Board Minutes

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-MARCH 2024

Date: 3/12/24

Present: Gary Sandman, Manuel Dotson, Mike Bentley, Sherman Bamford, Stephen Niamke.  Regrets from Roxana Navab.

  1. Board
  2. Surgery-The Director’s surgery went well, though his recovery has been challenging.  Bit by bit, he will catch up on things.
  3. Resignation-Xan Whitt has resigned from the board.  He will continue to work on the Teen Peace Jam.  We will miss him! 
  4. Southwest Virginia Coalition for Palestine Fundraiser-Gary reported that disbursing money to support disaster relief, according to IRS guidelines, was okay.  Questions were raised about whether that could be for a particular group of people or for people in general.  Gary will look further into this.
  • Infrastructure Committees

a.       Finance Committee

1. Balance-Plowshare has about $8,148 in our checking and saving accounts, with all bills paid.

2. Stewardship-We talked again about organizing a fundraiser.

b.       Outreach Committee

1. Social media-Email list has about 500 people; Facebook page has about 790 people; Facebook group has about 180 people; and Instagram has about 120 followers.

2. Newsletter-The next Plowshare News newsletter will come out in March. About 280 copies will be mailed.  The Director may need help, due to his surgery.

3. Next Meeting-Committee will gather on March 26 at 7 PM, through Zoom.

c.       Volunteers Committee-We are making contacts with people concerned about the Gaza-Israel War and may be able to work with them.

  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-About 10 people attended the February vigil. We especially invited those concerned about the Gaza-Israel War. Next vigil will be March 16.  The St. Patrick’s Day parade will happen at the same time, so we will advise people to get down there early.
  • Program Committee
  • Progressives Potluck-We are looking at April, perhaps, for the next Progressives Potluck.  (Subsequently, this may be May).

2. Voices from the Holy Land Salon-Next salon, with the film Israeli Apartheid in Action: Water Control will be on March 17. Plowshare is a co-sponsor.

3. Teen Peace Jam-Next planning meeting for the Jam is on March 10 at 2:30 PM, through Zoom. We have some new people getting involved in planning for the Jam. Jam itself will occur on April 20 from 9 AM to 4 PM.

4. Lobbying Workshop-Gary has been in contact with the Friends Committee for National Legislation about the workshop.  They are available, and we may have the workshop in May.

5. Story-telling Workshops-Story-telling workshops will occur on May 17 (training) and 18 (program) at the Dumas Center.  Theme will be “Uplifting Community Values”; topics like food security and gun violence will be addressed.  Plowshare will co-sponsor. 

6. Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: civil disobedience, Palestine, the Boycott film, Nathan Richardson and Iranian Protests.

7. Next Meeting-Committee will gather on March 26 at 7 PM, through Zoom.

  • Carpooling Coordinator-Nothing new.
  • Lobbying Committee-Mike continues to receive no response from Senator Kaine’s office about a meeting.  Gary will try to get them to respond, too.  Mike has emailed Senator Kaine and Warner about Gaza and Ukraine.
  • Public Information Committee
  • Action Alert #70 was sent out in March. 
  • WVTF-FM Friends Council-Mike will attend a Friends Council meeting on March 13.

f.      Palestine

1. Boycott-Divestment-Sanction Project-The committee has begun to narrow down which companies on which they will focus.  People from Peace Praxis, a peace group to the north of Roanoke, joined us.  Next meeting will be on March 17, through Zoom.  (Subsequently, this happened March 24).

2.  Southwest Virginia Coalition for Palestine-We are looking at supporting this group with their legal fees due to recent summons for trespass at the Elbit plant.

4.      Other-Stephen has become the national organizer for Pax Christi.  Congratulations!

5.      Next Meeting-Board gathers again on April 9 at 8 PM, through Zoom.

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-FEBRUARY 2024

Date: 2/13/24

Present: Gary Sandman, Manuel Dotson, Mike Bentley, Sherman Bamford, Stephen Niamke, Xan Whitt.  Regrets from Roxana Navab.

  1. Board
  2. Surgery-The Director will be undergoing spinal surgery in mid-February.  He has made arrangements to carry on Plowshare projects during his recovery.  He may be unavailable for a time, however.
  3. Resignation-Naomi Clement has resigned from the board.  She will continue to work on the Teen Peace Jam.  We will miss her!  Since she is withdrawing from the board, the Truth-in-Recruitment project will be discontinued again.
  4. Volunteer-Questions about a Plowshare volunteer were resolved by the Director and the President.
  5. Annual Report-Board approved the 2023 annual report, below.
  • PLOWSHARE ANNUAL REPORT

Plowshare Peace and Justice Center was active again in 2023.  We see our mission primarily as being a peace and justice education center, but we also hold witnesses; lobby political officeholders; and organize change campaigns.  Specifically, we gathered for peace vigils; presented programs and workshops; offered rides to demonstrations outside Roanoke; prepared to hold death penalty vigils; lobbied political officeholders; worked to get the show Democracy Now! and a valid Community Advisory Board at WVTF-FM; and co-sponsored a Climate Change vigil with the Sierra Club.  We also raised funds, did outreach and recruited volunteers for Plowshare.  (Please note: our treasury had declined significantly by the end of the year.  We hope more contributions and pledges will come in, so we can continue our work).  Below is a breakdown of our activities by committee and coordinator:

Plowshare Board: The board endorsed the Arab-American Heritage Month Celebration, the opposition to the Evans Spring project and the effort to redesignate the Shawnee National Forest to the Shawnee National Park.  We agreed that Plowshare be listed as an organization in the Apartheid-Free Coalition. The board held a mini-retreat in October to consider how Plowshare was doing and ideas for new projects.  We issued a statement on the Gaza-Israel War.  We wrote a letter opposing the potential expulsion of the Palestinian people from Gaza in another Nabka.  We created a Palestine Committee.

