Summary Report on the 4th Annual Statewide Gathering of the Move to Amend Ohio Network
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus
April 2, 2016 / 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Theme for the day: “As Ohio Goes, So Goes the Nation”
We began the day with a Welcome and a brief statement by MC Carla Rautenberg (Cleveland Heights) about the economic/social/racial/urban/rural diversity of Ohio, and of our swing state’s importance in this presidential election year. Next came introductions from the 13 Affiliate/Partner Groups represented by the 55 attendees at this year’s gathering. A person from each group was asked to write on an index card and then share with the gathering either one achievement of the last year OR a goal for this next year. The index cards were then tacked close to the groups’ locations on the giant Ohio map Madelon Watts of South Euclid MTA had created to track and display our MTA Ohio activities. The Accomplishments/Goals are appended to this report.
At 10:00 a.m., the three Candidates for three-year Coordinating Committee terms were introduced and asked to state their goals and pertinent experience: Mary Sue Gmeiner (Dayton); Doug Jambard-Sweet (Toledo), and Frank Hribar (Mentor). [Doug Todd (Central Ohio), Greg Coleridge (Cleveland Heights), and Frank Hribar stepped down from the CC, and Frank chose to run for his seat again]. Online voting began on the Survey Monkey platform during the lunch hour.
From 10:30 to noon, David Cobb and George Friday from the Move to Amend National Leadership Team gave the keynote presentation. After George read the remarkable Langston Hughes poem, “Let America Be America Again,” she and David shared their perspectives on the current state of the movement and of HJR-48 (the We the People amendment) which now has 14 co-sponsors, including one Republican, in the U.S. House of Representatives. David and George then devoted much of their time to a spirited question-and-answer period.
Lunch provided a good time to catch up with our colleagues from around the state while enjoying the excellent box lunches arranged by Sandy Bolzenius (Central Ohio). Members of the Central Ohio affiliate also put out a full spread of snacks and beverages for our refreshment throughout the day.
WORKSHOPS – Session I (1:15-2:15 p.m.)
We the People, Together! – Welcome to the Move to Amend Ohio Network for new people and/or groups: Who we are, what we do and how we can help your local groups succeed. Facilitated by Coordinating Committee members Sandy Bolzenius (Central Ohio MTA) and Frank Hribar (Mentor MTA).
Talking the Talk – How to have a conversation about issues that helps individuals (both public officials and the general public) evolve in their thinking about corporate personhood, money as speech, and creating REAL democracy. Facilitated by Coordinating Committee members Debbie Silverstein (Single Payer Action Network of Ohio) and Catherine Turcer (Common Cause Ohio).
Inspiring Change – How the Arts can serve as a catalyst to widen and deepen the culture for social change. Facilitated by Ruthi Engelke (National MTA Arts & Culture Caucus) and Anita Tobin (Ohio coordinator of Hip Hop Congress).
WORKSHOPS Session II (2:20-3:20 p.m.)
Walking the Walk: Outreach to Labor – What to say and how to connect with unions and other labor organizations. Facilitated by David Cobb (MTA National Outreach Director) and Frank Hribar (Pensioner – Marine Engineers’ Benevolent Assn, District 1-PCD, AFL-CIO).
Ethics in Action: Outreach to Faith and Ethical communities --What to say and how to connect with diverse faith communities and to organized ethical groups. Facilitated by Michael Greenman (National MTA Interfaith Caucus and Central Ohio MTA).
Incarceration Conflagration: The Prison Industrial Complex and Black Lives Matter – Examining private prison and their role in influencing government, how imprisonment is used to break up social movements, psychological and spiritual prisoner support, and the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement. Facilitated by George Friday (National MTA Leadership Team and Bill of Rights Defense Committee National Field Organizer) and Imam Paul Hasan (Founding member, International Council for Urban Peace, Justice & Empowerment; Coordinator, Lorain County Organizing Committee for the Holy Day of Atonement).
From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Coordinating Committee member Steve Nelson conducted the Proposals and Input session.
The following Proposals were presented and passed:
1. Guidelines for Ad Hoc Committee Formation
- whenever 3 or more Ohio Network member wish to serve on such a committee and formation of the committee is approved by 2/3 of the annual conference OR by the elected Coordinating Committee, subject to approval of the next conference attendees.
2. Dissolve the Candidate Survey Committee
3. Publicize and endorse a day of action in Cleveland Sat. May 21 to support their petition drive, and other days of action as needed to help pass their petition.
4. Endorse and promote an MTA T-shirt day every Saturday.
5. Encourage members to buy American made MTA T-shirts.
The following Proposal was presented and failed:
- To Dissolve the Media Committee
After the vote, the following volunteered to serve on a re-constituted Media Committee: Lucas Stoyanoff (Dayton), Catherine Turcer (Columbus), Madelon Watts (South Euclid).
Since April 2, Doug Jambard-Sweet (Toledo) has also agreed to serve on the Media Committee.
Here is the description of the Media Committee endorsed by the Network conference which voted to create it during the 2014 Statewide Gathering:
The Move to Amend Ohio Network will create a Media Committee that will develop a media strategy, which may include the following:
1. MTA Ohio Network will develop statements over the next year(s) to coincide with relevant events.
2. The statements will be sent to the press, MTA Ohio supporters, and MTA Ohio affiliate/partner contacts.
3. The statements will also be posted on the MTA Ohio Facebook page, web page, and distributed via social media.
4. Rules of operation will be determined in conjunction with the Coordinating Committee.
Steve asked if there were calls for the creation of any other committees:
- Arts & Culture
And there were none.
The 4th Annual Statewide Gathering was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
2016 MTA Statewide Gathering
Affiliate and Partner Groups attending were each asked to state either one Accomplishment of the last year, or one Goal for the next year
• Accomplishment: County charter went to the Supreme Court. Charter denies corporate claims to Constitutional rights to corporations in violation of our anti-fracking laws
• Goal: To get the charter on the ballot this year
• Goal: Put MTA as a Citizen Initiative on the Nov. 2016 ballot
• Accomplishment: Helped Toledo, S. Euclid and Cleveland Ballot Initiatives
- Citizens United Day at the Statehouse
-Meeting inviting other groups: Bill of Rights group, Black Lives Matter, RepresentUS
• Accomplishment: Local AFL-CIO endorsement and increased membership
-Group-People for Peace and Justice
-More Action Orientation
-Weekly Street Presence
-Sponsored Community Meeting on use of Drone Warfare
• Accomplishment: Passed the Move to Amend ballot issue despite a challenge from the city and having to go to the Ohio Supreme Court to get on the ballot
• Accomplishments: Forming coalitions with other groups and helping other affiliates to gather signatures
• Goal: Initiative on the ballot for Nov 2016
• Accomplishment: Unanimous vote City Council Resolution May
• Goal: Introducing the concept in multiple conversations on race, inequality, peace and justice
-Collected 1150 signatures
-Held 2 public information sessions at Shaker Heights Public Library
-Engaged Shaker Heights High School government students
• Goal: To put the MTA Amendment on the S. Euclid Ballot Nov. 2016
• Accomplishment: Ballot issue passed
• Goal: Build grassroots democracy movement