G.A. Minutes 10-21-14

G.A. Minutes 10-21-14
The CJM Memorial is empty when the first two Occupiers arrive. Ordinarily they would wait for the arrival of more of their comrades before setting things up but not tonight.
It’s too cold for sitting around waiting. They do the work by themselves. Soon others arrive; the fire is going in no time and everyone huddles close to it.
An Occupier asks about the latest news from the Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance group. Another answers, “A few of the members are currently doing research concerning the de-listing of wolves and other protected species and the introduction of new mines, logging operations and other environmentally destructive operations on to the lands of the previously protected species. The idea is that INM/NWA should be able to work more closely together; enabling them to better co-ordinate their actions. The next meeting is this upcoming Friday, October 24th, 1pm at the Duluth Indian Center”.
Someone mentions, “The Coalition To Stop Sulphide Mining will be holding another event at our friend’s club on next Saturday. I think we should go to offer support and also there’s going to be some really good bands”. We all agree we would like to attend the event so make plans to meet at the Red Herring at 8pm on Saturday October 25th.
Some regular street folks arrive to get some coffee. The man says, “Oh, you’re burning sage. Is it fake sage?” An Occupier answers, “Is there such a thing as fake sage?” Another responds, “Oh you know, that synthetic stuff and the first Occupiers teasingly retorts, “So if you use fake sage does that mean you will get fake blessings?” Everyone laughs.
A regular man who is not homeless but spends a lot of time on the streets appears. He and his friend sit and talk with us for a while. He’s spent all his money on alcohol again and doesn’t have bus fare to get back home. Some of the Occupiers dig in their pockets and come up with enough change to help him out.
Another man we haven’t met comes up to sit. He’s very friendly and his voice sounds familiar. After we converse for a while he says, “Don’t you know who I am?” We don’t know. He tells us his name and we are astounded. This man lived at our former homeless camp but he looks very different than he from how he looked at our camp. He’s lost weight, is wearing nice clothes and has a calmer demeanor than he did when he lived with us. An Occupier states, “Oh man, I didn’t even recognize you. I figured you had gone back to Chicago”. The man says, “I live up in Hermantown and I have a job”. It seems he hasn’t found many friends in Hermantown. He’s not a daily drinker but when he feels like drinking he comes down to the old hood and looks for his old friends. Seeing as he no longer lives in our neighborhood, he’s out of the loop as to where people are on this night. He sits with us and politely calls out to all the women who walk by. He doesn’t get any responses.
One of the Occupiers reports that one of our friends is holding a conference at City Hall this upcoming Saturday at 12:30 pm. Members of the Council of Black Minnesotans will be presenting a forum and question and answer session with some MN elected officials concerning issues affecting black Duluthians. The Occupier continues, “I don’t know if I will attend as I don’t think I would have much to offer that would be helpful though I could just listen”. She gives the names of a few of our P.O.C. friends who are planning on attending. Another says, “Duluth is a strange place. At first glance it appears to be a very progressive and fairly hip place but if you look closer there is a lot of racism here. Just look at the difference in income levels, difference in housing and in jobs. That tells one something”. Another says, “I don’t think there are any black people in city office jobs. There are a lot more black people who live here than black people you see working any type of job as you go about your daily business in Duluth”.
A group of people, most of whom we are familiar with, join us. One of the men begins to introduce himself when an Occupier jokingly says, “Ogiima-Central Hillside! We know you” ( Ogiima is Anishinaabemowin for Chief). The man had visited us once many months ago. He had been very drunk and boastful. Tonight he is humble and answers, “Oh, I ain’t nobody. I’m just a drunk”. It appears that he and his friends have been drinking this evening. When they begin to bring out their bottles, the Occupiers ask them to go and drink at the back ledge. They cheerfully do so.
We resume our conversation at the fire and the street group stands at the back ledge laughing and drinking.
Suddenly a DPD squad pulls up to the curb and gets out. A lone officer walks quickly toward the group. They immediately disperse but Ogiima doesn’t get away fast enough and the cop corners him. The cop begins the usual questioning, “What’s your name? Where do you live? Have you been drinking? Do you have ID?”
Another squad and officer arrive. We continue looking into the fire but stop our conversation and listen carefully to what’s going on at the ledge. The Chief answers humbly and politely. He pleads, almost crying, “Please don’t take me in. Please let me go”. Suddenly his tone changes. He says, “I’m Ogiima and these are my friends”. The officer asks if we know the man. We say yes we do.
One officer goes to his car to check the Chief’s credentials while the other officer guards the Chief.
In the midst of all this, a well dressed woman carrying a bag walks through. She walks up to the officer and the man saying, “I have cupcakes and garlic toast from the event at the Zinema. Would you like some?” The officer says no thanks and the Chief takes a cupcake.
The woman then comes over to the fire and puts all of her food out on the table. We have a lovely conversation with her about all the changes that are occurring at the Zinema.
The Chief wants to come and sit with us at the fire but the cop will only let him sit on the back ledge. We think the cop believes we are all crazy and may possibly do him some harm.
Finally the other officer returns, says something to the first officer and the first officer says to the Chief, “Everything’s o.k., you’re free to go”.
The other officer drives off, the Chief comes to sit by the fire and the first officer comes over to talk to us. He says he’s new to this neighborhood beat and asks who we are, what we’re doing and stuff like that. We tell him as little as possible while still appearing to be polite and co-operative. He wishes us goodnight and reminds us to call him if we need any help. He gets into his car but doesn’t drive off.
All of the Chief’s drinking friends return and plunk themselves down by the fire. They quite loudly proclaim they are not afraid of cops. One yells “Fuck the police!” A very young girl who is part of their group pulls a bottle out of her coat, drinks some and begins to wave it around.
A female Occupier stands up and chastises the girl, “No! You cannot drink at this fire! If you want to drink you must leave and come back after you’re done. You are not going to ruin things for everyone else”. The girl puts her bottle back but appears as though she thinks she has been unjustly punished.
Shortly thereafter, the group says their goodbyes and begins to wander off. They realize they have forgotten the Chief so return for him. As he starts to leave we notice he has left his backpack. We call him back, get everybody situated with their proper belongings and off they go again. As they leave, the squad car drives off in the same direction they are going.
The fire is down to the coals but the remaining people are in no hurry to leave. We stand around conversing with our hands over the fire pit.
We’ll be at the gig at the Red Herring on Saturday and back at CJM next Tuesday.