Peace Vigil Committee: The committee organized silent peace vigils every month in front of the Roanoke City Market Building, especially with a concern for Palestine.  (Vigils began gathering in April 2005).  The city contacted us about a requirement to file for permits every three months.  This was not the understanding that we have had with the city since our lawsuit.  We found the legal documents about this and contacted the city regarding the permits.  The city agreed to continue our original agreement: we will apply for permits yearly, and they will be issued quarterly. We also participated in and co-sponsored the Sierra Club climate change vigils. 

Program Committee: The committee showed the film Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing in June.  We organized the Progressives Potlucks in March, June, October and December.  We held our annual Open House in October, at which we presented the Peace- and Justice-maker of the Year Award.  The committee began organizing another Teen Peace Jam for the spring 2024, partnering with the Points of Diversity and the Roanoke City Youth Services.  We co-sponsored Kingian Non-Violence Training in April and May and the Ride for Palestine in July.  We publicized the Voices from the Holy Land film series, both a film and an online salon, monthly. 

Death Penalty Committee: We discontinued our death penalty vigil committee.  Virginia abolished the death penalty in 2021.

Carpooling Coordinator: The coordinator offered to arrange rides to the antiwar demonstration in Washington DC in March and for the Palestinian demonstrations in Washington DC in November and December.

Lobbying Committee: The committee made contacts (letters, emails, Facebook posts, calls, visits) with the staff of Representatives Cline and Griffiths and Senators Warner and Kaine, especially about Palestine.  We presented the Move the Money resolution to the Roanoke City Council in June.  We wrote Op-Ed pieces for the Roanoke Times.  The committee also lobbied with the Roanoke Citizens Climate Lobby, Fairfax Grassroots, Interfaith Power and Light, Code Pink and the Evans Springs group.  We participated in meetings of the Experiential Peace Organizing Committee.  (Plowshare is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  It does not endorse or give money to candidates.  It expresses our concerns to officeholders). 

Public Information Committee: The committee attended Friends Council meetings in February and April.  We spoke on Plowshare concerns about WVTF-FM at the annual Virginia Tech Foundation meeting in June.  We also contacted National Public Radio about our concerns.  The committee sent out 17 Action Alerts containing legislative items and encouraging Plowshare supporters to contact their officeholders about the items.  We offered a Pastors for Peace program in May.

Palestine Committee: The Palestine Committee was created in November. We attended demonstrations in Roanoke and Washington DC in November and December.  We organized a vigil at the Elbit plant in November.  We publicized a link for UNICEF to aid Gazan children. We sent out a template for a letter about a permanent ceasefire that Plowshare supporters could share with their officeholders and local newspapers.  The committee mailed letters of concern about Islamophobia and anti-Semitism to local mosques and temples We supported the Southwest Virginia Coalition for Palestine, Jewish for Peace and other groups concerned about the Palestinian people.  We have been creating a Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions project, for which we have been reaching out to many individuals and groups to work with us.

Finance Committee: The “Plowshare News” quarterly newsletter continued to bring in contributions.  The Plowshare pledge list contained 15 individuals and groups.  Plowshare PayPal and GoFundMe accounts were available so supporters can donate online on an occasional or a regular basis.  We have a financial consultant who can help Plowshare supporters support us through bequests and IRA distributions. 

Outreach Committee: The committee used our Facebook page, Facebook group, email list, website and “Plowshare News”, our quarterly newsletter, to share concerns and projects.  We reorganized the Plowshare website and created a Plowshare Instagram.  We also posted to Reddit.  More people signed onto all these media.  A calendar containing Plowshare events, Southwestern Virginia Activist events and a Southwestern Virginia activists list was published online bi-monthly.  We created a Plowshare YouTube channel to show our programs, which now contains ten videos.  We visited the Beth Israel teen group in January.  We tabled at Pride in the Park and the Arab-American Heritage Month Celebration in April and at the Henry Street Festival in September.  We tabled weekly at the South County Library and the Raleigh Court Library, starting in the fall.  We marched in the Labor Day parade in September and the Grandin Road Christmas parade in November.

Volunteers Committee: The committee contacted several people about joining the board and other committees.  We had one new member join our board and several volunteers became active on our committees.

Other: Plowshare gave contributions to Radio Free Roanoke and the Virginia Defender.  We worked with the Mountain Valley Pipeline opposition.  We made efforts to restart the Truth-in-Recruitment project.

Plowshare had a budget of $12,996 for 2023.  We took in $12,788.07 from pledges, contributions and Kroger cards.  We spent $13,070.68 (consultant’s fee; office supplies; copies; postage; post office box; bulk mail permit; state corporation commission fee; Peace Vigil committee expenses; Palestine committee expenses; Program committee expenses; and financial support for other groups).  We had $7,516.26 in our checking and saving accounts as of December 31, 2023.

Plowshare Peace and Justice Center thanks all the volunteers who worked so hard and all the supporters who gave financially.  You made it all possible!

  • Infrastructure Committees

a.       Finance Committee

1. Balance-Plowshare has about $6,795 in our checking and saving accounts, with all bills paid.

2. Pledges-Gary contacted all 2023 pledges.  All but one were honored.

3. Stewardship-We talked again about getting grants.

4.  Annual Budget-Board approved the 2024 annual budget, below.

2024 PLOWSHARE BUDGET

Postage-$600                                                                                             

Copies-$1400                                                                

Office supplies-$250                                                               

Post Office box fee-$176                                                                   

Bulk mail permit-$310                                         

Internet-$300                                                                                             

State Corporation Commission fee-$25                                                        

Outreach Committee-$200                                                      

Program Committee-$1200     

Palestine Committee-$100                                             

Peace Vigil Committee-$100                                                            

Radio Free Roanoke contribution-$100                                              

Virginia Defenders contribution-$100                                                

Director’s consulting fee-$8580                            

Total-$13,441

b.       Outreach Committee

1. Social media-Email list has about 500 people; Facebook page has about 790 people; Facebook group has about 180 people; and Instagram has about 120 followers.

2. Newsletter-The next Plowshare News newsletter will come out in March. About 280 copies will be mailed.  The Director may need help, due to his surgery.

