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NOTES FROM EARLIER MEETINGS

Unity in the Community General Membership Meeting 6:30 P.M., Sunday, July 15, 2012
Buckhall United Methodist Church Moore Drive & Prince William Parkway Manassas,, VA 20111
Members Present: Kathy Clark, Bob Gaskill, Gregg Reynolds, Jeanette Rishell, Ric Clark, Jim Amaral, Humaira Ali
Guests: Safiya Samman, Director of Environmental Education for the Department of Agriculture
The meeting was called to order at 6:32 P.M. by Chair Kathy Clark. A quorum was not present.
1. Secretary's Report. Paper copies of the minutes for the June 17, 2012, meeting were distributed for review. The minutes were accepted as presented.
2. Treasurer's Report. Gregg Reynolds reported that Unity in the Community (UITC) has a balance of $1,623.50, $878.53 of which is in the general fund, $150.00 in the humanitarian fund, and $594.97 in the study circles fund. The report was accepted as presented.
3. Vice Chair's Report. Lydia Gonzalez was not present to give a report this month.
4. Chair's Report. Kathy Clark reported that she received a call from Washington Post reporter Jeremy Borden to ask her what the local immigrant community thought of the recent Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration bill (S.B. 1070). Kathy referred him to Carlos Castro, owner of Todos Supermarket. Soon after, articles on the topic and Carlos Castro himself appeared in The Washington Post ("Latinos returning to Pr. William after immigration crackdown, but scars remain," June 26, 2012) and The Huffington Post ("Carlos Castro, Founder of Todos Supermarket, Says Business Climate Much Harsher For Immigrants Today," June 27, 2012).
Kathy also represented UITC at the funeral prayer service for Brother Mohammad Mehboob, President of the Muslim Association of Virginia. Over 2,000 people attended the service.
Finally, Kathy reported that she, Gregg Reynolds, and others members of UITC attended a recent meeting concerning Holly Acres Trailer Park. (See the New Business section of these minutes for additional information about the meeting.)
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
5. International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDPP). Though Illana Naylor was not present to give a report, she submitted a written update which was summarized by Kathy Clark. The committee met on Monday, June 25, 2012, at First AME Church of Manassas and finalized the
Unity in the Communily - General Meeting Minutes - Sunday, July iS, 2012 - Page 1 of 3
theme for this year's event (Loving One Another as People of the World). The event will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 23, 2012, at the First AME Church of Manassas and will be followed by a fellowship meal. Leaders of faith communities will be the primary points of contact for this event's participants. The leaders will also determine what type of contribution and/or involvement participants from their faith communities will have.
The following faith communities or leaders have confirmed their planned participation in this event: All Saints Catholic Church, Congregation Ner Shalom, First AME Church of Manassas, First Baptist Church of Manassas, Holy Family Catholic Church, Rev. Jonna Humphrey (Chaplain, Prince William Hospital), Manassas Church of the Brethren, Manassas Mosque, and Unity in the Community. Representatives of additional faith communities who would like to participate should contact Illana Naylor at 703-975-3737.
The next planning meeting will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Friday July 20, 2012, at the First AME Church of Manassas. Interested members of UITC are invited to attend the planning meeting.
In addition to UITC's IDPP event, Illana reminded us that the public is invited to attend an interfaith service that St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Triangle will be hosting at 7:00 P.M. on the following Sunday (September 30). The theme of the service, "Spirit of Assisi," parallels UITC's IDPP event theme.
6. Sharing the Not-In-Our-Town Message. This agenda item was skipped.
7. Nature's Revival Garden - U.S. Forest Service Proposal. Safiya Samman, Director of Environmental Education for the Department of Agriculture, was present to provide additional information and answer questions about this project that was brought to UITC in May, 2012, for consideration as a UITC project. UITC's responsibility would include advertising the program to faith and civic communities who might have youth interested in participating in an environment project. The core group for this program would consist of fifteen to twenty 7th 8th and 9th grade students who will meet as a group beginning this fall to learn how to plan and carry out recycling, composting, and planting activities that will improve and enhance a community site. The first project the group will plan and complete will be a model project. The planned model project is a pollinator or herb garden on the grounds of Dar al Noor. It is hoped that participating youth will use the knowledge and skills obtained by completing this project to plan and complete similar environmental projects within their own faith communities. The first youth meeting is expected to take place in late August or early September. It was the consensus of the group that UITC would participate in this project. Youth and adult advisors who are interested should contact UITC Chair Kathy Clark as soon as possible.