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G.A. Minutes 10-18-14

G.A. Minutes 10-18-14

It’s kinda chilly tonight; probably 5 or 10 degrees above freezing. The sun goes down around 6:30 pm these days; it will get colder still once it’s dark.

Street folks start coming up as soon as they see our vehicles. It’s the time of year when homeless folks have to think seriously about how they will survive the winter. The CHUM center will fill way beyond capacity; it’s not a pleasant place to be but at least it’s warm.

Not all homeless people will be able to stay at the CHUM or any of the few additional shelters in the city. Some cannot survive the craziness of being packed in wall to wall with mostly mentally unstable people. Some are so mentally unstable that shelter staffs refuse them entry.

Whatever the circumstances, the first cold autumn breezes signal the start of grim reality for those in the northland without homes.

The DPD squads start buzzing around the Memorial before we even have the fire going. There are quite a few different cars. They’re not slowing down or even particularly looking at us but it seems they want to make their presence known.

The chairs fill up as soon as the flames flare up. It’s standing room only but we know very few our guests.
A young, gay couple is very impressed when they discover they’re sharing a campfire with Occupy Duluth. It’s not often we run across street folks who have even heard of Occupy.

An Occupier says he needs help getting an electric stove carried into his house. He’s talking about the stove we found for the Duluth Indian Center. It turns out the DIC won’t be able to use it as the cost of installing the proper electrical wiring is prohibitive. When no one responds, the Occupier says, “Well don’t all jump up at once”. Another Occupier answers, “Sure I’ll help you, just let me know when”. It will take several people to move the stove. It looks like it won’t get moved any time soon.

An Occupier tells about a movie called Disruption which he viewed recently at the U.U. church. He begins to describe what he saw but is interrupted by the loud talking of the rest of the folks.

Tonight the members of the circle are almost completely male. A woman of the neighborhood who spends much time cleaning and monitoring CJM throughout the week and 1 Occupier are the only females.

The street men have decided to hold a competition concerning who is the more streetwise and who has the most life experience. They are being quite loud about it. Soon bottles of alcohol are pulled out of coat pockets.

The Occupiers explain that they need folks to take their drinking and whatever else outside of the circle. No one is trying to tell anyone else what substances they are allowed but the Occupiers know how quickly blatant substance abuse will bring on the cops and how quickly some people’s behavior deteriorates when “anything goes”.

The neighborhood woman chastises everybody and things settle down; but not for long. A somewhat regular and sometimes aggressive man walks up to the fire, raises his hands and repeats a made-up Muslim prayer, ending with several loud grunts. Another man who joins us occasionally begins preaching his version of Christianity. Something to do with God loves all people and Obama is gay.

An Occupier says to the man’s girlfriend, “Do you have some way of shutting him up?”

The girlfriend responds, “No, but isn’t he just terrible? He very rarely drinks but when he does, this is what happens”.

Another man stumbles around and yells, “Jesus never existed and there is no God!” Others attempt to shout him down and the alcohol bottles start waving again.

One Occupier says to another, “This is all completely out of control. We need to shut it down”.

And that’s all she wrote. The Occupiers say nothing but begin packing up and dousing the fire.

An older neighborhood man who joins the circle frequently, calls out to the drunks in a tone that sounds like a little boy, “You ruined the party! You ruined the party!”

As they leave one of the Occupiers comments, “I hope this gets around. We are really laid back but even so, we won’t tolerate just anything”.

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G.A. Minutes 10-11-14

G.A. Minutes 10-11-14

There’s not much of a wind but autumn is certainly in the air this evening. We hustle to get things set up and to get the fire started.

Some of the Occupiers are a little on edge. We know that after the visit from the DPD and the City Fire Department at our meeting last Tuesday, we are flying in their faces by openly having a fire at CJM.

Oh well….. Speaking truth to power always carries some risk. The issues we’re dealing with are of major importance. The publics’ right to make use of public space and the necessity of all people, rich or poor, powerful or powerless, to abide by the same laws are serious matters. We will need to back up our words with action.

Tonight we have all our ducks in a row. A Duluth city ordinance and a MN statute expressly state that our fire is legal and does not require a permit. We have copies of these laws with us in case somebody should feel like challenging our or anybody else’s right to congregate as we do.

The Occupier who regularly does a general pickup of the Memorial before we begin our meeting has an assistant this time. The developmentally disabled man joins him, efficiently getting all the bits of garbage cleaned up.

We gather around the blazing fire and are immediately joined by others from the neighborhood. Everyone will need to keep warm on a night like this.

A woman we know as schizophrenic walks by. She’s in a bad mood and is loudly cussing at everyone. The Occupier who is cleaning tries to talk with her. This does not go well and we encourage him to just leave her alone.

A man from the neighborhood passes by. He is carrying a purse, waving it over his head. He says, “Do you want me to throw this up on the roof?” A woman waving a large bottle of alcohol follows him and meekly says, “No”. He answers, “Well then, leave me alone. If you were not a woman I would knock you out”. He hands her back her purse and walks away. She does not follow him.

Back in the circle some folks question, “Hey, we heard the police were hassling you guys at your last meeting. What’s up with that?” We tell them the story.

An Occupier states, “We think they’re being pressured by the CJM BOD to make us stop having our fires. The Board has been making a lot of noise lately about wanting to kick all neighborhood people out of the Memorial grounds. We try to explain to the board that the so called problem goes so much deeper than their narrow little minds seem to be able to handle.

“If they want CJM to be free of people hanging out, they need to be working on getting housing, healthcare, education, meaningful work and other services for poor and working class people. Of course those country club wannabees don’t want to hear any of that. They just want all the neighborhood people to disappear to who knows or cares where. That’s how most rich people are; they just want anything they consider unsightly to get out of their line of vision. They actually think they have the right to demand that other human beings just disappear. They think themselves to be a better class of people. I will fight those morons til the day I die and maybe even longer than that”.

An Occupier informs us he may be leaving town for the winter. He has been homeless again for the last few months. A friend has offered to share a room with him in Mpls. We are happy for him. The Occupier and a street man begin to have a disagreement about semantics or something. We’re not sure what it’s about but people begin to leave the circle.

Fortunately the mood is broken by the arrival of our friend the grey haired woman. She says, “What the heck is going on tonight? People are so crabby. They have just been coming up to me on the street and yelling at me”.

An Occupier answers, “Yes, I’ve noticed that too. Everyone seems out of sorts”. Our grey haired friend manages to cheer everyone up as usual. She tells a few silly stories and many folks return to the fire.

One lone DPD SUV drives slowly by. We’d noticed his presence earlier. So far we think he’s been our only stalker.