3. Next Meeting-Committee will gather on March 26 at 7 PM, through Zoom.

c.       Volunteers Committee-We are making contacts with people concerned about the Gaza-Israel War and may be able to work with them.

  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-About 10 people attended the November vigil. We especially invited those concerned about the Gaza-Israel War. Next vigil will be February 17.
  • Program Committee
  • Progressives Potluck-About 40 people attended the Progressives Potluck on January 28 at the Friends Meetinghouse.  Raphael McNamara of the Southwestern Virginia Coalition for Palestine was the main speaker.

2. Voices from the Holy Land Salon-Next salon, with the film Also Happening: Oppression and Violence in the West Bank, will be on February 18. Plowshare is a co-sponsor.

3. Teen Peace Jam-Next planning meeting for the Jam is on February 25 at 2:30 PM, through Zoom. We have some new people getting involved in planning for the Jam. Jam itself will occur on April 20 from 9 AM to 4 PM.

4. Lobbying Workshop-Gary has been in contact with the Friends Committee for National Legislation about the workshop.  They are available, and we may have the workshop in May.

5. Story-telling Workshops-Story-telling workshops will occur on May 17 (training) and 18 (program) at the Dumas Center.  Topics like food security and gun violence will be addressed.  Plowshare will co-sponsor. 

6. Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: civil disobedience, Palestine, the Boycott film, Nathan Richardson and Iranian Protests.

7. Next Meeting-Committee will gather on March 26 at 7 PM, through Zoom.

  • Carpooling Coordinator-We offered carpools for the March on Washington DC on January 13. No one responded.
  • Lobbying Committee-Mike emailed Sutterlein and McNamera.  He attended the recent Climate Change Lobby and plans on attending the next Experiential Organizing Peace Committee on February 18.
  • Public Information Committee-Action Alerts #67, #68 and #69 were sent out in January and February.

f.       Palestine

1. Boycott-Divestment-Sanction Project-The committee gathered in February and have begun to narrow down which companies on which they will focus.  People from Peace Praxis, a peace group to the north of Roanoke, joined us.  Next meeting will be on March 10, through Zoom.

2.  Fundraiser-Questions were raised about Plowshare’s support of the recent Southwest Virginia Coalition for Palestine as regards IR guidelines.  Gary will look into this.

4.       Other-Nothing new.

5.       Next Meeting-Board gathers again on March 12 at 8 PM, through Zoom.

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-JANUARY 2024 

Date: 1/19/24

Present: Gary Sandman, Stephen Niamke, Roxana Navab, Manuel Dotson, Sherman Bamford, Mike Bentley, Xan Whitt.

  1. Board-We will consider the 2023 annual report and the 2024 budget at the February board meeting.
  • Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee
  2. Balance-Plowshare has about $8,755 in our checking and saving accounts, with all bills paid.
  3. Pledges-Gary will be checking to see if all 2023 pledges were honored.
  4. Stewardship-Gary will contact Manuel about a fundraiser, perhaps a potluck. 
  • Outreach Committee
  • Social media-Email list has about 500 people; Facebook page has about 770 people; Facebook group has about 180 people; and Instagram has about 115 followers. 
  • Newsletter-The Plowshare News newsletter came out in December.  About 280 copies were mailed.
  • Tabling-Roxana is tabling at the South County Library. 
  • Next Meeting-Committee will gather on January 23 at 7 PM, through Zoom.
  • Volunteers Committee-We are making contacts with people concerned about the Gaza-Israel War and may be able to work with them.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-About 15 people attended the November vigil.  We especially invited those concerned about the Gaza-Israel War.  Southwestern Virginia Coalition for Palestine also vigiled across the street from us.  Next vigil will be January 20.
  • Program Committee
  • Voices from the Holy Land Salon-Next salon, with the film Israelism, will be on January 21 at 3 PM.  Plowshare is a co-sponsor.
  • Teen Peace Jam-Next planning meeting for the Jam is on January 21 at 2:30 PM at the Quaker Meetinghouse.  We have some new people getting involved in planning for the Jam.  Jam itself will occur on April 20 from 9 AM to 4 PM.
  • Progressives Potluck-We will hold another Progressives Potluck on January 28 at 6 PM at the Friends Meetinghouse. 
  • Lobbying Workshop-Gary has been in contact with Sam Rasoul’s office about the workshop; Sam will not be available until after April when the General Assembly adjourns.  He has also been trying to reach the Friends Committee for National Legislation, a lobbying organization in Washington DC.  Teens will be welcome, too. 
  • Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: civil disobedience, Palestine, the Boycott film, Nathan Richardson and Iranian Protests. 
  • Next Meeting-Committee will gather on January 23 at 7 PM, through Zoom.
  • Carpooling Coordinator-There will be a March on Washington DC on January 13.  We will offer carpools.  Southwestern Virginia Coalition for Palestine is also organizing transportation.
  • Lobbying Committee-Mike reported that he participated in the Experiential Peace Organizing Committee meeting.  He spoke about the Elbit plant.  He wants to arrange in-person meetings with local officeholders.  He was encouraged to invite some of the Southwestern Virginia Coalition for Palestine people to join him.  
  •  
  • Public Information Committee-Action Alert #67 was sent out in January.
  • Truth-in-Recruitment-We didn’t have an update as Naomi wasn’t able to attend the board meeting.
  • Palestine
  • Letters to Local Mosques and Temples-Letters to local mosques and temples, expressing our concern for Muslims and Jews regarding islamophobia and antisemitism, on behalf of the Plowshare board, are ready to go.
  • Boycott-Divestment-Sanction Project-Plowshare has scheduled a meeting to talk about creating a local BDS campaign on January 16 at 8:30 PM.  We hope to collaborate with the Southwestern Virginia Coalition for Palestine group.  Plowshare has affiliated with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.  We have publicized companies to boycott.  We have publicized “Building a Liberated Future”, an online program on January 25 at 1 PM, organized by USC4P.  You must pre-register.
  • Carpooling-We offered carpools to the January 13 Washington DC demonstration.
  • Programs-We are thinking about organizing a civil disobedience workshop or a lobbying workshop, both of which may relate to Palestine, as well as programs about Palestine itself.
  • Southwestern Virginia Coalition for Palestine-The SWVC4P group continues to be very active, and we are working to support them.  We participated in these SWVC4P events: an organizational meeting on December 16; an Elbit Plant demonstration on December 21; and candlelight vigils on December 24 and 30.  We publicized a January 6 fundraiser, which was subsequently rescheduled to February 3.  We have distributed copies of Organizing for Social Change, a community organizer book, to some of their core people.
  • Other-Nothing new.
  • Next Meeting-Board gathers again on February 13 at 8 PM through Zoom.