8. VOICE Agents of Restoration. Kathy Clark reported that members of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) recently surveyed communities in the Woodbridge area to identify homes that might be used as part of an affordable housing program. VOICE members will be surveying communities in the Manassas area next week. The information they gather will be used in VOICE's continued housing crisis negotiations with banks and mortgage companies. The next VOICE event related to this concern will be a rally scheduled for Monday, October 11 2012, at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Woodbridge.
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9. Chinn Library Fall Interfaith Tour. Carol Ahmed of Chinn Park Regional Library (Prince William County Library System) recently contacted Kathy Clark to tell her that the Houses of Worship tour that was planned for this fall has been rescheduled for spring 2013. Carol is applying for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for this project and has invited UITC to be an event co-sponsor with Chinn and Dar al Noor. It was the consensus of the group that UITC will co-sponsor the event.
NEW BUSINESS
10. Nominating Committee. Kathy Clark stated that she will be forming a nominating committee for the offices of UITC vice chair and secretary. Both positions are open for election this coming September.
11. Holly Acres Situation. Kathy Clark, Gregg Reynolds, John Steinbach, Carlos Castro, Nancy Lyles, the owner of Holly Acres Mobile Home Park, and Holly Acres's attorney met with county code official Eric Mays to discuss how the group could work with licensed electricians, plumbers, and engineers, to improve mobile homes and mobile home sites so that families displaced from the park due to last fall's flooding incident can return to Holly Acres. Gregg Reynolds reported a demonstration of genuine concern on part of Prince William County staff in working with the group to resolve building and occupancy issues at Holly Acres. It is hoped that nine mobile homes will be certified as suitable for occupancy in the near future. Gregg also reported that the Woodbridge Workers Committee and Carlos Castros donated funds to store some personal belongings of displaced residents while they are waiting for suitable housing.
ANNOUNCEMENTS
12. The African-American Heritage Festival will take place on Saturday, August 4, 2012, from noon to 6:00 P.M. at Metz Middle School in Manassas. Kathy Clark will register Unity in the Community so it can host a booth at this event. Anyone interested in helping staff the booth should contact Kathy.
13. Members of UITC have been invited to a communal Ramadan iftar (breaking of fast) at Par al Noon on Sunday, August 5, 2012, at sundown. Members who plan to join Dar al Noor at this function should call or email UITC member Dr. Humaira Ali at 703-680-5048 or drhraligmail.com by Sunday, July 29, if they are planning to attend.
14. The next meeting of UITC will take place on August 19, 2012. The location of the meeting will be announced at a later date.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 P.M. Respectfully submitted, Jim Amaral, Secretary
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Unity in the Conununity General Membership Meeting 6:30 P.M., Sunday, June 17, 2012
Buckhall United Methodist Church Moore Drive & Prince William Parkway Manassas,, VA 20111
Members Present: Dexter Fox, Illana Naylor, Kathy Clark, Humaira Au, and Jim Amaral
The meeting was called to order at 6:44 P.M. by Chair Kathy Clark. A quorum was not present.
1. Secretary's Report. Paper copies of the minutes for the May 20, 2012, meeting were distributed for review. The minutes were accepted as presented.
2. Treasurer's Report. Gregg Reynolds was not present to give a report; however, he submitted a report in advance of the meeting. Unity in the Community (UITC) has a balance of $1,623.50, $878.53 of which is in the general fund, $150.00 in the humanitarian fund, and $594.97 in the study circles fund. The report was accepted as presented.
3. Vice Chair's Report. Lydia Gonzalez was not present to give a report this month.
4. Chair's Report. Kathy Clark remarked on United States President Obama's announcement this past Friday that his administration will halt deportation proceedings for up to 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children. The policy will apply on a case-by-case basis to those who came to the U.S. under the age of 16, and who are currently younger than 30 years of age; have lived in the U. S. for at least five years; are enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors, or pose a threat to national security.
