February 2018 – Minutes

CLJP Minutes February 13, 2018
Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

Present: Taylor Beard, Hal Horan, Dave Warren, Pete Weatherly, Bob McAdams, Chip Sanders, Matthew Crane, Burnie Davis, Catherine Wallace

Beard opened with prayer and Sanders presided.

The Minutes of January 9 prepared by Horan, were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Since the December balance of 2,376.85, Beard reported an income of 120.00, consisting of dues paid by Warren and Davis, resulting in a balance for February 13 of 2,496.85. Beard also announced that letters would be going out for those members whose renewal dates happened in February. He also had prepared a new members list, asking for any corrections. There being one, Beard said that he would publish a corrected list later this week.

McAdams shared the following new business consisting of our joint sponsoring the program, Economic Inequality: What’s in Your Wallet, with Virginia Festival of the Book and Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, comprising a joint panel discussion by the authors of three new books centering on Economic Inequality, scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 12:00-1:30 pm at the City Council Chambers, 605 E Main Street:

Mehrsa Baradaran, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap; Keith Payne, The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Live, Think and Die; and Richard V. Reeves, The Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust,, Why That is a Problem, and What to Do About It. Andrew Kahrl, associate professor of history and African American studies at the University of Virginia, will moderate.

A motion was made and passed that we make a donation of 100.00 in support of the event and that we encourage friends and family to attend. Further information is available at http://www.vabook.org/program/economic-inequality-whats-in-your-wallet/

Announcements:

On Saturday, March 10, from 9:00am to 3:30pm there will be an interactive workshop on Spirituality and the practice of nonviolent action in the Stone Chapel at the Church of the Incarnation, a $10 is requested with lunch provided. Pre-registration required; contact Sheila at 973-4381. The workshop is co-sponsored by Casa Alma, the Charlottesville Catholic Worker.

Learn more at https:/casa-alma.org.

Also on Saturday, March 10, at C’ville Coffee, the program, One Drop: Symbolism of the Racial Integrity Act (RIA) will consist of the art of Charlotte McDaniel, with African American and American Indian perspectives voiced by Anthony Wiggins, Medical Student, UVA and Ben Walters, member of the Nottoway Tribe. Toan Nguyen, C’ville Coffee Owner, will moderate.

Program: Weatherly presented a full review of one of the books scheduled for March 22—Richard Reeves’ Dream Hoarders.

Weatherly started with a video showing the author, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, making telling points with Legos the title being Is America Dreaming?: Understanding Social Mobilityhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2XFh_tD2RA.

Using blocks and toy figures, Reeves stands behind 5 blocks. Using figures drawn from the French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, he labels the blocks 5%, 10%, 14%, 20%, and the 1% and beyond crowd, representing 52% of the wealth. The lower the block, the harder it is to realize the American dream, those in the 5% verging on the impossible, especially people of color

The percent that concerns Reeves is the 20%, those in the upper middle class, the “Dream Hoarders,” those in professions and business that enjoy much of the present day benefits such health insurance, affording good neighborhoods that attract good teachers in adequately funded schools, vacations and sick leaves, and even parental leaves, good universities producing networks of influential relations to work the job market and legacy admissions in those same universities for their children.

These are people that practice sound middle class responsibility, who stay married, plan for their children and care deeply for their futures and relate well with them, who are very much involved in their schools, churches and communities. And that, argues Reeves, can be very much the problem. These people do work hard and stay so involved that they can tend to take credit for their own “making it,” perhaps not realizing that they themselves were very much helped by their own good parents, good schools and good and affluent communities. Using the baseball analogy, they may tend to think that they hit a homerun when they were already occupying a base at their birth. The trouble is that those on the lower blocks not only didn’t start on a base, many of them can’t even see the ball field.

Reeves offers several solutions which include home visitations by social workers to improve better parenting, matching good teachers with good pay in those districts that desperately need them, paying interns so that more students can experience the hands-on advantage of actual careers, a free community college education and ending college legacy admissions, curbing zoning restrictions, and so on—the big one being getting those of us “Own-Boot-Strapers” to realize how privileged we actually are and to support government programs and policies that give others a hand up, even if it means paying more taxes and giving others a chance to dream. Our bible calls it loving our neighbor as ourselves. Society calls it seeking the common good.

The meeting adjourned at 2:10 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Hal Horan, Recording Secretary