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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G.A. Minutes 8-16-14

G.A. Minutes 8-16-14

The sun is shining and it looks like a typical warm summer day. However a pretty strong east wind is cooling things down considerably. Of course, we’re at CJM again. We set things up quickly and start the fire right away. No one is dressed for cool weather; the fire will allow folks to sit comfortably.

A few street people are actually waiting for us. They seem in need of refuge tonight. The formerly homeless Native artist who we have known and respected for years stops by. He’s on his way to do something and says he’ll be back to join us soon.

A Native woman who appears to have been waiting for us comes to sit. She appears to be upset but doesn’t say much. Although we’ve met her occasionally, we don’t really know her.

Something is going on back on the ledge. We hear a loud conversation between an infamous Native street man who uses a wheel chair, a large, mannish, well known Native street woman and a young woman whose face is familiar to us. Several African American men are also on the ledge. They do not appear to be at all connected to the loud conversation.

The young woman is chastising the man in the wheel chair. She tells him it is never o.k. for a man to hit a woman. The young woman walks over to the Native woman sitting in our circle and says, “So what happened?” The sitting woman says, “He hit her in the head with a board. I think she has brain damage”. The young woman goes back to the ledge and continues chastising the man. The large Native woman takes out her cell phone and makes a call. As she does this, the young woman heads up the hill alone and in a hurry.

Soon we see our Native artist friend arrive. He questions everyone involved, takes the young woman’s purse off the back of the wheel chair and heads up the hill. Sadly, we realize he probably won’t be coming back to sit with us tonight.

As all this has been going on, we’ve been involved in our own conversation; keeping an eye on the ledge goings on at the same time.

We’ve been postulating the theory that the 1% are planning on leaving the planet and moving to Mars or some other planet. This is why they don’t care what happens to our planet or the rest of humanity. They figure they won’t be here when the planet becomes toast.

An Occupier is attempting to figure out how many people can fit in a space capsule and how many space capsules it will take to get the whole lot of them to their new homes. Others are telling about the latest scientific things they have heard about other possibly habitable planets in the universe.

The Occupier says, “I think they have a problem. At current speeds it will take them 36,000 years to get to the nearest planet”.

Another Occupier responds, “They’re not gonna be able to take the whole 1%. Each space capsule only holds about 7 people”.

Still another states, “The 1% is so dumb. Sooner or later they’re all gonna die. They’ll certainly be leaving the planet then. I guess they haven’t thought of that”.

We’ve really just been killing time until the police arrive. Then……. THEY’RE HERE…… A squad pulls up, a cop gets out and the large Native woman waves him over. Another squad rolls up and another cop gets out.

They bring the woman over closer to us and we can hear her telling them, “She had a knife behind her back and she started to pull it out and said she was gonna stab me. She’s wearing a grey sweatshirt and blues jeans. She went up the hill. I don’t know her name”. The Native woman is obviously very drunk.

The cops don’t seem to care. They’re just smiling and writing down stuff. Maybe it’s because the woman is pretty well known around here for this type of drama. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to look bad in front of us. That white privilege thing you know. Whatever.

The officers come over to us and ask us if we know what happened. An Occupier says, “Not exactly, we were just observing from here but all that stuff about a knife is definitely not true”. One cop says, “Yeah we figured that”. They get back in their cars and drive away.

The Memorial is empty. During the lull we have our meeting. An Occupier reports our supply of wood is running low. She asks permission to take the rest of the money in our treasury and buy more wood. Everyone agrees this would be o.k. to do.

Several Occupiers report on the Equity In Hiring and the Human Rights Commission meeting they have attended. One has concerns that the EIH group may be about to be taken over by NGO hustlers. The other says she’s impressed by what she’s hearing at the HRC these days.

The people who were on the back ledge are back and they’ve brought friends. The back ledge is really crowded and it appears some of the people are smoking something. It’s probably synthetic. We hear some mild arguing between some of the Native people and some of the African American men.

A small older African American says, “Hey, give the m’f’er some, give him some!” They give some to a young Native man in a red shirt. The red shirted man makes loud, sucking noises and the small man says, “Hey, give it back. Give it back!”

Within less than a minute, the red shirted man is lying flat on his side on the ground behind the ledge and the small man is on his knees, hanging onto the fence and talking gibberish. The small man’s friends are almost falling over with laughter.