Kathy also reported that she spoke at a recent VOICE (Virginian's Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) action meeting on June 3 r At the meeting, representatives from three mortgage companies - Bank of America, Chase Morgan, and G.E. (parent company of WMC Mortgage Corporation) - were in attendance and promised to help Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park homeowners with mortgages that are underwater, in danger of going into foreclosure, are already in foreclosure proceedings, or who have had their mortgages foreclosed. VOICE's next action meeting related to this issue will be held at 7:30 P.M. on Monday, October 1, 2012, at St. Paul United Methodist Church (1400 G Street, Woodbridge). At that meeting, representatives from the financial institutions will sign a statement confirming their promised assistance. It is expected that more than 700 people, including Senator Mark Warner, will be in attendance for this meeting.
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UNFINISHED BUSINESS
5. International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDPP). Illana Naylor reported that this year's IDPP will take place from 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 23, 2012, at the First AME Church of Manassas. The Reverend Carol Rogers is First's AME's liaison for this event with UITC. After discussion, it was decided that the theme of this year's event will be "Sisters and Brothers Praying Together for Ceasefire." Invitations to participate in the event will be extended to the leaders of faith communities who may determine how their community will be represented in the event. Contributions to ACTS (Action in Community Through Service of Prince William, Inc.) and SERVE (Securing Emergency Resources through Volunteer Efforts) will be collected as part of the event. A carry-in potluck fellowship meal will follow the program. The next planning meeting for this event will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Monday, June 25, 2012, at First AME Church of Manassas.
Illana noted that St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church will be hosting an interfaith service at 7:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 30. Father Gerry Creedon of Holy Family Catholic Church in Dale City is the organizer of this event. The planned service has been entitled "Spirit of Assisi," and its purpose parallels that of UITC's IDPP event. Ideas on how this separate event could be coordinated with UITC's IDPP event were discussed for possible consideration by Illana and Father Creedon.
6. Sharing the Not-In-Our-Town Message. At last month's meeting, members of UITC were asked to consider the feasibility of planning and hosting a possible Not-in-Our-Town type of event. No attendees had any ideas to share at this time.
7. Nature's Revival Garden. Kathy Clark provided information about this program in addition to that which was shared at last month's meeting. The U.S. Forest Service would like to partner with Unity in the Community to bring together a diverse group of ten to twelve youth from Prince William County/Manassas/Manassas Park who would participate in a day's training that would provide them with the skills necessary to organize and complete nature revitalization projects. It was reported that Dar al Noor has volunteered to be a site where such a project could be done to help get the group underway. Kathy Clark stated that, if UITC is interested in sponsoring this activity, Taalibah Hassan may be willing to act as UITC's liaison with the U.S. Forest Service. The consensus of the group was to go ahead with the project if Taalibah is willing and able to coordinate it for UITC.
NEW BUSINESS
8. VOICE's Agents of Restoration Program. Kathy Clark reported that she recently participated in VOICE's Agents of Restoration training program which provided her with the information and skills necessary to make informational presentations about the mortgage crisis in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. The training also equipped her with skills to help connect families with free housing counselors (as opposed to scam artists) and to identify homes that might be used as part of an affordable housing program. VOICE will conduct additional trainings over the summer. Anyone who would like further information about
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the training or who would like to participate in a training session should contact Kathy for further information.
9. Chinn Library Fall Interfaith Tout'. Prince William County Librarian Carol Ahmed is in the process of coordinating a "Houses of Worship Tour" which is targeted to attendees of the "Building Common Ground" forum that was co-sponsored this past March by Unity in the Community and Chinn Library (Prince William County Public Library System). This event will probably be scheduled on a day in October. Additional information about this program will be shared as it becomes available.
10. Unity in the Community Nominating Committee. Jim Amaral reminded all that the positions of UTIC vice-chair and secretary are up for election this September and that a nominating committee needs to be formed. Kathy stated that she will appoint a committee before the next UITC meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS:
11. Dale City Fourth-of-July Parade. Gregg Reynolds will forward details about this event to Kathy Clark as it becomes available. Kathy will then disseminate this information to UITC members who wish to participate.
12. Kathy Clark announced that Curtis Porter has volunteered to represent UITC at meetings of the Prince William County Human Rights Commission.
13. Humaira Ali announced that Ramadan starts at sundown on Thursday, July 19. The first communal iftar (breaking of fast) at Dar al Noor will take place at sundown on Friday, July 20. Members of Unity in the Community are invited to participate. A point-of-contact for this event will be announced at a later date.