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-DECEMBER 2023 

Date: 12/12/23

Present: Gary Sandman, Stephen Niamke, Roxana Navab, Manuel Dotson, Sherman Bamford.  Regrets from Mike Bentley.

  1. Board
  2. Gaza-Israel War-Past Actions and Events
  3. Ceasefire Letter-We sent out a template for a letter about a permanent ceasefire that Plowshare supporters can share with their officeholders and local newspapers through the Plowshare social media.
  4. White House Hunger Strike-We offered to arrange carpools for the end of the White House Hunger Strike on November 24.
  5. Virginia Tech Demonstration-We offered to arrange carpools for the Virginia Tech demonstration on December 4.
  6. Tantura Film-The film Tantura was shown at the As-Salam Mosque on December 9. We publicized this, and some Plowshare supporters attended.
  7. Gaza-Israel War-Southwest Virginian Coalition for Palestine-The SWVA4P group was created about a month ago and is doing fine work.  We have participated in their group as listed below.
  8. Palestine Family Fun Day-Roxana tabled at the Palestine Family Fun Day in Henrietta Lacks Plaza on November 25.  Several people signed up for our email list.
  9.  Elbit Plant-A meeting about the Elbit plant took place on November 27.  We participated in the meeting.
  10.  Gaza-Israel War-Upcoming Actions and Events-Plowshare is pondering next steps in our concern about the Gaza-Israel War.  We want to develop an overall strategy, rather than just go from tactic to tactic.
  11. Boycott-Divestment-Sanction Movement-We decided to participate in the BDS movement.  We will explore affiliating with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and we will publicize local companies that support the Israeli government.
  12. Programs-We are thinking about organizing a civil disobedience workshop or a lobbying workshop as well as Palestinian programs.
  13. Letters to Local Mosques and Temples-Gary will send out letters of concern about islamophobia and antisemitism to local mosques and temples, based on a letter that Sherman wrote.
  • Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee
  2. Balance-Plowshare has about $5520 in our checking and saving accounts.
  3. Treasury-Our treasury has declined significantly.  Several of our pledges have withdrawn or not honored their commitments.  Contributions are also down.  We hope that the December newsletter may bring in financial support, end of the year contributions will be made and pledges will be honored.
  4.  Stewardship-Less expensive paper and smaller fonts were suggested for the newsletter.  A fundraiser, perhaps a potluck, was also suggested. 
  • Outreach Committee
  • Social media-Email list has about 500 people; Facebook page has about 720 people; Facebook group has about 170 people; and Instagram has about 110 followers. 
  • Newsletter-The Plowshare News newsletter came out in December.  About 275 copies were mailed.
  • Tabling-Roxana is tabling at the South County Library.  The Raleigh Court Library may still be a possibility.
  • Next Meeting-No committee members were able to attend the October committee meeting.  Gary will contact them to see if another date is better.
  • Volunteers Committee-We are making contacts with people concerned about the Gaza-Israel War and may be able to work with them.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-About 35 people attended the November vigil.  We especially invited those concerned about the Gaza-Israel War.  Gary collected several emails of those attending.  Next vigil will be December 16.
  • Program Committee
  • Past Programs-Voices from the Holy Land Salon-Humanity in Gaza will be the subject of the VHL salonon December 17.  Next salon, with the Israelism film, will be for on January 21.  Plowshare is a co-sponsor.
  • Upcoming Programs
  • Teen Peace Jam-Next planning meeting for the Jam is on December 17 at 2:30 PM at the Quaker Meetinghouse.  Jam itself will occur on April 20 from 9 AM to 4 PM.
  • Progressives Potluck-We will hold another Progressives Potluck on January 28 at 6 PM at the Friends Meetinghouse. 
  • Teens and Lobbying Workshop-The workshop had been scheduled for December but has been postponed until next spring.  Sam Rasoul will be the facilitator.  (Subsequently, this workshop may be a lobbying workshop for adults, though teens are welcome, too). 
  • Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: civil disobedience, lobbying, Palestinian, the Boycott film; Nathan Richardson; and Iranian Protests. 

3.       Next Meeting-No committee members were able to attend the October committee meeting.  Gary will contact them to see if another date is better.

  • Carpooling Coordinator-There were difficulties getting a quick response for those interested in carpooling for Gaza events.  Gary will put the Plowshare phone number out there (540-492-3582), so people can phone or text.  Herb will remain someone people can all, too.
  • Lobbying Committee
  • Move the Money Resolution-Gary contacted Naomi about her interest in developing the Move the Money project.  She is interested, though it may be next spring before she is able to work on this.
  • Other Groups-Mike reported to Gary that he participated in the Experiential Peace Organizing Committee, the Fairfax Grassroots and Climate Change Lobby meetings.
  •  
  • Public Information Committee-Action Alerts #65 and 66 were sent out in November and December.
  • Truth-in-Recruitment-Naomi is still interested in working TIR, though it may be next spring before she is able to work on this.
  • Other-
  • Pipeline Trials-Sherman is interested in attending the Mountain Valley Pipeline trials and may ask Plowshare to invite other people.
  • Evan Springs-Stephen continues to be active in the Evan Springs campaign.  He has participated in press conferences and attended the Roanoke City Council.

