May 2017 – Minutes

CLJP Minutes May 9, 2017
Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

23 Present: Taylor Beard, Jack Townsend, Carroll Houle, Hal Horan, Dave Warren, Peter Weatherly, Ed Murray, Diane Murray, John Peale, Gene Locke, Bob McAdams, David McFarlane, Jim MacDonald, Jean Hammond, Carol Muntz, Jean Newsom, Chip Sanders, Bill Kerner, Betty Kerner, Eugene Locke, Jamie McReynolds, John Peale, Chris Murray . Bill and Jean Sherman, guests of Carol Muntz

Diane Murray offered pray and Chip Sanders presided.

The Minutes of April 11, prepared by Horan, were approved and his Minutes of the April 27 Community Dialogue commended.

Treasurer’s Report: Since the April 11 balance of 1,305.62, Beard reported an income of 120.00 consisting of dues 60.00 each paid by Muntz and McAdams; an expense of 81.06 to Diane Murray as reimbursement for flowers given to the Festival of the Book Director Jane Kulow for her collaborative efforts in securing and promoting the Economic Inequality speakers, resulting in a balance as of May 9 of 2,345.56.

Old and New Business:

McAdams announced the second Community Dialogue as a follow-up from the VA Book event of March 24 will take place on Thursday, May 25, at 6:30 pm, at The Haven, 112 West Market St., a portion of which will be devoted to results of the small group discussions that took place at the first meeting. Copies of the first meeting’s minutes are available at the CLJP website—http://www.clujp.org/pdf/CDEI-1st-Meeting-Minutes.pdf

Announcement: CCPJ Community Gathering 2017

McAdams then reminded us of the annual meeting where like-minded groups share their projects and concerns, sponsored by the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, gathering at the Westminster Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, June 6, gathering and networking at 5:30, sharing a covered dish dinner at 6:00, followed at 6:45 with each organization presenting a brief outline of their purpose and current successes and challenges. Table spaces are provided for brochures and statements.  McAdams, who is now President of CCPJ, called for two members from our group to participate in the sharing.

Program: Sanders reviewed Thomas Shapiro’s Toxic Inequality How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, and Threatens Our Future, sharing some of the personal stories drawn from the 200 families studied, inspiring another spirited discussion.

He had also made available an original essay by Shapiro, the complete version of which is available at this link— http://www.powells.com/post/original-essays/toxic-inequality

The following two paragraphs of that essay provide a summary of the argument:

“Getting ahead is hard work. Staying ahead is even harder. Families without adequate wealth are economically fragile and vulnerable to small mishaps that throw them off track. Our team interviewed nearly 200 families of different races and income levels over a period of 12 years. The upshot? Mobility is a long, tough road for most families, and years of hard work and planning can evaporate in a moment. Moreover, however, it is much harder for families of color to get ahead and stay ahead than white families.”

“Inequality goes far deeper than just income and wealth. It determines who can overcome obstacles: some have them cleared from their path, while others have trouble recovering from even minor mishaps. At its heart, inequality is about access, opportunity, and just rewards. For too long, toxic inequality has defined the landscape of our country, dictating where people live, how they fare, and what futures their children face. Its mechanisms can seem invisible, even inevitable. But they are man-made, forged by history and preserved by policy. Changing them is up to us.”

One personal story Sanders shared from the book involved a family who had one big obstacle cleared from their 12-year path with a relative’s gift of $30,000.  Shapiro suggested that they must be very grateful for that gift.  Instead of agreeing with him, the couple looked offended, claiming a boot straps meritocracy, saying that they had worked hard to get to where they were.

It reminded this scribe of the prayer of the 16th century pastor-poet George Herbert, “Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more—a grateful heart.”

The discussion which followed, also prompted the remark, born in reaction to something George W. Bush said of one of his business successes, now an entry in a present-day Book of Quotations:

“Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”

One of the most important reasons for the title “Toxic Inequality” is that too many people, especially from minorities of color, are born way too far from the ball park itself.

Both Co-Chairs Peter Weatherly and Chip Sanders were hailed with grateful applause for the quality of their leadership this year.  Well done!  Well Done!

And Sanders reminded us of the need for nominations for next year’s Co-Chairs as well as other present-day issues of which there is plenty explore and discuss when we again gather to start next year’s session on Tuesday, September 12.

The meeting adjourned at 2:01 pm.

Respectfully Submitted

Hal Horan, Recording Secretary