Things are back to normal now with many friendly people sitting talking, laughing and warming themselves.

A young man we haven’t met compliments us on our use of the sage bundle. He begins to explain basic Anishinaabe culture. We are familiar with most of what he tells us but we listen politely and allow him to individually smudge everyone in the circle.

A boy about 10 or 12 years old rides up on a scooter. He asks for a cup of coffee. At first we briefly hesitate but realize these kids of the street are older than their years. He says, “It’s o.k., my Dad is back there on the ledge. If you ask him he will say it’s alright for me to have coffee. We give him some and invite him to sit and join us. He speaks with us as though he were a much older person.

Soon his Father and the others from the back ledge arrive. We have standing room only. Father and son have obvious respect and affection for each other. The son tells us his Father taught him how to drive a year or so ago. He says his Dad did this so he would be able to drive him home if he got too drunk. His Father replies, “Shhh…. You’re embarrassing me in front of my new friends”.

An Occupier notices it is almost 10pm. She says to another Occupier, “The way that cop has been scoping us out all night, we’d better watch the time. I’m not in the mood for an ambush”.

They quietly begin packing up. The Father also notices the time. He, his son and several others are staying at a small homeless shelter just up the hill. Their curfew is 10 pm. He says to one of the other men, “Do you need a place to stay tonight?” The man says yes he does and the Father answers, “You can stay in my room but you’ll have to climb in the window. There are guards at the door and I’m not supposed to have guests. You’ll have to crawl back out the window around 6am”.

Everyone is saying their goodbyes when the boy’s father looks over at the back ledge and says, “Oh no, that woman is still there”. The Occupiers look too and see someone passed out on the ground with their legs twisted up in the air. An Occupier walks over and sees it is the woman who was waving the big bottle of alcohol early in the evening. The occupier asks the boy’s father if she should call 911 and have them take the woman to Detox. The Father responds, “Yeah, you better do that. She’ll be really mad in the morning but at least she’ll be safe for the night”.

The Occupiers call 911, pack up, put out the fire and wait for the rescue squad to arrive. The woman sits up, shouts “F’ you” to no one in particular and falls down on her back again.

After 20 minutes or so the stalker SUV arrives followed by a fire department “O.D. squad”. They begin walking toward the Occupiers until one points to the back ledge. The police officer and the fire people begin talking to the woman.

We think that as long as the fire people are with the DPD officer, the woman will come to no harm. We have no idea who she is so can provide no further assistance.

Next Tuesday we will be going to the Sawyer Community Center to meet with Leonard and Mary Moose, 2 much respected Anishinaabe elders. We plan to be back at CJM on Saturday.

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G.A. Minutes 10-7-14

G.A. Minutes 10-7-14

The weather report called for chilly temps and very strong winds. Their prediction turned out to be just a maybe this evening. We’re wearing warm clothes, the wind is mild and the temps aren’t very cold.
We arrive and before we even set up, an officer from the DPD walks up. He’s doing the macho walk, trying to look like he means business. He says, “You’d better not light a fire in that thing. You can’t have a fire in a city park.”

The Occupier who generally researches the laws for Occupy Duluth, thinks to herself, “Oh no! After an entire year of compliance with the actual law they’re gonna start this B.S. again?” What she says to the cop is, “Oh officer, I wonder if you are new here? We went through all this over a year ago and it’s been determined that we do have a legal right to have a fire here”.

The cop says, “I’m not new! I’ve been here for seven or more years and I’m telling you that you can’t have a fire in a city park!”

One of our regular street friends says to the cop, “You can’t tell them they can’t have a fire; they can do what they want around here”. The cop says to the street man, Mr.___ (calls him by name) you need to shut up. I’ll take you down in a minute. Walk away”. The man walks away. The Occupier knows what the cop was really saying was something like, “You’re just a lowlife homeless person. I can do whatever I want to do to you”.

DPD officer demands to see the Occupiers’ ID. The Occupier goes to her car and gets the packet of paperwork she has always carried in case an incident like this happened. She returns with the letter from the DPD chief of police which states DPD officers have been instructed to not approach the Occupiers when they are having their fires at CJM. It says the matter has been turned over to the Fire Marshall and the Fire Marshall told him our fire wasn’t allowed.

We always found the last part kinda funny as in the past all the fire people who were sent to our fires were supportive and complimented us on our safety precautions.

The Occupier hands the letter to the officer and he says to her, “I want your ID right now!”

The Occupier responds, “Sure. I’m not trying to disrespect you. You read that letter and I’ll go back to my car and get my ID.

The cop reads appears to be reading the letter and then talking on the phone. By the time the Occupier returns, more DPD squads are arriving. She gives the mean acting cop her ID. There are now four more cops consisting of two in separate squad cars and two on horseback. They all say the same thing (you can’t have a fire in a city park).

One squad cop is checking the other Occupiers’ IDs and acting like he doesn’t want to be there, while the other is acting all friendly and attempting to have a conversation with the paperwork Occupier. The mean cop is still acting mean and the two cops on horseback appear to not know their ass from a hole in the ground, at least when it comes to legal matters. The Occupier thinks, Oh great, the usual game has begun or to quote Yogi Berra, “It’s deja vu all over again”.

The mean cop says talks on his phone to somebody and says, “O.K., I’m going to call the fire captain and he will come down here and tell you that you can’t have a fire”. The cop who would rather be somewhere else leaves.
We sit and wait for the fire captain. We’re not too concerned as we’ve always had pleasant dealings with the Fire Department. An Occupier says jokingly, “I hope he doesn’t show up with a full fire crew, blocking the street, lights flashing and all that”.

No sooner are the words out of her mouth than the captain appears with a full fire crew, blocking the street, lights flashing and all that.

The captain politely greets the paperwork Occupier but this time there’s a twist. The Occupiers show him a copy of the fire ordinance for city parks. This ordinance clearly states the fire at CJM is legal.
The fire captain says, “I really like your fires and I wish you could have one but you can’t have a fire in a city park without a permit from the Fire Marshall”. When asked for the exact number of the code or ordinance, he says he doesn’t know it.

This is a different twist. The paperwork Occupier knows he’s quoting the law erroneously. She knows that law places a stipulation concerning a large number of people at an event but she doesn’t have a copy of that exact law with her.

Crap. She also knows if the Occupiers start up the fire without being able to show the true permit stipulation, at least one of them will be arrested and worst of all, their fire equipment will be confiscated. We don’t have time for that.

