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WNC PSR 2012 Annual Retreat

What follows in this report are key items discussed at the Western North Carolina (WNC) Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) annual retreat. This event was held at Terry and Brita Clark’s home on 10/26/2012.  

Retreat participants: Phillip Bisesi, Brita Clark, Terry Clark, Steve Gilman, Bob Howarth, Lew Patrie

RETREAT AGENDA

1.   Opening comments
2.   Celebrating our successes
3.    Future trips / Travel policy
4.    Nomination of PSR member for the national board
5.    Gaining public and political support for our issues
6.    Social media literacy and use
7.    What issues do we want to address in the next 12 months
8.    Revenue sharing / Annual report
9.    Grants available from national PSR
10.  Maintaining a data base (members, former members, supporters)
11.  Fundraising
12.  Non-partisan voter education
13.  Review follow-up items
14.  Website update
15.  Methods considered for continuing our successes

1. Opening comments

Terry provided opening comments and received group concurrence on the retreat agenda.

2. Celebrating our successes

We have much to celebrate since our last WNC PSR retreat 12 months ago. There have been a plethora of items that our chapter has been successfully engaged in, and what follows are the ones we discussed at this retreat.

a) On multiple occasions our chapter contacted our congressional leaders (Heath Shuler , Richard Burr, Kay Hagan) and engaged them in current issues important to our PSR chapter members.      
b) Terry lobbied with others in Washington, DC to change our national coal pollution levels to a safer standard.
c) On multiple occasions our chapter participated in the weekly Green Drink events on issues important to PSR.
d) Our chapter received authorization to set up a booth at the Green Living Expo at the Asheville civic center. We had displays created for our booth and had significant activity for CWIP and other PSR related issues.
e) We are underway in planning a major event in our community featuring Dr. Ira Helfand and his message regarding how destructive nuclear weapons can be in even a limited regional nuclear war.
f) We had chapter participation in the International Day of Peace event held in Asheville
g) Our chapter was very active in supporting both the Safe Carolinas and Mountain Top Protectors groups with their addressing nuclear waste issues.
h) We had significant participation in NRC meetings in Gaffney, SC to communicate the dangers of approving additional nuclear power plants there.
i) We had significant participation in NRC meetings at the Savannah River Site to address the dangers of nuclear waste processing proposed there. We provided our community bus transportation to one of these events.
j) Bob organized a Thrive movie event communicating a safe and unmetered form of energy.
k) Terry led a presentation on the PSR coal pollution issue at Lake Julian. 
l) Steve was nominated to the PSR National board of directors for a 3 year term; he actively participated in their March 2012 conference, has participated in many of PSR National’s committee efforts, and provided our chapter updates on PSR National actions.
m) Chapter participation in PSR co-founder Helen Caldicott event held in downtown Asheville.

3.    Future trips / Travel policy

Steve indicated that over the next 12 months we have two PSR National board of directors meetings and one PSR National leadership meeting planned. There was discussion regarding how beneficial our chapter participation has been in these meetings. We developed concurrence to having our chapter provide one half trip expense reimbursements for each approved trip. We will review this policy again after the next two trips.

4.   Nomination of PSR member for the national board

This was skipped over since it was covered in agenda item 2 (Celebrating our successes).

5.    Gaining public and political support for our issues

Our Western NC PSR chapter should look to be pro-active and prudent in communicating PSR actions. Our PSR chapter should seek opportunities for co-sponsorship of appropriate events in a non-partisan manner.

6.    Social media literacy and use

Our chapter has not been active in this form of communication, and we have no compelling reason to change this stance given our other chapter member priorities.

7.    What issues do we want to address in the next 12 months

a) Nuclear power 
b) Nuclear weapons
c) Continue our activism at NRC 
d) Militarism / Defunding Military / Changing Thinking re: Military-Industrial Complex 
e) Alternative Energy – Positive Approach
f) Coal Ash Pollution 
g) Fracking for natural gas 
h) Health Care wellness and a single payer system
i) Air and water pollution

8.    Revenue sharing / Annual report

Our WNC PSR chapter received over $200 from PSR National this year. We know that having our WNC PSR chapter submitting an annual report to PSR National each year is key to initiating the revenue sharing grant process. Steve offered to get details from PSR National regarding on how the revenue sharing grant amount for each PSR chapter is calculated. 

9.    Grants available from national PSR

Terry was successful in developing the necessary documentation that culminated in our receiving a grant from PSR National this year. We used this grant money to actively participate in PSR issues (see item 2, Celebrating our successes). We plan to request a grant from PSR National in 2013 so we can continue the significant successes our chapter is achieving.

10.  Maintaining a data base (members, former members, supporters)

We agreed this should be discussed at a future PSR monthly meeting.

11.  Fundraising

There was consensus that we should schedule a major fundraising activity including an envelope stuffing party just prior to a major WNC PSR event.

12.  Non-partisan voter education

This was skipped over due to time constraints and should be on the agenda of a future monthly WNC PSR meeting.

13.  Review follow-up items

This discussion was mainly related to our Dec 3 event with Ira Helfand and will be a focus item at our next PSR monthly meeting.

14. Website update

Our website needs to be more current. There was consensus that we should consider archiving all information prior to 2012.

15. Methods considered for continuing our successes

1. Letters to editors of area newspapers
2. Meetings with elected officials 
3. Movies co-sponsored with other local organizations
4. Events with speakers co-sponsored with other local organizations
5. Media Liaison – meet with editors and develop a relationship with them
6. Major event to follow fundraising
7. Consider communicating our message outside Western NC
8. Look into communicating on radio (Air America)

Upcoming Events
The Season of Peace Party Dec 14, 2017 05:00 PM - 08:00 PM — 1st Congregational Church of Christ
January 2018 Meeting Jan 19, 2018 12:00 PM - 02:00 PM — First Congregational United Church of Christ
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