Back at our fire circle we continue to talk while keeping an eye on things. We especially are watching the red shirted man as he doesn’t appear to be moving at all and his friends aren’t paying any attention to him. A developmentally disabled man, who lives in the neighborhood, joins us. Many people are coming up to get snacks the quickly leaving. It appears no one wants to be involved with what is going on at the back ledge.

Eventually both men attempt to sit up and their friends assist them as they sit very shakily on the ledge. Both of them talk in some unintelligible language. The red shirted man staggers off and the large Native woman slides up next to the small older African American man. She begins to threaten him, shoving him, closing her fists and acting as though she will punch him.

His friend says, “If she’s gonna come at you like a man you should come back at her like she was a man”.

The small man mumbles something that sounds like, “Nah, I can’t do that”. The woman’s friends all leave. They appear disgusted with her. One young man who is generally pretty rowdy looks at us and smiles, then looks back at her and shakes his head.

The woman continues to harass the man until suddenly….Wham! He throws her to the ground and holds her by the wrists. She gives up quickly. He lets her up, she takes out her phone, starts talking and staggers off.

We notice it’s after 9pm and completely dark. We figure that’s enough for one night so we pack up. We make plans to be here again on Tuesday but we know it might rain. If it does, we’ll go to the Occupier couple’s house to make new signs for the Idle No More NdN taco sale later in the month.

As the last Occupier is getting into her car, she sees the Memorial is empty except for the small man. He is standing unsteadily on the sidewalk. She says, “Hey man, you better split. If the cops come they will surely take you in because you look really f’d up”.

He says, “Yeah, I’m going home. Thank you.”

Just as she starts up her engine, 2 squads come around the corner. They scope out CJM but it’s empty. They slowly cruise down the street, looking to see what they can see. The Occupier follows them at a distance for a block or so. She doesn’t see the small man anywhere and hopes he is safely out of sight.

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G.A. Minutes 8-12-14

G.A. Minutes 8-12-14

It’s been hot with no wind all day. As we arrive at CJM the temperature is still around 85 degrees. We expect to be somewhat uncomfortable during the first hour or so of our meeting but we’re in luck.

The days are getting shorter and the sun lower so a large part of the Memorial space is shaded and there is a gentle breeze blowing throughout. Sweet. The place is empty except for one woman sitting in the shade on the back ledge.

As soon as the chairs are set up she comes over to join us. She says, “Boy is it ever hot! I’m completely exhausted and all I’ve been doing today is trying to cope with the heat”.

She’s carrying a big paper bag which she tells us contains food. “Can I trade some of my food for a cigarette?” she asks.
We give her a smoke and explain that she can just have it; we don’t need to take her food.

The woman makes small talk as she smokes and then she leaves. After she is gone we notice she left her paper bag sitting under the table.

The street is fairly empty. The people who do walk by are traveling solo or in pairs. Most are trying to figure out where their friends have gone.

A street man who has visited with us in the past comes over to say hello. He too asks for a cigarette.

An Occupier remarks, “We have a pack of community cigarettes tonight. A friend left them in my car and said to just go ahead and give them away”.

The man responds, “Does that mean I can have more than one?”

The Occupier replies, “Take as many as you like”.

The man scoops up five or six and says, “This is great! I’m going to go up the hill and give a cigarette to each one of the brothers”. Off he goes.

An old man who we see almost every time we meet at CJM comes to talk to us. He is the minister of the storefront church a few doors down. He tells us he has some baked goods and asks if we will take them. We tell him of course we will. He leaves and returns with a tray of assorted muffins which we put out on the table.

The minister then says, “I really appreciate you folks being here and appreciate the things you do”. We thank him.

After he leaves an Occupier confides, “What a surprise! All this time I thought he didn’t care much for us”.

One Occupier reports that our friend, the main organizer for Water Legacy, is asking if we will help them with petitioning at the annual Pride Fest on Saturday, August 30th. Most of the Occupiers want to do this.

The same Occupier also reminds us that Loaves N Fishes will be having their 25th Annual Block Party on Saturday, August 23rd from 3pm-7pm. She suggests, “We could all meet up there and ride back up the hill for our G.A.”. Everyone thinks this is a good idea.

We are also reminded that the next Idle No More meeting will be this upcoming Friday at 1pm. We’ll be meeting at the new office which two of our Native organizer friends have just opened at 320 E 2nd St.

A woman from the street who we have known for years comes to sit with us. She begins with her usual rant about the unfairness of the black people having the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial when there is not a memorial in the city for Native people.