The Occupiers say they will have to get back to the captain on that one. All the so called officials appear quite happy. The fire people fall all over themselves providing phone numbers for the Fire Marshall and encouraging the Occupiers to call tomorrow. The captain says, “I’m sure it will be no problem. Just give her a call. She’ll email you a permit and then you’ll be able to have fires.

The Occupiers didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday. They know that no City official is going to grant the Occupiers anything but a long walk off a short pier.

All the fire people and cops leave, except the mean cop. He remains parked across the street. The Occupiers begin to pick up the chairs but the paperwork Occupiers says, “No! We can’t leave now. We can’t let them think we’re a bunch of wimps and that they can win that easily. We have to stay now, at least for a while. It’s not that cold”.

The other Occupiers don’t appear too pleased but they put the chairs back down. We take out the sage bundle and dish. At least we can offer people the opportunity to smudge.
Throughout the rest of the meeting various DPD squads circle around the Memorial at regular intervals. It must be a slow night for them.

Another Occupier arrives and we tell him, “Hey, you missed all the excitement”. We relate the evenings’ events.
Various street folks arrive, sit in the circle, ask what’s going on, get an explanation and ask when we will have a fire again. We tell them we’re shooting for this upcoming Saturday. Soon the folks are cold and leave.
The Occupiers chat for a while about some miscommunication we have had regarding the inner workings of a few of our computers and also about the organizing strategy of trying to convince people in positions of power to fight for one’s particular cause vs the strategy of encouraging the people to demand power for themselves.

The regular street man who had attempted to defend us from the cops at the beginning of our meeting returns. He smudges and says, “Did you hear that little bitch cop say to me ‘You ain’t nothing but a N___(says N word) and I’ll do whatever I want to you?’” The Occupier realizes she had interpreted the cop’s words a little differently but says, “Yeah, I heard it. That’s the kind of thing that needs to be taken to the Citizen’s Review Board”. The man is not interested in taking it to the CRB.

The Occupiers are getting cold and they figure they have stayed long enough to make their point. They pack up and make plans to research the law (again) and return on Saturday.

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G.A. Minutes 9-30-14

G.A. Minutes 9-30-14

Compared to what we’re used to, we know this evening will be a cold one. It’s in the high 40s with a strong east wind. At least we won’t have to worry about rain.

When we arrive it’s already too cold to stand around talking. We hustle to get stuff set up and to start up the fire. We’ll need to keep it big and blazing until it’s time to leave.

We notice one guy sitting on the back ledge. He has his hoodie pulled down over most of his face and his body language says he’s very unhappy or messed up or maybe both. We don’t think we know him.

As we ignite the flames a former camper, who we come across from time to time, arrives and sits down. He always appears happy to see us.

He calls to the guy on the back ledge and tells him to come over. The guy says, “I can’t. I can’t walk”. The camper walks to the ledge, talks with the guy and the two of them walk to our circle. The guy is walking really funny. He’s not staggering but he’s walking like he’s on a tightrope or floating on air or something.

When he sits down and looks at us we realize he is also a former camper and a person well known to us. At first he mumbles, not saying much but as we engage him in conversation he begins to respond.

The first camper tells us he has a court date soon and expects the judge to order him to leave town. He says, “I guess I’ll be moving to Colorado”. The second camper adds, “Yeah, and I’m going with him”.

An Occupier asks, “What? Aren’t you getting prepared to go to firefighting school?” The camper puts his head in his head and responds, “I just don’t know. Since my mom died I just don’t know anything”.

We knew his mother. She was also homeless for a while and stayed in our former homeless camp. She was blind and very dependent upon the second camper. We were aware she had died a few weeks ago.

A group of Native American guys stop by. They are all pleasantly drunk. Some we have met in the past, some we have not. They speak to each other in Anishinaabemowiin. We don’t know what they are saying but we can tell they are happily teasing back and forth. They warm themselves and wander off to a friends’ house.

An Occupier says, “So now that the Climate Convergence March is over, what happens next?”

Another Occupier answers, “From what I’m observing, it’s seems that groups like Sierra Club and 350.org are quite pleased with themselves and are saying we need to just keep having big marches, signing petitions, pushing current congress people and electing good congressional candidates to switch from fossil fuel to sustainable fuel, stop mining and fracking and save the planet.

The smaller more radical groups are saying, ‘No, we’ve been petitioning, marching and electing congress people for far too long. It doesn’t work. The system is rotten to the core. No matter how good the people elected to congress are, they will be swallowed by the system. We need more radical actions and we need to realize the 1% will never be persuaded to willingly give up their ill-gotten gains. We need to realize that this is a fight that will go on for generations We need to realize some people are going to be killed by the servants of the 1% before we finally win’. Right now they wisely aren’t saying what these radical actions will be”.

Still another Occupier states, “Well, I’m in agreement with the more radical groups”. We all nod in common consent.

Our friend, the grey haired woman, arrives. For once she has appeared while the meeting is still going on.

Many more folks come to sit. Tonight the Occupiers have brought the fixings for s’mores. They put out the roasting sticks, graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Many begin roasting the marshmallows and making their treats.

While we have been sitting in our circle a man who is vaguely familiar to us has been walking a good distance outside our circle, yelling and cussing about something while casting his glance in our direction. We’ve become accustomed to all types of strange behavior going on outside the circle so have just been ignoring him.

When he sees we are making s’mores, he stops yelling, comes over, sits down, asks to make one and tells us a somewhat confusing story about camping with his grandfather when he was a child. He roasts up a bunch of marshmallows, wolfs down two big treats, gets up, walks around the circle cussing and yelling for a while, and then walks off. Oh well……

For several months now we have noticed a grey haired, stylishly dressed Native woman sitting or standing in various places outside our circle. Overtime we notice she is not a person involved in sex trafficking or drug dealing. Many street regulars appear to know her. Tonight she sits with us for the first time. She appears calm and friendly as she listens to our conversation.

An Occupier tells us that Idle No More and Northwoods Wolf Alliance are currently researching evidence which appears to show that the real reason wolves and a few other animals were originally removed from the endangered species list was to make way for mining companies and other destroyers of the earth. When an area of land is the natural habitat of any endangered species, companies wishing to destroy the land are not allowed by law to do so as the destruction would adversely affect the endangered inhabitants.

The Occupier remembers this theory being postulated a few years ago at a conference sponsored by some Native people. Her memory of the event is hazy but she remembers various organizers expressing doubt about it, and the idea being forgotten soon. If enough credible evidence is found, INM and NWA will be bringing the idea to the forefront soon.