5.       Next Meeting-Board gathers again on January 9 at 8 PM through Zoom.

 PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-NOVEMBER 2023 

Date: 11/21/23

Present: Gary Sandman, Roxanna Navab, Mike Bentley, Sherman Bamford.  Regrets from Stephen Niamke, Naomi Clement, Xan Whitt, Manuel Dotson

  1. Board
  2. Gaza-Israel War-Past Actions and Events-The board discussed the several things Plowshare has done concerning the Gaza-Israel War. 
  3. Gaza-Israel Statement-The board approved a statement on the Gaza-Israel War.  It condemned the violence from both Hamas and Netanyahu, and it explained the historic oppression of the Palestinian people.
  4. Expulsion Letter-Plowshare wrote and shared a letter opposing the potential expulsion of the Palestinian people from Gaza in another Nabka.
  5. Rally for Palestine-About a dozen Plowshare supporters attended the Rally for Palestine in Roanoke on November 1.
  6. Carpooling-Plowshare offered a carpool to the Washington DC Palestine rally on November 4, and some Plowshare supporters attended.
  7. Elbit Demonstration-Plowshare organized a demonstration at the Elbit plant on November 9.  About 60 people participated.
  8. Aid to Gazan Children-Plowshare publicized a link for UNICEF to aid Gazan children.
  9. Lobbying-Plowshare spoke to the staff of Senator Warner about our concerns regarding the Gaza-Israel War and the oppression of the Palestinian people.
  10. Vigil-Plowshare invited local people to participate in our monthly peace vigil on November 18.  About 35 people attended.
  11. Gaza-Israel War-Upcoming Actions and Events
  12. Ceasefire Letter-We will send out a template for a letter about a permanent ceasefire that Plowshare supporters can share with their officeholders and local newspapers.
  13. Civil Disobedience Workshop-We have offered civil disobedience workshops in the past, and this may be something we can offer again.
  14. A Palestine “Family Fun Day” will take place in Henrietta Lacks Plaza on November 25.  We will publicize this and encourage attendance.  Roxana will table there.
  15. Elbit Plant-A meeting about the Elbit plant will take place on November 27.  We will participate in the meeting.
  16. The film ‘Tantura” will be shown at the As-Salam Mosque on December 9. We will publicize this and encourage attendance.
  17. Gaza-Israel War-Next Steps-Plowshare is pondering next steps in our concern about the Gaza-Israel War.  We want to develop an overall strategy, rather than just go from tactic to tactic.
  • Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee
  2. Balance-Plowshare has about $5200 in our checking and saving accounts.
  3. Treasury-Our treasury has declined significantly.  Several of our pledges have withdrawn or not honored their commitments.  Contributions are also down.  We hope that the December newsletter may bring in financial support, end of the year contributions will be made and pledges will be honored.
  4.  Stewardship-No new ideas for cutting costs or increasing revenue were suggested. 
  • Outreach Committee
  • Social media-Email list has about 490 people; Facebook page has about 720 people; Facebook group has about 170 people; and Instagram has about 108 followers. 
  • Newsletter-The Plowshare News newsletter will come out in December.  About 275 copies will be mailed.
  • Parades-We marched in the Grandin Road parade on November 18. 
  • Tabling-Roxana is tabling at the South County Library and is looking into tabling at the Raleigh Court Library.
  • Next Meeting-No committee members were able to attend the October committee meeting.  Gary will contact them to see if another date is better.
  • Volunteers Committee-We are making contacts with people concerned about the Gaza-Israel War and may be able to work with them.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-About 35 people attended the November vigil.  We especially invited those concerned about the Gaza-Israel War.  Gary collected several emails of those attending.
  • Program Committee
  • Past Programs
  • Voices from the Holy Land Films-Israelism was the film shown on October 15.  Plowshare is a co-sponsor.
  • Open House-The annual Plowshare Open House took place on October 28 at the Roanoke Quaker Meetinghouse.  Roxana Navab received the Peace- and Justice-maker of the Year Award.  About a dozen people attended.
  • Upcoming Programs
  • Teen Peace Jam-Next planning meeting for the Jam is on November 26 at 2:30 PM at the Quaker Meetinghouse.  Jam itself will occur on April 20 from 9 AM to 4 PM.
  • Progressives Potluck-We will hold another Progressives Potluck in December, date and site tba. 
  • Teens and Lobbying Workshop-The workshop had been scheduled for December 3 but has been postponed until next spring.  Sam Rasoul will be the facilitator.
  • Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: the Boycott film; Nathan Richardson; and Iranian Protests.  We are hoping to present more programs and workshops as we have only presented the Shawnee Showdown film so far this year.
  • Next Meeting-No committee members were able to attend the October committee meeting.  Gary will contact them to see if another date is better.
  • Carpooling Coordinator-Herb Beskar referred a person interested in going to Washington DC for the Palestinian rally to Jim Best.
  • Lobbying Committee
  • Move the Money Resolution-Gary will contact Naomi about her interest in developing the Move the Money project for Plowshare.
  • Other Groups-Mike, Roxana and Jim attended the Fairfax Grassroots meeting with Jacqueline Marmol of Senator Warner’s staff in November.  They spoke about Palestine, Ukraine, Palestine for all, etc.  Afterward, Mike emailed Jacqueline with further thoughts.  Mike attended the Climate Change Lobby meeting with Senator Kaine’s staff.  He reported that he has continued to attend the Experiential Peace Organizing Committee meetings.
  •  
  • Public Information Committee-Action Alerts #63 and 64 were sent out in October and November.
  • Truth-in-Recruitment-Subsequent to the meeting, Naomi reported that she has been handing out flyers about TIR.

4.  Other-Pipeline Trials-Sherman is interested in attending the Mountain Valley Pipeline trials.

5.  Next Meeting-Board gathers again on December 12 at 8 PM through Zoom.

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-OCTOBER 2023 

Date: 10/10/23

Present: Gary Sandman, Manuel Dotson, Roxanna Navab, Mike Bentley.