14. The next UITC meeting will take place on July 15. The location of the meeting will be announced at a later date.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 P.M. Respectfully submitted, Jim Amaral, Secretary
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Unity in the Community General Membership Meeting 5:30 P.M., Sunday, May 20, 2012
Members Present: Dexter Fox, Gregg Reynolds, Ric Clark, Illana Naylor, Bob Gaskill, and Jim Amaral
The meeting was called to order at 5:30 P.M. by Immediate Past Chair Dexter Fox at the request of Chair Kathy Clark in her absence and the absence of the Vice Chair.
1. Secretary's Report. Paper copies of the minutes for the April 15, 2012, meeting were distributed for review. The minutes were accepted as presented.
2. Treasurer's Report. Gregg Reynolds reported that Unity in the Community (UITC) has a balance of $1,623.50, $878.53 of which is in the general fund, $150.00 in the humanitarian fund, and $594.97 in the study circles fund. The report was accepted as presented.
3. Vice Chair's Report. Lydia Gonzalez was not present to give a report this month.
4. Chair's Report. Kathy Clark was not present to give a report this month; however, she relayed information through Dexter Fox who reported that the Earth Day event sponsored by Unity in the Community in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and to have been held at Dar al Noor on Sunday, April 22, was canceled due to rain.
It was reported that Kathy attended the Annual Meeting of the Virginia Education Association (VEA) and gave a report on the activities of the VEA Fitz Turner Commission for Human and Civil Rights, of which she is the chair. At the same meeting, UITC member Ric Clark was recognized as VEA's Educational Support Professional (ESP) of the Year. Ric was honored for his ongoing work in seeing that the rights and concerns of bus drivers and other ESP's working in and for Prince William County Public Schools are heard and fairly and equitably addressed by the school system. It was also reported that VEA delegates passed a resolution stating that the right of employees to speak to each other in languages other than English should be protected.
It was reported that a small delegation from Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) recently attended a stockholders meeting of General Electric in Detroit, Michigan. VOICE has identified GE for action because it had demonstrated a lack of concern for Prince William County residents who have been negatively affected by subprime loans issued by GE's former subsidiary company, WMC Mortgage Corporation. When the value of houses plummeted several years ago, many homeowners in the Irongate, Westgate, and other local communities who were holders of subprime loans found themselves "underwater" in their mortgages. As a result, they were unable to refinance their homes when jobs became scarce. This ultimately led to foreclosures on many of their homes. VOICE has been asking businesses who made subprime loans to help homeowners who are still struggling to meet their mortgage requirements. The next VOICE meeting related this issue will be held on June 3 from 4-6 PM at the First Baptist Church of Manassas (9258 Center Street).
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
5. Film Series Wrap Up. The last film for Spring 2012 series was shown today. Dexter Fox expressed his continued concern regarding the low level of attendance of community members for film screenings and follow-up discussions. He also reported that, despite the low level of community attendance, George Mason University (GMU) would like to continue the series in the fall when the Prince William Campus will have resident students. It is hoped that many of the resident students will attend the fall series of films.
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6. International Day of Prayer for Peace. Illana Naylor reported that this year's International Day of Prayer for Peace has been scheduled for Sunday, September 23. The First American Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Manassas has agreed to host the event. The Reverend Carol Rogers will be First AME's contact person. The time of the event has yet to be determined. The theme being considered for this year's event is justice.
7. Sharing the Not-in-Our-Town Message. It was reported that Patrice O'Neill, an award-winning producer dedicated to creating inspiring stories which spark audience members to become change agents in their own communities, continues to release films highlighting work on behalf of human and civil rights being done throughout the U.S. Dexter Fox reported that Kathy would like members of UITC to consider the feasibility of planning and hosting a Not-in-Our-Town type of event.