A group of well-dressed men are passing by on the sidewalk. One man calls out, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?” We don’t answer but wave at the group.

Then one Occupier calls back, “We’re making s’mores. You’re welcome to have some”. Two of the youngest group members come over. They say, “We’ve just come from a big dinner but can we talk to you about Jesus?”

An Occupier responds, “We don’t have a problem with the words of Jesus but we don’t talk about that stuff here. There are so many different people here with many different beliefs so we don’t want to offend anyone”.

The men say, “Well, can we tell you what Jesus has done for us?” We say o.k. It turns out they are members of Teen Challenge. They tell stories of horrible drug addiction, loneliness and suffering. They say that hearing the words of Jesus and praying saved their lives.

The Occupiers congratulate them and a conversation about various religious teachings begins. The stylish grey haired woman participates. We note that she is a very intelligent and deep thinker. The men are surprised the Occupiers are well versed in these types of subjects.

An Occupier says, “Oh, we have these types of conversations here all the time”.

As the men leave an Occupier advises, “The real test will come after you leave the program. Remember to stay strong and don’t lose your way”.

A large, young Native man who has been sitting with us says, “You know, I believe in God or Creator but I hate that motherfucker. He took my dad, my sister and two of my cousins. All He does is take”.

He then tells a story of finding one of his friends frozen to death one morning on the Lakewalk. He tells this story in much detail; tears are falling from his eyes. He wipes his face and says, “No! I am NOT crying”. The stylish woman sits at his side, talking softly with him.

It’s after 9pm so we begin to pack up. Just then our friend the infamous street woman shows up. She is slightly drunk and says, “I heard you guys were making s’mores. Can I have one?” We say, “Sure” and sit back down.

The woman tells us her latest boyfriend beat her up very badly and she had to have him put in jail. He’ll probably be locked up for a long time. She’s sorry he’s going to jail but also knows she will not put up with beatings.

She also tells us she has finally received housing. We’re very happy for her. She’s been homeless for several years. We notice she’s drinking again and hope she’ll be able to get back on the wagon and keep her new home.

Another male friend of hers arrives, we all laugh and joke for a while and then they leave.

It’s well after 10pm as we pack up for good. There’s not a cop in sight. Maybe they don’t care about us anymore. We could stay here unmolested by them all night! Then again……..

Maybe not. We all have stuff to do tomorrow.

We plan to be back on Saturday.

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G.A. Minutes 9-23-14

G.A. Minutes 9-23-14

Summer is back for at least the next week, or so the weather forecasters tell us. At this rate we’ll be able to collect on the days of summer that we were cheated out of in June. Sweet. We must be doing something right.

A couple of Occupiers have agreed to arrive a little early tonight. The president of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial BOD has asked to meet with them before the regular meeting starts.

When they arrive, the president is nowhere to be seen. An Occupier says, “While I was driving over here I noticed that the streets are just teeming with people. I bet everyone is out enjoying this beautiful day”.

A few more Occupiers arrive and everyone begins setting things up. A regular woman from the street takes one of the Occupiers aside and asks, “Do you know where we might get a tent and a couple of sleeping bags?” The Occupier doesn’t have any secret information so can only suggest contacting the main outreach worker at CHUM or asking the people at Loaves N Fishes. The Occupier thinks to herself “Oh, she and her man must have lost their housing. That’s too bad. They don’t look like they’d be adept at camping and I know she has kids”.

The CJM BOD president still hasn’t arrived, people are beginning to be seated and the fire has been started. Oh well….. If he arrives later he’ll just have to join the circle.

An Occupier tells a story of how she has been having on online conversation with some regular people from West End. They are discussing the fact that they find used syringes with needles still in them all over their neighborhood. Most are frightened and asking what they should do.

The Occupier has been explaining to them how a Needle Exchange Program operates. The conversation has been going on for about a week and all the participants have been serious but pleasant. She goes on “Except today some guy from Park Point logs in and says to tell mayor Ness and all his socialist cronies (everyone cracks up when they hear this) to cut all the welfare payments they give these undesirable people from other cities, down to the bare bone. He says this will stop all the undesirables from coming to Duluth’.

“I just couldn’t help it”, the Occupier said. “So I wrote back to him and said: ‘I hate to have to be rude but you sound pretty undesirable yourself. We don’t need any haters in this conversation. We’re trying to solve real problems.” Everybody has to laugh. The Occupier continued, “As far as I know, the Park Point guy hasn’t returned to the conversation.”

People are about to comment on the story when our friend, the pretty street woman who tells really good stories arrives. We can tell immediately that she is not in a good mood. She’s also quite messed up on some type of substance. Alcohol is usually her drug of choice.

She appears to be very sad. We’ve known her long enough to know that she expresses any strong emotion by using anger. She begins her usual diatribe about how come blacks have a Memorial and Natives don’t have one…..blah,blah,blah. Then she says, “My grandmother died a few days ago. She was 97 years old”.

She goes on to tell us some things about her grandmother. We try to convey empathy to her. She is not having any of it and says, “I don’t cry. Oh no, I never cry,” She starts to sob but catches herself. She just sits, looking miserable. One Occupier says to another, “Sometimes when people are having their grief and their pain, there’s nothing you can do. They just have to be allowed to feel it”. That comment seems to calm the sad woman a little.

An Occupier explains to the others about the expected visit from the BOD president. He states, “I received a call from one of our Occupiers who told me the BOD president wanted to talk with me. I met with him at a coffee shop yesterday. It seems like the president is on the same page as we are but the rest of the BOD members are not.

“They want us to stop meeting at the Memorial and they want all the neighborhood people to leave also. They want no smoking, drugs, drinking, drug or sex trafficking and no whatever else you can think of.

“If we continue to meet here, they expect us to enforce these rules. They want the Memorial to be a quiet, empty place where they can bring the wealthy potential donors to their scholarship program. He told me he would meet me here before the meeting but he didn’t show up. He’s a pretty nice guy. I hope nothing bad happened that prevented him from being here”.

Another Occupier responds, “Well it’s a good thing the BOD has absolutely no legal jurisdiction over CJM. I say the hell with them. They’re just a bunch of country club wannabees. They think being a BOD member is some sort of status symbol. They have no clue about the lives of the guys up on the wall or of any of the people who live around here. I say we just ignore the BOD. If they have anything they want to discuss with us they can join us here at a meeting”.

