ACLU of Chippewa Valley Board Meeting
6:30 p.m. July 26, 2015
116 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire
Board members present: Mildred Larson, David Rice, Mahmoud Taman, Sara Thielen, Stephanie Turner
Board members absent: Myron Buchholz, Ann Heywood, Marni Kaiser, Paul Wagner
Guest: Mark Ruddy, JONAH
The minutes of the May 31 board meeting were approved as written.
The treasurer’s report was approved; the chapter has $666.50 in the credit union.
In response to the state board report submitted by Ann Heywood, Mildred asked the board members to identify some regional non-board members who would consider being nominated for a seat on the state board, preferably someone from LaCrosse rather than Eau Claire as Eau Claire has already been well represented.
Regarding the board’s request that David and Paul ask the Chippewa County Sheriff for a copy of the county’s regulations of surveillance drones, Davidsaid that he would email a request this week (Action item).
Stephanie reported that she did not attend the Chippewa Valley Pride Festival because of rain; Sara reported that Planned Parenthood also backed out because of the weather.
Sara reported on her involvement with a subcommittee of health care professionals who are working to identify safe spaces for LGBTQ youth seeking medical care, especially those experiencing transgender issues. This subcommittee is looking for a contact at Mayo; they would also like to see someone from the ACLU volunteer to talk to youth about how the organization supports LGBTQ issues. Mahmoud commented that nurses are appropriate targets for this outreach as they are the ones who have the most contact with patients. Sara also noted that the board could be proactive with the Amish and migrant workers at the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic, and she asked whether we could reach out to the AIDS Resource Center with LGBTQ-related materials. Action item:Stephanie said that she has lots of swag from the state office and will drop some off at the AIDS Resource Center.
Annual Meeting Planning:
Stephanie asked the board, and guest Mark Ruddy, for some ideas on a speaker or panel discussion for our annual meeting. The general topic will be civil liberties and the criminal justice system, but the question is, how should we focus? The April meeting of JONAH focused on the effectiveness of Eau Claire County’s courts for alternatives to incarceration—the drug, veterans, mental health, and women’s courts. Melissa Ives, who writes grants to support these alternative courts, was one of the speakers. Action item: Mahmoud agreed to contact her to ask whether she’d be interested in doing another similar presentation.
Sara would like to see some data showing whether African-Americans and other minorities are disproportionately incarcerated in the state and/or county. Mildred commented that a study she read indicates that minorities are 9 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.
So the topic/theme for our annual meeting could be alternatives to incarceration and/or TIP (Treatment Instead of Prison) programs and transition centers. Mahmoud wants to know what the civil liberties issues are here: discrimination in housing, employment, health care. What assistance is available to people with convictions upon their release? Mark mentioned the EXPO (Ex-prisoners Organizing) program, which involves people with convictions helping others upon release. One of these folks spoke at the April meeting, and one of them might be willing to speak at our annual meeting. Sara mentioned that the Eau Claire Academy staff would be interested in this topic. Action items:Mahmoud has a contact at the Eau Claire Academy and will forward the information to Stephanie. David will contact Dana Smetna and/or John Manydeeds at the public defenders office. Another name of a person to contact is Laurie Osborne. Mildred will contact Paul Reid, a probation supervisor and member of the UU congregation, as well as the ACLU-WI Legal Director.
The target date for our annual meeting will be Wednesday, October 28 (or another day that week, depending on the availability of speakers). The theme will be something like “Life after the Criminal Justice System: What Are the Civil Liberties Issues?”
A couple of other related issues that came up during discussion were the “ban the box” movement that EXPO is involved in (this would eliminate the question on job applications regarding convictions that weeds out applicants before they even have a chance to interview) and the state’s CCAP program (Circuit Court System Access), which includes information about every arrest, even those that end in dismissal. David sees this all-inclusive approach to keeping information on the public record as inhibiting exoneration and unfairly implicating people.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m