  1. Board
  2. Board Meeting Date-The board will gather next on November 21 at 8 PM.  This is a change to the third Tuesday from our regular second Tuesday date.  It will occur just in November.
  3. Plowshare Gaza-Israel War Statement-The board agreed to issue a statement on the Gaza-Israel War.  The Public Information Committee will write it, and it will be shared with board members through phone and email, so it can be released in the next few days.
  4. Retreat-The board covered essential items, then spent time looking at Plowshare’s projects: what we could be doing better, other things we could be doing, etc.
  • Essentials
  1. Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee-Balance-Plowshare has $5038 in our checking and saving accounts.
  • Outreach Committee-The Plowshare News newsletter came out in September.  We tabled at the Henry Street Festival on September 16.  The committee will gather on October 24 at 7 PM, through Zoom.  We will march in the Grandin Road parade on November 18.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-Seven people attended both the September peace vigil. 
  • Program Committee-The Voices from the Holy Land salon will gather on October 15 for the film Israelism.  The Program Committee will gather again on October 24 at 7 PM, through Zoom.  The annual Plowshare Open House will take place on October 28 from 2 to 4 PM at the Quaker Meetinghouse.  Next planning meeting for the Teen Peace Jam is on October 29 at 2:30 PM at the Quaker Meetinghouse.  A Teens and Lobbying Workshop will take place on December 3 at 7 PM at the Quaker Meetinghouse with Sam Rasoul as the facilitator.  Another Progressives Potluck will gather in December.  The Teen Peace Jam is scheduled for April 20.
  • Lobbying Committee-Our Move the Money resolution was received by the City Council for consideration in June.  The core of our resolution is about moving money from the military to addressing climate change.  The Climate Action plan is part of the Comprehensive Plan, which will come to the Roanoke City Council in October or November.  Gary will contact Naomi Clement to see if she wants to work on the Move the Money resolution as she has expressed an interest in this.  Mike Bentley attended the Fairfax Grassroots Group meeting in October and spoke about Israel, Ukraine, the Mountain Valley Pipeline and election reform.  Jacqueline Marmol of Senator Warner’s staff met with the group.  Mike also received letters from Senators Warner and Kaine about Plowshare concerns.  He didn’t receive any responses from Representative Cline.
  • Public Information Committee-Action Alert #62 was sent out in October.
  • Truth-in-Recruitment Coordinator-Naomi and Gary met in September about the Truth-in-Recruitment project.  Naomi is still working on getting TIR literature in school guidance centers.
  • Next Meeting-Board gathers again on November 21 at 8 PM through Zoom.
  • Retreat
  1. Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee-Our treasury has declined significantly.  Several of our pledges have withdrawn or not honored their commitments.  Contributions are also down.  Gary will be focusing on raising financial support for Plowshare.  If our treasury declines to zero, we may need to look at Plowshare’s future.
  • Outreach Committee-This committee seems to be doing well.  Roxanna volunteered to staff a table outside the South County library.  Gary will get her Plowshare literature and let Plowshare supporters know about this through social media if they wish to join her.
  • Volunteers Committee-Gary and Manuel will be focusing on this.  We would like to recruit more Board members as well as more Lobbying Committee members.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-This committee seems to be doing well.  We wanted to reach out to local colleges.  Roxanna volunteered to put up flyers at Roanoke College.  Transportation from schools to the vigil is a concern.
  • Program Committee-Only two programs came from the Program Committee this year.  Usually, we try to offer at least six programs a year.  (We did gather for three Progressives Potlucks, and there is a fourth one planned as well as the Pastors for Peace program organized by the Public Information Committee).  We hope to offer more programs in 2024, especially the Teen Peace Jam.

3.       Death Penalty Committee-The death penalty no longer exists in Virginia, and it is not in use nationally under the Biden administration.  So we felt it was okay to discontinue our Death Penalty Committee for the time being. We won!

  • Carpooling Coordinator-We still arrange carpools to out-of-town demonstrations once in a while, so we felt it was okay to continue with this project.
  • Lobbying Committee-This committee seems to be doing well.  We would like to recruit more people to lobby.  Manuel and Roxanna expressed interest in participating.  We talked about reimbursing gas expenses for out-of-town people to come into Roanoke for lobbying visits. 
  • Public Information Committee-This committee seems to be doing well.  We are particularly pleased about sending out the Action Alerts.  They also organize the Pastors for Peace program.
  • -We hope to get this going in 2024.  It’s a really important project for us to do.

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-SEPTEMBER 2023 

Date: 9/12/23

Present: Gary Sandman, Manuel Dotson, Sherman Bamford, Naomi Clements.  Regrets from Mike Bentley.