Something the Occupier said has rubbed the woman of the good stories the wrong way. She jumps up saying, “I’m outta here! You guys have bad spirits”. She staggers off.
Suddenly all the street people in our chairs leave. Then all the people on the street disappear. We have witnessed this phenomena in the past. We have no idea what it means.

A conversation about the 1% begins. An Occupier comments, “I don’t understand why they are so blind. Why can’t they see they are destroying the lives on their own generations to come also? Why can’t they see that their own lives would be better if only they allowed the rest of humanity to just have basic needs met.

Another Occupier agrees, “Yeah and they wouldn’t have to hire university think tanks to research why the masses revolt”. We all laugh.

Our friend an occasional Occupier arrives. He’s come for some good coffee and a chat. He doesn’t usually have time to attend our meetings as he’s running his own cab company out of our neighborhood. He’s well acquainted with all the street folks. We catch up on his latest news, he makes an appointment to meet one of the Occupiers later and then he’s off again.

The Native man on crutches who has been showing up to the circle lately arrives. He brings his girlfriend and introduces her. She’s pleasant and friendly. He offers each member in our circle a pinch of tobacco. Some put the tobacco in the fire with a silent prayer, others roll a cigarette.

As usual, the man talks of good things. He tells us his father was a Lakota spiritual advisor and created a shelter for men who were batterers. He says the idea was when the men came home, acted violently with their wives and got thrown out of the house; they would not come back and try to kick in the door etc. They could go to the shelter. We think his father was a very smart man.

Two young boys who we recognize slightly arrive. They are holding the story telling street woman up by her arms. She appears unable to walk; her speech is incoherent. They sit her down in a chair and one of the boys makes a phone call. He tells the woman he has found a place for her to sleep for the night and attempts to get her to stand. It’s not working.

The man with the crutches says, “Leave her alone. Wait a while and then she’ll be ready to go”. It appears that everyone listens when the man with crutches tells them something. The boys leave. We continue to talk and then the man and his girlfriend also leave.

The fire is dying, the hour is very late. We know we can’t just pack up and leave while the story telling woman is passed out and alone. We are wondering what we should do. We know we can’t just take her to one of our houses for the night. She has a lot of paranoia so if she wakes up in a strange environment she will probably freak out, think she’s been kidnapped and try to kill anyone she sees.

The street is empty of people we know are her friends. We sit for a while and then the two boys return. One says to an Occupier, “Will you talk to her?”

The Occupier gives it a try. “Honey, we’re packing up now. We don’t want to just leave you here. You’ll probably end up in Detox. Please go with your nephews. They have a place where you can stay”. The woman agrees and the boys carry her off.

We quickly pack up. It’s probably after 10pm but the DPD don’t seem to pay much attention to us anymore.

On Saturday we’ll be going to a belated Fall Equinox celebration in the country. We intend to be back to CJM on Tuesday. Maybe it will still be summer.

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Rogier Gregoire, chair of the CJMM BOD, will meet with occupiers before the meeting today, September 23rd 2014, at about 5:45pm. We are hoping to find common ground between us, in regard to how our activities might be conducted without offending the sense of sacred history represented at the memorial.

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G.A. Minutes 9-16-14

G.A. Minutes 9-16-14

It’s another evening where we haven’t been at the CJM Memorial for an entire week. We were rained out last Tuesday and on Saturday we attended an IWW event put on by one of our occasional Occupiers at the Jefferson People’s House.

The weather has been chilly for about a week but today temps were in the low 70s. It looks like this evening will be pleasant too.

When the 1st Occupier arrives she sees a DPD officer getting out of his car and approaching the Memorial space. A few people are hanging out. They leave quickly. Only 1 regular neighborhood guy is left sitting on the back ledge. The cop walks up to him and they talk. The Occupier tries to sit unnoticed so she can listen to the conversation.

She can hear what the officer is saying but the neighborhood guy’s voice is too quiet. The cop asks the guy for an ID but he doesn’t have one with him. The guy has an ethnic sounding name; the cop asks him if he’s “legal”. He then has the guy stand beside the squad car while he calls in the guy’s name and address. Everything checks out so he gives the guy a citation, thanks him for being cooperative and drives off.

The Occupier says, “So what happened?”

The guy says, “He gave me a citation for being a public nuisance. I’m so pissed. I gotta go home. I’ll come back and talk to you later”.

The Occupier has seen this game played many times. The DPD give street people citations for non-existent reasons. The cops know the people are poor, feel powerless and won’t show up in court to fight the charges.

The people can’t afford to pay the citation fines so after they accumulate enough unpaid citations, they can be sent to jail for a few months. The people then lose their government subsidized housing and are discharged from jail into homelessness. On average, it will take them 3 years to be able to get housing again.

The Occupier wonders what the point of all of this is. To keep the jails full? To create more homeless people? It doesn’t make sense.

A few more Occupiers arrive. An Occupier who can’t be present tonight drops off a bag of hot dogs and buns. We set things up and get the fire going. The air is still warm so we won’t have to sit close to the flames right away.

An older Native man we haven’t met in the past staggers over. He appears quite drunk. We greet him and he sits down.
More folks come over. We notice everyone is quite drunk… or something. Some are people we are acquainted with, others are not. They are all in various states of zombie like condition. This is unusual for this time of the month. Something out of the ordinary is going on but we’re not gonna ask what.

Fortunately, with the exception of one young couple, no one is acting aggressive or angry. People are just stumbling around waiting for the hot dogs to finish cooking. When they’re cooked, everybody eats. They are grateful and they say so.

The young couple is having an argument that carries up and down the hill. Apparently she is throwing him out of the house and he’s calling on his phone trying to find somewhere else to stay. They’re not interested in hot dogs.

One of the women from the pair of twin sisters who are long time homeless people arrives. She tells us about a homeless conference in Rochester. She has just returned this conference and seems decidedly pleased. She speaks to a woman sitting in the circle saying, “The main homeless outreach worker has been looking for you. She very worried about how you are doing”.

The conference goer gets some coffee and says to the Occupiers, “You know I work for CHUM now?” We congratulate her.

A middle class appearing man walks up and says, “I have some pizza left if anybody wants it”. We accept his gift and thank him. No one is particularly hungry any longer; but we know he meant well and the pizza is from one of the top of the line pizza places.

The other half of the twin sister duo arrives with her daughter and grandchildren. She gets her coffee and asks how things are going. An Occupier quietly tells her, “The only person I’ve seen all night who wasn’t messed up on something was your sister”.
People are wandering off but the older Native man remains. He stares into the fire.