NEW BUSINESS
8. Nature's Revival Garden. Dexter Fox reported that the U.S. Forest Service has proposed an opportunity for UITC, Dar al Noor, and any other interested groups, faith communities, and municipalities to participate in a program called Nature's Revival Garden. The purpose of this program would be to engage youth, with adult assistance, in creating an environmental project that would utilize current expertise within the community and forest service, would include hands-on activities for youth participants, would be scaled to fit into youth program schedules and existing plans of organization, and would be repeatable and expandable. Dexter asked if anyone was interested in this proposal and/or had suggestions of people and groups in the community who may be interested. Suggestions included pairing with the Prince William Chapter of the NAACP in its efforts to revitalize a cemetery in Dumfries and working with VOICE Youth Effort in its efforts to revitalize neighborhoods. Names of people suggested as contacts for possible organizational involvement and/or leads for any funding that may be necessary included Norma Fields, John Steinbach, and Maureen Caddigan. Dexter stated that he will make contact with Norma Fields. He also stated that anyone wishing further information about this program opportunity should contact Taalibah Hassan.
ANNOUNCEMENTS
9. Dale City Fourth of July Parade. Gregg Reynolds reported that the UITC's parade application has been submitted and that he is awaiting further information regarding this event.
10. Illana Naylor reported that the Manassas Church of the Brethren has applied for a grant to fund a program that would bring faith communities together for shared community service projects.
11. The next VOICE Action event will be held on Sunday June 3', from 4 to 6 P.M. at the First Baptist Church of Manassas (9258 Center Street). The purpose of the event will be to celebrate progress on their recent campaigns (especially their work to address the foreclosure crisis in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park) and to announce the next steps in addressing needs for local reinvestment. It is expected that a total of 400 people from different local faith communities will be present for this event.
11. The next meeting of Unity in the Community will be held at 6:30 P.M. on Sunday, June 17, at Buckhall United Methodist Church.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:13 P.M. Respectfully submitted, Jim Amaral, Secretary
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Unity in the Community General Membership Meeting 5:00 P.M., Sunday, April 15, 2012
George Mason University Prince William Campus Verizon Building Manassas,, VA 20110
Members Present: Bob Gaskill, Dexter Fox, Kathy Clark, Illana Naylor, Jim Amaral, Gregg Reynolds, Jean Reynolds, Wali Hassan, and Taalibah Hassan, and Jeanette Rishell.
Chair Kathy Clark called the meeting to order at 5:10 P.M. A quorum was present. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
1. Secretary's Report. Paper copies of the minutes for the March 18, 2012, meeting were distributed for review. The minutes were accepted as presented.
2. Treasurer's Report. Gregg Reynolds reported that Unity in the Community (UITC) has a balance of $1623.50, $878.53 of which is in the general fund, $150 in the humanitarian fund, and $594.97 in the study circles fund. The report was accepted as presented.
3. Vice Chair's Report. Lydia Gonzalez was not present to give a report this month.
4. Chair's Report. Kathy Clark stated that her activities on behalf of UITC will all be covered under other agenda items. Kathy reported that, as a member of Virginians Organized for Community Engagement (VOICE), she will be flying to Detroit, Michigan, next week to speak at the stockholder's meeting of General Electric. VOICE has identified GE for action because it has continued to demonstrate a lack of concern for Prince William County residents who have been negatively affected by subprime loans issued by GE's former subsidiary company, WMC Mortgage Corporation. When the value of houses plummeted several years ago, many homeowners in the Irongate, Westgate, and other local communities who were holders of subprime loans found themselves "underwater" in their mortgages. As a result, they were unable to refinance their homes when jobs became scarce. This ultimately led to foreclosures on many of their homes. VOICE has been asking businesses who made subprime loans to help homeowners who are still struggling to meet their mortgage requirements. Kathy will speak as a retired educator who witnessed the negative effects subprime lending practices had on the families of her students.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
5. Everyday Democracy Study Circles. There was no report for this agenda item. At the February UITC meeting, there was a discussion as to whether or not the funds set aside in UITC's budget for Study Circles should be merged with UITC's general fund or be reassigned for another cause. The consensus of the meeting was to make no changes at this time. Dexter Fox suggested that UITC remain sensitive to the needs of the Volunteers in Service to America
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(VISTA) workers who are currently in the Georgetown South community to see if they have a project need for which some of the Study Circle funds could be used.
6. Forum on Compassion with Chinn Library. About fifty people attended the Forum on Compassion at Chinn Library on Saturday, March 31, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. Taalibah Hassan and Kathy Clark moderated the questions for the panelists the following panelists. Carol Ahmed was the Chinn Park Librarian who did much work planning and organizing the event. Kathy Clark reported that the event was filmed and may be viewed on You Tube.
