On February 18, the MAPJ Board spent the day in retreat, led by Brandon Kliewer, Assistant Professor of Civic Leadership, at K-State’s Staley School of Leadership Studies.

Reflecting together on MAPJ’s most effective work during these past 24 years, we remembered the times when we have worked with other organizations, creating alliances and bringing people together for action on urgent social and political issues.

Another key role we have had since 1993, when MAPJ was created from the Manhattan Alliance on Central America, is in creating the programs that were missing from the Manhattan scene. The broadened name, agenda, and scope allowed MAPJ to address a huge variety of issues, from protests against the Iraq War to education around where our taxes go to working for a living wage.

Today our projects and alliances include: KAPJ (K-State Alliance for Peace and Justice, our student affiliate organization), Sister Cities (reminding us of our roots in work in Central America), the Kansas People’s Agenda (advocating for legislation in Kansas), #ReimageMHK (working to end the misuse of Indian mascots), the Coalition for Equal Justice (educating and advocating about local racial profiling), the G.I. Hotline (helping soldiers with mental health and other issues), and Indivisible (working against the radical Trump agenda), among others.

We also acknowledged the political challenge ahead for all Americans who value peace and justice.

To face these times we live in, we need to be both flexible and organized. We took several steps to do that. First, we reconfigured Board positions and more clearly delineated responsibilities. As part of this work, we will be recruiting committees from the membership to support our work. Newsletter and Programming Committees are actively recruiting new members.

The Newsletter Committee, led by Newsletter Editor Christopher Renner, seeks writers, editors and others with interest in producing a regular quality newsletter to keep our members informed.

The Programming Committee, led by Vice Chair Jessica Kerr, seeks people interested in both the ideas and logistics for programs that will have impact in our community.

Since the retreat, we have also redefined responsibilities of parttime employees: President, K-State Alliance Peace and Justice and Coordinator for MAPJ. If you are or know of a K-State student with a passion for intersectional organizing who might serve particularly in the K-State position, email Jessica Kerr.

We have reviewed our processes and committed ourselves to clearer communication and decisionmaking.

Our next steps include identifying issues that are priorities for us, that MAPJ is uniquely positioned to address. Watch for opportunities for member input.

Originally published in the MAPJ NEWSLETTER APRIL/MAY 2017 p. 2.

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