An Occupier reminds every one of the Idle No More meeting on Friday. She also reports that a free stove has been found for the Duluth Indian Center. Several other Occupiers discuss plans for picking it up in the morning.

The Occupiers discuss their impressions of the Jefferson People’s House. We know we need to find a suitable place to hold our meetings during the worst of the winter months. We also know that JPH allows groups to hold meetings in their space.

An Occupier says, “I’ll stop by there soon and ask about their normal business hours and such”.

We discuss the fact that tomorrow night we have 2 events we need to attend. Our friend the government official is having his monthly Equity In Hiring meeting at the CHCC at 6pm. Another friend and organizer is holding an event about mercury pollution in the St Louis river at Clyde Iron. This event is also at 6pm. We decide to split up with some going to one meeting and others going to the other.

An Occupier reports Idle No More has been given permission to visit the Penokee Harvest Camp on October 13th. Of course we have been invited to go along. We say laughingly, “The fact that we’ve been there before and know the way might have something to do with the invite”.

Another friend from INM is planning to attend the “Not Your Mascot” event on November 2nd in the Twin Cities. He’s looking for others to go with him.

The Native man looks up from the fire and says, “Can I tell you a story?” We say sure and he begins.

“I’m from LacCourte Orielles Tribe. When I was about 12 years old they built a dam and flooded our entire land. They didn’t even ask, they just did it. We lost our homes, the graveyard was flooded too and bodies were floating in the water. This was in the time of AIM. Do you know what AIM was?”

We nod yes. one of the older Occupiers was acquainted with folks from AIM.

The man of LacCourte Orielles Tribe went on, “My dad was a demolition expert. He knew how to blow up the dam. Some guys from AIM came to him and asked him to blow up the dam. My dad asked me and my brother if he should do it. “My brother said yes and I said no. My dad decided not to do it. He knew some innocent white people would be killed”.

Our friend the infamous street woman arrives. A man is following her and trying to argue with her. She sits with us and tells us she expects to get housing at the beginning of next month.

She looks good. Her skin and eyes are clear. The man stomps off. She says, “I’m under so much stress but I think I’m going to make it”. We offer words of encouragement.

The clock strikes 9:15pm and the fire is down to coals. Time to pack up. The older Native man would like us to stay. It seems he hasn’t had a chance for serious conversation in a while.

We tell him we’ll be back on Saturday and invite him to join us. We drive off as the night shift arrives.

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G.A. Minutes 9-2-14

G.A. Minutes 9-2-14
It’s been a pleasant day with temps in the 70s and a moderate breeze. We’re expecting the same for this evening however the sky is covered with angry black clouds as we arrive at the CJM Memorial.
We stand watching overhead to decide if we should set up or run for cover. The clouds are moving really fast and off in the distance we can see they are being followed by blue sky and sunshine.
An Occupier says, “You know, it’s moving so fast I think everything is going to pass right over us. We should just set up”. So that’s what we do.
As we are setting up another Occupier comments, “I just saw the infamous street woman up the hill as I was driving down. She looked like she had been drinking”. “Oh crap!” says one other Occupier. The infamous woman had been talking about wanting to get into treatment last spring and into the summer but was unable to find an opening. After that we didn’t see her at all for over a month and had hoped she had gone off for long term alcohol abuse care. The first Occupier responds, “At least she appeared to be happy instead of angry like she usually gets when she’s drunk”.
Over the years we have developed affection and concern for some of the regular street folks.
Many regulars are here tonight. They begin arriving as they see us enter the space. Among them are the developmentally disabled man, the older Ho Chunk man, the mature, very pretty Native woman who tells great stories, the young Native guy who thinks he’s a gangster, the angry, aggressive but strangely religious African American man, the heavy set woman of mixed ethnicity and the kind hearted middle aged African American man who watches out for everyone on the street.
The Native man on crutches who we met a few weeks ago is also waiting and tonight he has brought a friend.
As the Occupiers are bustling about the man on crutches begins to start the fire. The Occupier who is a fire making wizard is the person who always makes the fire so another Occupier signals to him with her eyes. He whispers, “Just wait a while. It looks like he’s going to be able to get it started”. It does take a while but the man on crutches finally gets a fire going.
An Occupier has brought a large amount of hot dogs, buns, ketchup and mustard. We put a grill across the fire and he begins to cook them. Everyone around the fire has one and quickly word spreads up and down the street. Soon there are at least 30 people standing around looking hopeful. The Occupier says, “Anyone who wants a hotdog come and get 1. We have enough”. We do, many people have a 2nd helping.
When the food is gone, many of the folks wander back down the street or to the back ledge. All the chairs around the fire are full; people sit and chat about many things. The heavy set woman talks about her permanently injured foot, the angry man tells about a talk he had with some potential developers concerning planned renovation of the Old Kozy and the man on crutches, his friend and some of the Occupiers talk about planning for the 7th generation and the meaning of life.
When there is a lull in the conversation, an Occupier reports that her computer has eaten the minutes from the last meeting. She says, “I can see the file sitting there but the program won’t let me open it. It says it’s corrupted. I even talked with our friend the major computer expert but he couldn’t open it either. I must have saved it wrong. Sorry”. Nobody particularly cares. We don’t know if anybody ever even reads the minutes.
Another Occupier says, “Our friend from Water Legacy asks if we will help him petition again. This time it will be on Saturday at Bayfront during the Bridge Fest.” Everyone agrees we should help him again. We talk about the pleasant time we had helping him last Saturday at Pride Fest.
Still another Occupier tells about her trip with a member of Idle No More to an all-day meeting with some Anishinaabe elders on the FDL rez. At the last INM meeting the people discussed some problems they had been having with getting their projects off the ground. They decided it was advisable to confer with the elders about what they should do. The Occupier and an INM member from Duluth drove out to the FDL rez, met up with some INM members who live out there and they all spent a day listening to the wisdom of Mary and Leonard Moose, 2 elders in their 80s. The Occupier says, “It was a very enlightening experience. I couldn’t possibly explain everything tonight but I’ll tell you about it when we have more time”.
Someone mentions a book, “Capital” by Thomas Piketty that seems to be all the rage right now. Several Occupiers are currently reading it and finding it to be rather dry. A discussion begins about the stupidity of the whole concept of money and the incredulousness of an entire world that follows the dictates of a system of exchange of goods and services that isn’t real.
The fire is winding down and the sky has been dark for a while. We are thinking of calling it a night when our friend the grey haired woman appears. We are always pleased to see her so decide to stay a while longer.
She is happy to find us here as she can never remember what the days are that we meet here. If she did remember, it wouldn’t matter as she can never remember what day it is anyway.
She tells us she’s been hanging out at CJM every night and making new friends. She says she’s still trying to find out where she fits in. We know she has lived in Duluth for at least 4 years but has always continued to believe she just arrived about 6 months ago.
She says, “It’s really rowdy and there are lots of fights except on the nights that you guys are here”. We have been told this by others too.
The grey haired woman spent most of her life living in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the Occupiers also lived in the same area for many years. Each time they meet they spend time reminiscing about their time there.
The grey haired woman suggests an Occupy Exchange be created. Various Occupy groups could then exchange locations from time to time. The Occupiers think this is a marvelous idea. They fantasize on the concept for a bit.
Now it’s really time to go. It seems the street folks sitting around the fire wish we would stay longer however; we all have things we have to do tomorrow.
We invite everyone to attend the Bridge Fest. on Saturday and tell them we will be back at CJM next Tuesday.