7. NAACP Response to Situation - Update. At the November 2011 meeting, it was reported that a worker and union shop steward of a local trash disposal services company have been targets of racial intimidation. Information about the situation has been reported to the Prince William County Chapter of the NAACP, local government officials, local Human Rights Commission, and U.S. Department of Justice. Bob Gaskill reported that there was no update on this situation this month. He will continue to monitor this issue and will keep UITC updated.
8. Spring 2012 Immigration & Human Rights Cinema (IHRC). Dexter Fox reported that he is still working on getting film screening rights for HONK!, a documentary about the American death penalty as seen through the eyes of the French. The feature is scheduled for May 13. If screening rights for the film are not obtained in time, another film will be featured. Dexter also reported that there is a chance that the date for May's film will be changed since May 13 is Mother's Day. For these two reasons, members of UITC should carefully read the film announcement when it is sent via email.
Due to low attendance at IHRC screenings this year, Dexter Fox and Charvis Campell, Dean of University Life for George Mason University (GMU) - Prince William Campus (PWC), discussed whether or not the film series should continue. Dexter stated that GMU would like to continue the series for at least one more term since the campus will be opening a graduate residence hall in the fall. Remarks were made stating that, though attendance at most screenings have been small, the IHRC has been an important part of UITC's continuing work in opening minds and promoting discussion on important issues in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. In fact, UITC has been in the forefront of raising issues and concerns related to human and civil rights. Kathy thanked Dexter for his continued work coordinating and moderating the series.
9. Interfaith Earth Day Event. The "Celebrate Earth Day 2012" event will take place on the grounds of the Muslim Association of Virginia Community Center located at 5404 Hoadley Road (Manassas) from 11 AM to 3 PM on Sunday, April 22. Planned activities for the event include a tree planting, solar oven demonstration, outdoor activities for children and adults, and special appearances by Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and Mrs. C. This event is sponsored by Unity in the Community in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. Solar Cookers International and Solar Household Energy provide solar oven demonstrations. Taalibah asked that members of UITC help advertise the event.
NEW BUSINESS AND DISCUSSION
10. International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDPP). Illana Naylor stated that she will be having a meeting with the pastor of First AME Church in Manassas to discuss the possibility of
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its hosting this year's event. At next month's UITC meeting, Illana hopes to provide further information about this event.
11. Sharing the Not-In-Our-Town Message. Kathy Clark forwarded an email newsletter from Not in Our Town (NIOT) earlier this month. She highlighted an article in that newsletter that highlighted a two-day NIOT forum that was recently held in New Mexico. The question was asked if anyone thought that UITC should plan, organize, and host a similar event. During the discussion, it was stated that an event like this would be pre-emptive in nature. It was also stated that such an event would need a person or committee to volunteer to organize such an event. Kathy asked that UITC members to give this idea more thought and be prepared to discuss the idea in more detail at a future meeting.
12. Dale City 4 ffi of July Parade. UITC has been registered for the Dale City 4 of July Parade. Gregg Reynolds is the contact person for this event.
ANNOUNCEMENTS
13. The Celebrate Earth Day 2012 event will be held on Sunday, April 22, from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. at the MAV Community Center at 5404 Hoadley Road, Manassas, VA. (See item 9 above for additional information.)
14. May's Immigration & Human Rights Cinema (IHRC) will feature the film HONK! on Sunday, May 13, in the Verizon Auditorium located on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University. Light refreshments will be available before the start of the film. (See item 8 above for additional information about the film series.)
15. The Prince William NAACP will be hosting a Family Picnic on Saturday, June 30, from 3:00 to 8:00 P.M. at Merchant Park in Dumfries, Virginia. (The park is next door to the Weems-Botts Museum at 3944 Cameron St.). The cost will be $2.00 per family.
16. The next meeting of Unity in the Community will be at 6:30 P.M. on May 20 at the Buckhall United Methodist Church in Manassas, VA. Please note, if the IHRC film series feature is rescheduled for May 20, the UITC meeting location may be changed to George Mason University (Prince William Campus), and the meeting may begin immediately after discussion of the film.
