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BCLAC September 2000 AGM

BCLAC Elects New Directors & Approves By-Laws At Its September 2000 AGM

A brilliant political analysis of the provincial and federal scene by Hilda Thomas opened the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the BC LATIN AMERICAN CONGRESS last September 10, 2000.

The AGM, which at its height was attended by approximately 50 people, ushered in a new period leaving us with the assurance that BCLAC's fight against police violence, and in support of progressive causes, will continue.

The day-long meeting interspersed political and organizational discussion with social moments spent over a pancake breakfast, a light lunch, and - something very special - the reading of Ruth Mella-Fisher's short story "El Vuelo de una Mariposa" ["The Flight of a Butterfly"] by the author herself.

All Director positions were filled and the proposed constitution and by- laws were approved with a few amendments.

BCLAC'S NEW DIRECTORS

A new wave of talented people have jumped on to the scene. Their phone numbers are being given so please feel free to contact any of them with your ideas, and of course help [with English-Spanish translations or the writing or editing of articles, for instance].

We have four new ORGANIZERS, each of whom will be responsible for one quarter of the year in the following order: Tracey Cullis [325-0487], Leonora Wellwood [777-1619], both feminists who have done counselling and been active with groups fighting violence against women; Geraldine Hutchings [632-9699], a resident of the Downtown Eastside who has been active in the area of police violence; and Annalissa Magleo [322-3498], a dynamic member of the Youth and a UBC Biology Major.

Our Sub-Organizer is Luis Alarcon [879-0492], human rights activist & computer expert. Constituting our financial team are Andrew Adler [224-1249], professor of Mathematics, and Sabrina Fonaty [733-3180], a member of the Youth, a feminist and a Chemistry/Psychology Major. They have been recently joined by Sean Daly [264-7310], geologist and writer.

In charge of Membership Records, Research, and Legal Matters is Denny Eddy [269-2414], student activist working on a degree in Political Science at UBC. Luis Calderon [597-2028], writer, human rights activist and Bachelor of psychology, is our Social and Sports Coordinator; and Rachel Marcuse [921- 8436], high-school student, member of the Youth, with a background in the performing arts, is our artistic coordinator.

Elected to BCLAC's Ethics Board were: Outgoing Organizer Alicia Barsallo [879-3246], Denny Eddy [269-2414], Human Rights' Activist Miriam Hernandez [215-1700], and Alan Ward [879-3246], member of the Youth and UBC Mathematics and English Major.

CONSTITUTION & BY-LAWS HIGHLIGHTS

The Constitution calls for the involvement of both Latinos and non-Latinos in the fight against police violence and for a full participation in Canada's political process.

MEMBERSHIP:

One must support the work of the Congress and be at least 12 years of age to be a member. Membership is extended to organizations also. All members have voice at an AGM but only members who have been "active" during the pre- AGM period (the year immediately prior to the AGM) have vote.

One may become an "active" member by coordinating a BCLAC campaign; OR taking the Congress through preparing for an important BCLAC event; OR getting involved in the carrying out of at least three BCLAC events; OR taking part in three artistic performances for BCLAC; OR making three public presentations to or for BCLAC; OR steadily performing an ongoing task for at least three months; OR being the holders of elected public office and publicly supporting the work of the Congress; OR, in the case of a constituent organization, waging campaigns or organizing forums as members or under the sponsorship of the Congress.

In addition to the help received from its active members, the Congress gets valuable help from its "consultative" members [who receive the Congress' news and provide feedback; or attend at least one Congress event; or occasionally help publicize or distribute Congress material] and from its "supporting" members [who help us exclusively financially by paying their yearly dues].

REELECTION LIMITS

The directors may be re-elected for two or more consecutive terms, except for the Organizer who may not be elected for two consecutive year terms.

ORGANIZER -- A KEY POSITION:

The Organizer has the maximum responsibility for the coordination of the work of the Congress as a whole. Among other things, she/he must work to: expand the Congress' address book; maintain and improve the Congress' main campaigns and ensure a Congress presence in events organized by other groups in areas of concern to the Congress; promote the participation of all Congress members; facilitate the communication between Committees.

STANDING COMMITTEES

These committees are to be formed to carry out the Congress' work in particular areas. They are autonomous in that they are free to pursue the work in their area of responsibility without unnecessary interference from the Organizer. However, the coordinator of each Standing Committee must maximize her/his communication with the Organizer, so as to maximize the Organizer's ability to support the Committee's work.

Standing Committees are different from the Constituent Organizations of the Congress in that the latter although supportive of the Congress are quite separate and apart from it and need not adopt the Congress' by-laws as their own.

One of BCLAC's first standing committees is to be the Standing Committee on Education headed by writer/journalist Juan Guerra [468-8351].

SPOKESPEOPLE

Any active member may speak or write to the media or to any organization as "member of" the Congress. Only the Organizer or her delegate or delegates may speak "for" or "on behalf of" the Congress.

FINANCES

The activities of the Congress are financed only through membership dues and fund-raising activities. In order to maintain its political independence, and avoid making the maintenance of an office and of paid personnel a main goal, the Congress does not seek or accept government or corporate grants of money. Accordingly, the Congress takes no part in the acquisition of, and accepts no responsibility whatsoever for, subsidies that any of its Constituent Organizations may receive.

Membership dues are paid once a year. The year starts immediately after one AGM ends and ends immediately before the following AGM starts. The annual membership dues are: $5 for unemployed individual members and $10 for employed individual members; and $30 for Constituent Organizations. _


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