Friday, July 02, 2004

My friend Jerry
was sent this by a friend of his, and he requested that I post it on my blog.

Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2004 15:16:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: Mischa Gelman
To: Gerald J Nora
Subject: Notes from initial Democrats for Life of PA meeting


Please pass these along to anyone who may be interested. This is the
summary of our first meeting to organize a state branch of Democrats for
Life. If the student groups would be interested in a presentation once
things are organized, I'm sure it could be arranged.

Notes from the Democrats for Life meeting of 6/13/04 in Pittsburgh:

Creating a Pennsylvanian Chapter
- While there has been a Democrats for Life contact in Pennsylvania
James Minicozzi), no incorporation papers have been filed and Lt.
Minicozzi is presently stationed in Iraq
- To incorporate in Pennsylvania, we need a board of directors, bylaws
and a mailing address. There also may be a filing fee
- Bylaws of National DFLA were reviewed and can be adopted as a basis for
the state chapter.
- Once we have a list of charter members and board members, we
should create an advisory board of pro-life Democratic officeholders. Pat
Casey may be willing to lend a hand in making calls.

Website, mailing list, other technological issues
- While Democrats for Life has a national email list, a state-specific
list would be a good idea to help people remain in contact, notify one
another of pending legislation on the state level and inform folks of
pro-life Democratic candidates running for state office
- Both Erin Devlin and Michael Collins have volunteered to do web design.
Mr. Collins also will check with folks at Carnegie Mellon University who
may be willing to lend a hand.
- Michael Collins will have a proposal for computer setup ready by 6/30

Potential sources of members
- LEARN (a pro-life African-American group) has been a good source for
Democrats for Life in other areas. Jay Ware of Democrats for Life of
Illinois was emailed to see if he knew of any local contacts
- The Catholic Church does not want to get involved in any partisan
issues and the secretary for social concerns in the Pittsburgh Diocese did not return a call, but the Oratory stated that they would
accept information in case anyone contacted them
- Other potential recruitment options raised were PLAGL, anti-death
penalty groups, People Concerned for the Unborn Child, the Merton Center
and student pro-life groups at the local universities
- Feminists for Life does not release names on its mailing list

State Chapters
- The progress of existing chapters was reviewed. Among projects that are
presently being done are rallies, meetings of pro-life state
representatives, press conferences, contacts with the state and county
parties (in some states the Democratic Party has web links to the local
Democrats for Life or distributes our literature in their offices).
- Many chapters are just getting off the ground and none is older than 5
years, so we're not alone in starting from a minimal base. A date for
going public could well be within 6-12 months. Once we have a strong base
of members, elected officials and an organized structure we should be able
to get some press attention

Other Notes
- Brendan Boyle is running for office in the Philadelphia area. He is
presently busy with his campaign but would be a possible leadership
candidate for Democrats for Life of Pennsylvania should his campaign be
unsuccessful. His campaign manager, Dan Lotise, also would be a good
option as president of DFLA in Pennsylvania
- Pat Casey may lead an effort to start a pro-life Democratic PAC,
possibly to be named Casey Democrats in honor of our former governor and
present auditor general. Democrats for Life of America serves as a
lobbying group, not a PAC
- Some chapters have been approached by Republicans who are interested in
lending a hand. Members of Democrats for Life must be Democrats or else we
run the risk of being accused of being a front group for the Republicans

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the
continent, a part of the main...Any man's death diminishes me, because I
am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell
tolls; it tolls for thee - John Donne

I'm afraid I gave up on the Democratic Party about a decade ago (and am less than sanguine about the Republican Party as well), but an attempt to break up the pro-death monopoly in a major political party certainly deserves our prayers. The e-mail address for Mischa Gelman is .


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