The meeting adjourned at 6:34 P.M. Respectfully submitted, Jim Amaral, Secretary
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Unity in the Community General Membership Meeting 6:30 P.M., Sunday, March 18, 2012
Manassas Church of the Brethren 10047 Nokesville Road Manassas,- VA 20110
Members Present: Bob Ga.skill, Dexter Fox, Kathy Clark, Illana Naylor, Lydia Gonzalez, Jim Amaral, Gregg Reynolds, Joann Bagnerise, Wali Hassan, and Taalibah Hassan.
Chair Kathy Clark called the meeting to order at 6:34 P.M. A quorum was present. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
1. Secretary's Report. Paper copies of the minutes for February's meeting were distributed for review. The minutes were accepted as presented. Dexter Fox noted that, though the minutes correctly summarized the actual report for item 10 - Spring 2012 Immigration & Human Rights Cinema (IHRC) - the report itself had been in error regarding the March feature, Well-Founded Fear. It was reported that this feature is a documentary about privacy issues. It is actually a documentary about asylum issues.
2. Treasurer's Report. Gregg Reynolds reported that Unity in the Community (UITC) has a balance of $1,623.50, $878.53 of which is in the general fund, $150.00 in the humanitarian fund, and $594.97 in the study circles fund. The report was accepted as presented.
3. Vice Chair's Report. Lydia Gonzalez had no report this month.
4. Chair's Report. Kathy Clark reported that she participated in a recent action that Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) organized in Washington, D.C., on March 81 2012. Members of VOICE marched to the lobby of a building on Pennsylvania Avenue that houses General Electric's (G.E.) offices. There, they figuratively fired Jeff Immelt, G.E. 's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. One reason given for the request to fire Immelt was G.E.'s continued lack of concern regarding the mortgage crisis in the Nation's Capital's back yard (Prince William County). The crisis was caused by subprime lending practices. Many homeowners in the Irongate, Westgate, and other local communities who were holders of subprime loans found themselves "underwater" in their mortgages. As a result, they were unable to refinance their homes when jobs became scarce. This ultimately led to foreclosures on many of their homes. VOICE has been asking businesses who made subprime loans to help homeowners who are still struggling to meet their mortgage requirements. VOICE targeted Immelt for action because G.E. owned WMC Mortgage Corporation when it was still operating. WMC Mortgage originated many of the subprime loans in the Irongate & Westgate communities. VOICE officials stated that the G.E. company is the only subprime lender that has not entered into conversation with VOICE since it launched its lender accountability campaign in Prince William County last April.
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Kathy spoke as a retired educator who witnessed the negative effects subprime lending practices had on the families of her students.
Unfinished Business
5. Everyday Democracy Study Circles. There was no report for this agenda item.
6. Forum on Compassion with Chum Library. Kathy Clark and Taalibah Hassan reported that the questions for panelists at this forum were prepared and that Cindy Brookshire will make CD copies of Unity in the Community's "Words of Compassion" document for audience members who wish to have a copy. This event will take place from 2 to 4 PM on Saturday, March 31. Dexter Fox and Bob Gaskill highlighted a continuing need to try to attract people from the wider faith community to attend events such as this. Kathy and Taalibah highlighted the fact that personal contact works best when trying to invite new people.
7. NAACP Response to Situation - Update. At the November 2011 meeting, it was reported that a worker and a union shop steward of a local trash disposal services company have been targets of racial intimidation. When the wife of the worker called Supervisor Wally Covington's office to make a report of the incidents (the company's offices are located in Covington's district), she received a flippant response ("sounds like your husband needs a bodyguard") from the secretary who answered the call. Bob Gaskill reported at this meeting that the targeted worker, Mr. Sloan, has been looking for community support in getting light shed on the problem. Bob also reported that Supervisor Covington said he would check on getting some security lights setup in the area where racist graffiti was painted on company property. Mr. Sloan has also installed security lights and an electronic security system at his home. Mr. Sloan has also provided the local Human Rights Commission with a packet of information about this incident that the Commission had requested. The similar packet of information has also been sent to the U.S. Department of Justice. It has been provided a packet similar to what was provided the local system. Bob reported that Mr. Sloan plans to be at NAACP meeting this coming Tuesday night, so more information may be forthcoming.