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G.A. Minutes 8-23-14

G.A. Minutes 8-23-14

It seems like the whole town is partying today. There are so many events going on that it’s not possible to name them all. It can’t be because these are the last days of summer. Oh no, we didn’t get actual summer weather until July this year. We are still owed at least 1 more month of heat and we plan to collect.

As we arrive at CJM we see the street is blocked off at the intersection just past the Memorial space. We remember that our friend, who has recently opened a club up the street, is having an anniversary celebration tonight. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty big doings.

It’s a bit chilly tonight with a gusty east wind. We’ll get the fire going right away.
There are people on the back ledge and some of them help us unload and set up. The snacks are out and folks are lining up for a cup of good hot coffee.

A friend who is a well-known and longtime local anarchist, peace activist and Occupy supporter rides up on his bike. He’s in his late 60s and was in a serious bicycle accident about a year ago. Most would have been crippled for life under those circumstances but not our friend. Because he was in such excellent physical condition when he had the accident, he’s back riding his bike again.

Another friend, a well-known community activist, artist and all around “gypsy woman” also joins us. She’s going to the party but felt like spending some time with us beforehand. She tells us the street is blocked off because there is a cover charge to get in to buy drinks and watch the bands.

The bands will be playing in the street so everyone will be able to hear them. Most of the neighborhood people are strictly the BYOB type so drinks won’t be much of a problem either.

The club owner is a pretty good guy so that makes us think that perhaps his logistics are a way of allowing his regular patrons to party without the street people while still allowing street people to enjoy the party also. It will be interesting to see how things work out.

The music is starting. It’s loud but it sounds good. We can’t even hear the person sitting next to us talk so we just sit back and listen to the good rock sounds.

Some of the people on the ledge are dancing on the corner but no one appears to be particularly thrilled by what they are hearing. Slowly they all drift away. Most grab a cup of coffee and a cookie as they go.

When the band stops, some Occupiers tell us about the 25th Anniversary Party of Loaves N Fishes that they attended earlier. The street down by the LNF houses was blocked off and there was a ton of delicious, healthy potluck. Several bands, a Maypole dance, face painting, baked goods sale, even 2 gorgeous horses were among the many things going on at the celebration.

The Gypsy Woman tells us about the City’s plan to cut down all the fantastic 100 year old trees that line our 4th St neighborhood corridor from 6th Ave E to about 14th Ave E. What?!?

We had heard a rumor about this plan but didn’t believe that the City would dare to do something so foolhardy. Apparently, we were wrong. Gypsy woman says, “Apparently it’s a done deal. It doesn’t matter what protests or meetings are held, they’re already set up to do it. They say they have to widen the street to fix sewer lines or something. They say they will plant new trees when they’re done.
We all groan. We’ll have to see what we can find out. As if our plates weren’t full enough already.

The music is getting ready to start up again. The Anarchist has to take off as darkness is falling and he has no lights on his bike. Gypsy Woman goes off to the party. A few street people, who don’t need to talk all the time, remain sitting with us.

The next band is exceptionally good. When they are finished we begin a conversation about the goings on in Ferguson, Missouri. We attempt to imagine what it must be like to live under the constant pressure of racism. Although we can’t really imagine we do empathize.

An Occupier states, “I was reading an article the other day that said we have to really hang on to the Ferguson event and not let up. Ferguson could be the spark that ignites a nationwide civil rights movement. The article said that we can’t let Michael Brown’s murder be just another flash in the pan like Trayvon Martin and all the countless multitudes of young black men who have been murdered in this country because of racism”.

Our friend, the retired man from the neighborhood, passes by and stops to talk with 1 of the Occupiers. As has been his custom for years, when he leaves he gives us a generous monetary donation. This contribution will help us to purchase a new load of firewood.

As the next band prepares to take the stage, an Occupier comments, “When I remembered our friend’s celebration I figured we’d have a pretty quiet G.A. with mostly just us. I forgot about the part where we wouldn’t be able to hear each other talk”. We all laugh.

A street man who had been sitting with us returns to our circle. He had tried to sneak in the front entrance to the party but 2 members of the DPD were guarding the entrance. He then tried to sneak in through the side entrance but no luck there either. “Oh well” he says, “I can hear the music just fine from here and I can get a six pack of beer down the street for 4 bucks so I can drink too”. He settles down with us to listen.

The older woman from Mississippi has been listening and lightly dancing on the corner for a while. When we met her years ago, she was very humble, soft spoken and overly polite. Her manner of dress was that of a country churchgoing woman. For the last several months we notice she has taken to wearing a lot of makeup, tight and revealing clothing and standing alone on the corner late into the night.

We don’t know what is going on with her and we’re not gonna ask but she sure has taken us by surprise.
The fire is dying and an Occupier makes movements like he is preparing to pack up. Another Occupier says, “Just 1 more small log? It’s really nice out here with the fire and the music is good”. The other Occupiers agree and so 1 more small log it is.

When the log is finished, 1 other Occupier says, “I wish we could stay. Charlie Parr is just about to come on”. Unfortunately, the Occupiers who carry most of the G.A. supplies in their vehicles have an early appointment tomorrow so must leave. They say, “Well you guys can still stay. Everyone in the neighborhood knows you. Just set yourself down on the back ledge and listen to Charlie”.

As one of the departing Occupiers goes toward her vehicle, Charlie Parr begins his sweet soul, back porch, foot stomping, strumming and singing.

The Occupier says to Mississippi Woman, “There you go. Now you got you some REAL music”. Mississippi Woman laughs and nods in agreement.

See you all next Tuesday.

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