chapter and Reza),  SOU accredition on hold with BIHE while BIHE considers national, rather than piecemeal, response
  • Womens’ Rights – Nadine hosting May 10 Portland Event, “No Woman, No Cry.”
  • Updates: Legislative Coordinator and Area Coordinator – established state-wide monthly telephone meeting of local chapter coordinators, Western States Field organizer, Area Coordinator and Legislative Coordinator
  • Voted to established “Amnesty International Southern Oregon Chapter” bank/checking  account at Rogue Federal Credit Union with Karen Kerwin and David Lefkowitz as signtories (thanks Karen for shepharding this)

April 11, 2012

  • Mao Hengfeng Action presented by Gina – Happy Mothers’s Day photos and cards sent to Mao Hengfeng.  This is also being done in coordination with AI-Norway and AI-Bellingham, Washington.  Happy Mother’s Day Mao Hengfeng.
  • Urgent Action Proposal – Daniel Mark is working with AI to determine if AI will support his proposed East Jerusalem Urgent Action, and if so, our Chapter can lead the effort.
  • Iran: Karen continued leading our Chapter in supporting AI’s  campaign for Iranian webprogrammer, Saeed Malekpour, by having us send letters of support for him.
  • Iran:  Kathleen of our Chapter and as part of SOU-UN Club reported on our Medford screening of “Education Under Fire” – low turn-out but Dr. Young provided a moving post-film explanation.  Need better advertising and perhaps different time to improve student response.
  • Iran:  Legislative Coordinator reported Congress passed SB80, a Resolution Condeming Iran’s Persecution of it Baha’i Population.  Otherwise, Oregon’s Senators support for AI’s Petitionto free  Iranian Baha’i is on hold.
  • Iran:  Upcoming meeting with Dean of SOU about SOU accrediting BIHE following “Education Under Fire” screeings.
  • Iran: Upcoming human rights presentation by Iranian Student Activist Reza Mohajerinad
  • Womens’ Maternal Health Care:  Nadine is coordinating a Portland screening and panel discussion, complete with music, for the film, “No Woman, No Cry.”  AI-Portland is working hard in support of the May 10th action.
  • AI’s National Meeting March 30-April 1 – Dave reported on inspiring freed Prisoners of Conscience speeches/thank-yous, workshops and networking opportunities, including Oregon AI Chapters now coordinating monthly telephone sessions to collaborate our Oregon AI efforts
  • Donation collections began with $1/person/meeting assisted by Mary

March 14, 2012

  • Mao Hengfeng Action – our POC in China – We wrote Ashland postcards, including greetings in Chinese characters; Gina created an excel sheet to track our continued letters and mutual petitions, along with those from AI-Oslo, Norway and AI-Bellingham, WA, as well as from Cathy in rural New Mexico (who recently joined forces with us on behalf of Mao Hengfeng  – thanks Cathy!);  we reviewed local Senator Bates’ letter, which he wrote this month on Senate letterhead at our chapter’s behest, on behalf of Mao Hengfeng to the Chinese government
  • Maher Arar Campaign letters – Nadine led the group in New Campaign: Discuss focusing on Urgent Action, adding a new Prisoner of Conscience and other ideas
  • Iran: Karen wrote, and members co-signed, letters on behalf of Iranian webprogrammer, Saeed Malekpour, sentenced to death for “insulting Islam.”  Chapter assisted in organizing “Education Under Fire” screenings at Rogue Community College and Oregon State University; monitoring Southern Oregon University’s efforts to accredit Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE); co-hosted SOU skype with Iranian Student Activist Skype Event with Reza Mohajerinad, and preparing for May 21 in-person presentation by Mr. Mohajerinad.
  • Daniel Mark presented proposal for our chapter to support his efforts to establish an AI Urgent Action concerning Israeli forced evictions in East Jerusalem – our Chapter agreed that Daniel would draft a suggested letter to officials (in Israel and US) and our Chapter would email it with notice that this is not currently  an AI sponsored letter, invite contact with Daniel for more info, and Daniel will continue working with AI-USA to get protocol for establishing Urgent Action.
  • Brainstormed our display for AI’s National Meeting March 30-April 1 for Sister Laola Hironaka “Bronze” Award 2012 for chapter activism (elements to include – legislative coordinator tips, partnering with other organizations, website tips)
  • Area Coordinator, Don, updated us on new AI-USA Executive Director’s concerns about AI-USA’s dire financial distress.  However, good news is that right after our meeting, news broke that AI would be sending our Western Regional Coordinator, Sara Schmidt, to Denver.  Many wrote to AI to express that priority, and we were heard.
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Feburary 8, 2012

  • Sara Schmidt, Amnesty International Western Regional Coordinator, discussed possible direction for our Chapter and responded to questions.  Upshot:  for public events, we will be more careful to clarify to the public our sponsorship of events or parts of events and use cards to screen questions for panelists; for Mao Hengfeng, Gina will stay in contact with AI Country Specialist for China to update us each month and we will rotate monthly the task of ensuring an advocacy action for Mao Hengfeng (Nadine starts next month) and we will each bring in 10 signatures on Mao Hengfeng petition;  we will consider adding another Prisoner of Conscience or Urgent Action approach; consider $1/person/meeting (Mary kindly agreed to monitor this).
  • Reviewed Education Under Fire Screening/Panel Discussion – generally successful, multi-sensory, led to screening/planned screening for OSU, PSU, RVCC, South Carolina via Heather Nelson; national webinar presentation by Dennis Remick; Skype event with Iranian student activist….
  • Kathleen Gamer of our local chapter and SOU/UN Club reminded us of the event she is leading this Feb. 13 to skype with Reza Mohajerinad to SOU to show our community how we can support the Iranian students’ civil rights efforts:  See “Upcoming Events,” below.  Our Chapter will host letter-writing action at event.
  • Dave and/or Daniel will represent us at AI’s National Meeting March 30-April 1  — Sister Laola Hironaka “Bronze” Award 2012
  • Legislative Coordinator Jensen secured letters of support to end discrimination against Baha’i from Senator Alan Bates, US Senators Wyden and Merkley
  • Area Coordinator Don is working with Sara to coordinate Oregon Chapters potential Statewide meeting in April.

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January 11, 2012

  • Voted in favor of forwarding emails from one member to all our members
  • Citizens United Event – Jan 20 at Vogel Plaza – Barbara will notify Dave by email and Dave will forward to Chapter
  • Write a Thon – Already effective (see blog for details)
  • Final preparations for January 16 Event: “Education Under Fire” Film Screening & Panel Discussion – Gina, Karen, Nadine, Mary  and Barbara will arrive a 4PM and organize actions to sign petition, get letters signed/mailed, photos for “If Education is a Crime, then I’m Guilty”
  • Discuss Attending AI Annual General Meeting in Denver, March 30-April 1 (Hironaka Award Application Solicited) – Barbara is considering and we need more to make 4 including Bend Group for subsidy
  • Mao Hengfeng Campaign update – AI Norway collaboration – Norway sent out 150 sigs to Shanghai and AI Southern Oregon sent out 60+ sigs to Shanghai mayor; committed to sending Chinese New Year (Jan. 23) cards to Mao ASAP
  • Legislative Campaign Update – no show
  • Area Coordinator Update – no show
  • Bank Account Update – decided to hold money another month to revisit need for bank at this point
  • Shared AI Networking: Established contact with AI Central Oregon/Bend, OR chapter – Phil Randall at 541-388-1793
  • Local Networking: Occupy Ashland speaks to us – unable to come

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