8. Spring 2012 Immigration & Human Rights Cinema (IHRC). Dexter Fox reported that he is still in negotiation over screening rights for the April and May films. The scheduled feature for April 15 is The Shock Doctrine, a movie based on a book of the same name about economic policy and political corruption. The scheduled feature for May 13, HONK!, is a documentary about the American death penalty as seen through the eyes of the French. Dexter stated that he would like to extend an invitation to attend the May feature to the Virginians Against the Death Penalty. Taalibah Hassan reported that the IHRC's February feature, Better This World, was just shown on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University (GMU). Dexter stated that he will prepare posters for April film and forward them Kathy as soon as he has secured permission to screen. Concern was expressed about the fact that the screening date for May's film is also Mother's Day. It was asked if the day might be changed. Dexter said that he will check on this. Wali Hassan noted that a prior IHRC film feature, A Better Life, was an Academy Award nominee, and yet, attendance at the monthly screenings are sparse. This prompted a conversation of possible changes in scheduling, venue, and advertising that might be made to help attract a larger viewing audience at this event
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NEW BUSINESS
9. Interfaith Earth Day Event. Taalibah Hassan reported that there was an opportunity for an Interfaith Earth Day Event to take place on Sunday, April 22, on the grounds of Dar Al Noor if another sponsor, such as UITC, would agree to co-sponsor it. Taalibah stated that a representative from the U.S. Forestry Service will help organize five activities that will enable children who participate in the event to earn a Junior Ranger Badge. Another organization will make food using solar energy cookers. The clown Mrs. C., a member of UITC, has also volunteered to share her talents at the event. All UITC would have to do is help spread information about this event. Illana Naylor moved and Gregg Reynolds seconded a motion that Unity be a co-sponsor of this event. The motion passed.
10. Dale City 4 of July Parade. Kathy reported the receipt of an invitation to be part of this year's Dale City 4th of July Parade. Following the parade, there will be a Family Fun Day event at which UITC could have a booth. An application must be submitted by June 1 for UITC to be listed in the parade booklet and to be eligible for a trophy. The parade begins at 10 AM. Dexter Fox moved that UITC submit an application as a participating unit in the Dale City 4th of July Parade. Gregg Reynolds seconded the motion. Discussion included the following: UITC needs to demonstrate its diversity of membership when in the parade; that if UITC have an exhibition booth, the public may expect that UITC give something (e.g., ink pen, UITC pins, etc.). The motion passed with (four in favor; three opposed; one abstention). Gregg Reynolds agreed to complete and submit the participation form.
11. International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDPP). Illana Naylor stated that she was considering asking the First AME Church or First Baptist Church (both in Manassas) if they would agree to host this year's IDPP. It was suggested that Illana ask the First AME Church first since its parking lot is larger.
ANNOUNCEMENTS
12. Illana Naylor stated that she attended an evening event on March 18 to hear Coleman McCarthy speak to a group of about 100 people about "How to be a Peacemaker."
13. Joann Bagnerise passed around program from the Prince William NAACP's Freedom Fund & Awards Banquet on March 17. The program featured UITC's full-page ad about its work and film series. Joann also reported that the Rev. Boykin of First AME Church in Manassas was ill and asked that UITC send him a get-well card.
14. UITC member Gregg Reynolds was quoted in a March 17, 2012, Washington Post article entitled "Justice Department: Prince William County exempted from Voting Rights Act provision." It was reported that Gregg was surprised by the Justice's decision and that he felt Prince William should receive continued scrutiny given its recent history with members of the immigrant community.
15. There will be a Forum on Compassion at Chinn Park Regional Library on Saturday March 31 from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M.
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16. The Prince William County / Manassas Boys & Girls Clubs will hold its 23rd Annual Steak 'N' Stake Dinner on Monday, May 21, 2012. A reception will take place form 6:00 to 7:00 P.M. and will be followed by dinner and a program. Individual tickets cost $100. Additional information about this event may be obtained by contacting Carolyn Brodeur at 703-217-7763 or by emailing her at cbrodeur@bgcgw.org.
17. April's Immigration and Human Rights Cinema (IHRC) will feature the film The Shock Doctrine. The film will be shown at 3:00 P.M. on April 15 in the Verizon Auditorium located on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University. Light refreshments will be available before the start of the film. (See item 8 above for additional information about the film series.)
18. The next meeting of UITC will be on April 15. The meeting will take place on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University immediately after the IHRC film that is being shown on the same day.
The meeting adjourned at 8:37 P.M. Respectfully submitted, Jim Amaral, Secretary
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