  1. Board
  2. Board Retreat-At the October board meeting we will look at Plowshare committees and coordinators: how we are doing, what else we can do, etc.  Only essentials, like our financial balance, will be addressed from our regular agenda.
  3. Trump-A Plowshare supporter contacted us about the possibility of Donald Trump fleeting if he is convicted and facing jail.  He wanted us to issue a statement about this.  While we tended to agree that this is possible, we thought we would wait until Trump’s legal situation is more clear and then revisit this.  Gary will contact the supporter.
  • Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee
  2. Balance-Plowshare has $5326 in our checking and saving accounts.
  3. Treasury-Our treasury has declined significantly.  Several of our pledges have withdrawn or not honored their commitments.  Contributions are also down.  We hope the September newsletter may bring in some financial support.
  4. Stewardship-No new ideas for cutting costs or increasing revenue were suggested. 
  • Outreach Committee
  • Social media-Email list has about 490 people; Facebook page has about 720 people; Facebook group has about 170 people; and Instagram has about 80 followers. 
  • Newsletter-The Plowshare News newsletter will come out in September.  About 275 copies will be mailed.
  • Parades-We marched in the Labor Day parade on September 2.  We will march in the Grandin Road parade on November 18; Xan Whitt will sign us up.
  • Tabling-We will table at the Henry Stret Festival on September 16 from noon to 5 PM in Elmwood Park.  Naomi, Gary, Xan and Steve Clement and, possibly Manuel will staff the table.
  • Next Meeting-Committee will gather on October 24 at 7 PM, through Zoom.
  • Volunteers Committee-Nothing new.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-Eight people attended both the July and August peace vigils.  Many flyers were handed out.  Next one is September 16.  The city contacted us about requiring us to file for permits every three months.  This was not the understanding that we have had with the city since our lawsuit.  Gary found the legal documents about this, and Mike Bentley contacted the city regarding the permits.  The city agreed to continue our original agreement: we will apply for permits yearly, and they will be issued quarterly. We continue to co-sponsor the Climate Change vigils.
  • Program Committee
  • Past Programs-Ride for Palestine-Ride for Palestine took place along the Roanoke Greenway, starting at Wasena Park, on July 16.  It was a great success.  Plowshare was a co-sponsor.
  • Upcoming Programs
  • Teen Peace Jam-Next planning meeting for the Jam is on September 16 at 10 AM at the Quaker Meetinghouse.  Jam itself will occur on April 20 from 9 AM to 4 PM.
  • Progressive Potluck-We held another Progressive Potluck on September 23 at the Roanoke Quaker Meetinghouse.  Jordan Bell of the Gainsborough Neighborhood Association will be the main speaker. 
  • Voices from the Holy Land Films-Erasing Palestine from US School Curricula is the film shown in September.  The monthly salon occurred early this month. Plowshare is a co-sponsor.
  • Open House-The annual Plowshare Open House will take place on October 28 from 2 to 4 PM at the Roanoke Quaker Meetinghouse.  We will have refreshments and, possibly, music.  An individual was approved as the Peace- and Justice-maker of the Year Award; Gary will contact her to see if she accepts.
  • Teens and Lobbying Workshop-We are looking at a Teens and Lobbying workshop for mid-November.  Sam Rasoul has been contacted about being the facilitator.
  • Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: the Boycott film; Nathan Richardson; and Iranian Protests.  We are hoping to present more programs and workshops as we have only presented the Shawnee Showdown film so far this year.
  • Next Meeting-The committee will gather again on October 24 at 7 PM through Zoom.

c.       Death Penalty Committee-Nothing new.

  • Carpooling Coordinator-Nothing new.
  • Lobbying Committee
  • Move the Money Resolution-Gary presented the Move the Money resolution to the Roanoke City Council on June 20.  The core of the resolution is about moving money from the military to addressing climate change.  Gary contacted Joe Cobb of the City Council about an update for the Climate Action plan and the Plowshare resolution.  Naomi expressed an interest in developing the Move the Money project for Plowshare.
  • Other Groups-Gary and Mike Bentley attended the Experiential Organizing Peace Committee meeting in August.
  • Public Information Committee-Action Alerts-Action Alerts #59, #60 and #61 were sent out in August and September.

4.       Other

  1. -Naomi and Gary will meet on September 14 about the Truth-in-Recruitment project. 
  2. Anti-Mountain Pipeline Protests-Sherman met with the anti-MVP people on August 27 at Sweet Springs, West Virginia.

5.       Next Meeting-Board gathers again on October 10 at 8 PM through Zoom.

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-JULY 2023 

Date: 7/11/23

Present: Gary Sandman, Manuel Dotson, Roxana Navab, Stephen Niamke, Mike Bentley Sherman Bamford and Xan Whitt.  Regrets from Naomi Clements. 

  1. Board-Nothing new.
  • Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee
  2. Balance-Plowshare has $8000 in our checking and saving accounts.
  3. Pledges-Our pledges have declined from 20 to 14 pledges over the last couple years.  A reminder for people to sign up for our pledge list was included in the recent newsletter.
  4. Stewardship-No new ideas for cutting costs were suggested. 
  • Outreach Committee
  • Social media-Email list has about 500 people; Facebook page has about 670 people; Facebook group has about 170 people; and Instagram has about 70 followers. 
  • Newsletter-The Plowshare News newsletter came out in June.  275 copies were mailed.
  • Parades-We hope to march in the Labor Day parade in September and the Grandin Road parade in November.
  • Next Meeting-Committee will gather on August 29 at 7 PM, through Zoom.
  • Volunteers Committee-Nothing new.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-Eight people attended the June peace vigil.  Many flyers were handed out.  Next one is July 15.  The city contacted us about requiring us to file for permits every three months.  This was not the understanding that we have had with the city since our lawsuit.  Gary will find the legal documents about this, and we will contact the city regarding the permits.  The present coordinator of permits may not know this history.
  • Program Committee
  • Past Programs
  • Voices from the Holy Land Films-The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation film was shown online in June.  The online salon was on June 18.  Plowshare was a co-sponsor. 
  • Progressive Potluck-We held another Progressive Potluck on June 18 at the Roanoke Quaker Meetinghouse.  Polly Branch of the CommUnity Artsreach group was the main speaker.  About 15 people attended.  David Denham and Gary organized this.  Stephen could be the main speaker, talking about Evan Spring, at the next Progressive Potluck in October.
  • Shawnee Showdown Film-We showed the film Shawnee Showdown on June 25 at the Roanoke Unitarian-Universalist Church.  Some of the tree-sitters spoke.  About ten people attended.  Sherman Bamford organized this.
  • Upcoming Programs
  • Voices from the Holy Land Films-The Tree film will be shown online in July.  The online salon is on July 16.  Plowshare is a co-sponsor.
  • Ride for Palestine-Ride for Palestine will take place along the Roanoke Greenway, starting at Wasena Park, on July 16.  Plowshare is a co-sponsor.
  • Teen Peace Jam-Next planning meeting for the Jam is on August 19, time tba, at the Quaker Meetinghouse.  We will be talking about the Youth and Lobbying workshop at the meeting.
  • Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: Picturemotion Films; JustVision Films; Nathan Richardson; Transgender Program; Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence; Red Terry; and Open House.  Gary and Roxanna will be meeting this week about a program concerning the Iranian Protests.  Molly Hunter of the Roanoke Times may be a good person to contact about our Open House.  Stephen expressed interest in contacting Red Terry; Gary will get him her contact information.  Gary will contact Stephen about the Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence workshop.
  • Next Meeting-The committee will gather again on August 29 at 7 PM through Zoom.

c.       Death Penalty Committee-Nothing new.

  • Carpooling Coordinator-Nothing new.
  • Lobbying Committee
  • Move the Money Resolution-Gary presented the Move the Money resolution to the Roanoke City Council on June 20.  The core of the resolution is about moving money from the military to addressing climate change.  About eight Plowshare supporters attended.  The Roanoke Climate Change plan will be voted on in August.  We will follow up on this.
  • Other Groups-The Experiential Organizing Peace Committee is meeting on last Sundays at 8 PM, through Zoom.  Mike has attended their meetings; Gary plans to attend one.  Mike has attended the Climate Change Lobby meetings and plans to attend one on July 13 with Senator Kaine’s local staff.  He is writing an Op Ed piece for the Roanoke Times about climate change.  Stephen has been active with the group opposing the Evan Springs development.  He will send the board information about the Evan Springs campaign.
  • Public Information Committee
  • Action Alerts-Action Alerts #57 and #58 have been sent out.
  • WVTF-FM-Brent Riley attended the Virginia Tech Foundation board meeting and spoke to members of their board.

4.       Other

  1. -Naomi and Gary have spoken about the Truth-in-Recruitment project.  Naomi is researching this.  They will be meeting.
  2. Shawnee National Park-Board agreed to endorse the effort to redesignate the Shawnee National Forest to the Shawnee National Park, therefore adding many protections for this area.  Gary will let the Shawnee Forest people know.  Sherman will share a video with the board.

5.       Next Meeting-Board doesn’t meet in August.  Next meeting is on September 12 at 8 PM through Zoom.

PLOWSHARE BOARD MEETING-JUNE 2023 

Date: 6/13/23

Present: Gary Sandman, Manuel Dotson, Roxana Navab, Stephen Niamke, Mike Bentley Sherman Bamford, and Naomi Clements.  Regrets from Xan Whitt.

  1. Board-Annual Election-Board agreed that Manuel Dotson, Roxana Navab, Stephen Niamke, Mike Bentley Sherman Bamford, Naomi Clements, Xan Whitt and Peter Chapman compose the Plowshare board.  Gary Sandman is an ex-officio member.
  •  Infrastructure Committees
  1. Finance Committee
  2. Balance-Plowshare has $7432 in our checking and saving accounts.
  3. Pledges-Our pledges have declined from 20 to 14 pledged over the last couple years.  A reminder for people to sign up for our pledge list will be included in the next newsletter.
  4. Stewardship-No new ideas for cutting costs were suggested. 
  • Outreach Committee
  • Social media-Email list has about 500 people; Facebook page has about 670 people; Facebook group has about 170 people.  A Q&A page has been added to our website.  Action Alerts are now posted to the website, too.  We have started posting to the Plowshare Instagram more regularly.
  • Newsletter-The next Plowshare News newsletter will come out in June.
  • Next Meeting-Committee will gather on June 27 at 7 PM, through Zoom.
  • Volunteers Committee-Nothing new.
  • Action Committees & Coordinators
  1. Vigil Committee-A dozen people attended the May peace vigil.  Many flyers were handed out.  Next one is June 17.
  • Program Committee
  •  Upcoming Programs
  • Teen Peace Jam-A planning meeting for the Teen Peace Jam was held on June 3 at the Roanoke Quaker Meetinghouse.  The Jam will be held next spring, in April or May.  Points of Diversity will collaborate on the Jam, as well.  We hope to offer a Youth & Lobbying workshop this fall.  Next planning meeting is on August 19, time tba, at the Quaker Meetinghouse.
  • Voices from the Holy Land Films-The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation film will be shown online in June.  Online salon is June 18 at 3 PM. 
  • Progressive Potluck-We will hold another Progressive Potluck on June 18 at 7 PM the Roanoke Quaker Meetinghouse.  Polly Branch of the CommUnity Artsreach group will be the main speaker.  David Denham and Gary are organizing this.
  • Film-We will show Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing, a tree-sitting film,on June 25 at 7 PM at the Roanoke Unitarian-Universalist Church.  Some of the tree-sitters may speak.  We may show some short films on the pipeline resistance, too.  Sherman Bamford is organizing this.
  •  Potential Programs-We are looking at these programs: Iranian Protests; Picturemotion Films; JustVision Films; Nathan Richardson; Transgender Program; and Open House

3.        Next Meeting-The committee will gather again on June 27 at 7 PM through Zoom.

  • Death Penalty Committee-Nothing new.
  • Carpooling Coordinator-Nothing new.
  • Lobbying Committee
  • Move the Money Resolution-We changed the date and time to June 19 at 7 PM to bring the Move the Money resolution to the Roanoke City Council at the Municipal Building, 215 Church Av., fourth floor.  The core of the resolution is about moving money from the military to addressing climate change.  Gary will present the resolution.  We will encourage Plowshare supporters to attend. 
  • Other Groups-Mike attended Climate Change Lobby meeting on May 22 and the Experiential Organizing Committee meeting on June 4. 
  • Public Information Committee
  • Action Alerts-Action Alerts #55 and #56 have been sent out.
  • -The Pastors for Peace came through Roanoke on May 25 at the Roanoke Quaker Meetinghouse.  A potluck and program were held, and about 15 people attended.  We raised $600 for PFP.  A video was made and will be posted on our YouTube channel.

4.       Other

  1. Gun Buy Back-Manuel reported that a gun buy-back will be held on June 24 at 10 AM at the Melrose Community Center.  NAACP is involved.
  2. Naomi and Gary have spoken about the Truth-in-Recruitment project.  Naomi is researching this.

5.       Next Meeting-Next meeting is on July 11 at 8 PM through Zoom.