However, tonight she is less angry, more accepting. She says, “Maybe it’s because white people are afraid of us. We’re a very strong people you know”. Then she tells us a story.

She begins, “When I was a little girl living on the rez, there was one crow that could talk the same way that people talk, the same way we are talking now. There was only this one crow that could do that.

“One day me and my sisters were playing and we started throwing rocks and sticks at that crow. When we got bored of doing that we went and swung on the swings that we had.

“While I was swinging that crow flew down and bit me on my face. I was bleeding and crying and when I got home the grownups got a gun to go shoot the crow.

“Me and my sisters were crying and saying to don’t shoot the crow because it was our fault for throwing rocks at it. But they shot the crow anyway. That was the only crow that could talk like people do”.

As she is finishing her story a man calls to her from across the street. As she leaves, she says, “When I come back I’ll tell you another story”.

Our friend the city official comes walking up the street. One of the Occupiers has edited some documents for our friend and the two of them discuss a new project. When he leaves he says, “Thank you for being here”.

We feel a few raindrops and as we look at the sky, we see a big black cloud coming over. We sit and let the light rain fall on us. When the rain stops we see a big double rainbow over the back of CJM. Lovely.

Folks are stopping by now. They’re getting lemonade and coffee and going about their business. We decide it has cooled off enough to light the fire.

A man with a prosthetic leg sits down. We offer him a beverage and some baked goods. He eats heartily and says, “This is the first thing I’ve had to eat all day”. When he gets up to leave we give him more baked goods to take with him.

As he walks off, the second wave of rain showers down on us. It’s not enough to put the fire out. When it stops, the hungry man returns and we gladly supply him with more food.

Another street friend, the grey haired woman appears. We’re glad she still remembers where to find us. We haven’t seen her in several months so have things to catch up on.

As we are chatting with her a third batch of rain clouds cross over us. These clouds carry more rain than the previous two. One Occupier says to another, “So are you timing them?”

“Yup” says the other Occupier, “They’re coming about every fifteen minutes”.

Now we’re all fairly wet. An Occupier says, “I think by now we’ve proven to the neighborhood we’re just as crazy as they are”.

As we begin packing up someone notices the big paper bag that had been left under the table. She opens it and finds a large container of fresh fried rice and egg rolls.

We offer it to our friend the grey haired woman and she is delighted. It means she won’t have to go and stand in line at the feeding center tomorrow.

We’re just about packed up when the fourth band of showers passes over. It’s fairly strong but still not enough to put out the fire. We have to do that ourselves.

We say our rather wet goodbyes and plan to be back here on Saturday.

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G.A. Minutes 8-5-14

G.A. Minutes 8-5-14

Well, we were rained out last Tuesday and we attended the FDL Pow Wow on Saturday so again we haven’t been to CJM for an entire week. Tonight is the annual National Night Out throughout the city. We stop at the Chum Center to share in their yearly feed and then we head over to the Memorial.

It’s a warm evening, even though it’s after 7pm the temps are still in the 70s. A slight east wind gives needed comfort.
A Native man on crutches approaches as we are setting things up. He politely asks what we are doing. We just say we’re going to sit around and talk for a while.

We generally don’t identify ourselves as Occupiers when meeting new people of the street. Most have never heard of Occupy so we don’t like to lay a lot of political analysis on their heads upon our first time meeting them. Life on the street is basically about day to day survival. Folks don’t discuss deep issues until they feel comfortable.

The man sees our sage bundle burning, sits down and requests to smudge. He tells us he is a Dakota warrior.

It’s common for people who don’t know us to assume we are a group of Christians holding a prayer session or something. The man begins to speak about his deep faith in Jesus. He and the Occupier who likes to talk about the Bible get into a conversation.
Many more people arrive; most are familiar faces. We go to our truck and get more chairs.

Groups of 2 or 3 begin conversations. A regular street man who is generally angry and aggressive is debating the use of the N word with the drummer from Senegal. The Native man on crutches, the Occupier and another young Native man are debating the differences and similarities between Christianity and traditional Anishinaabe belief. A woman who has acquired extensive sunburn and an Occupier converse about natural healing. The many people on the back ledge are making a lot of noise about something.

An Occupier whispers, “I think we should light the fire. People need to focus”. We start up the fire, everyone in the circle turns toward it and a group conversation begins.

The Native man with crutches and the man from Senegal remark upon the sacredness of the Memorial space. An Occupier reminds everyone about the 2 commemoration ceremonies to be held this week concerning the World War ll nuclear bombing of Japan. One will be held on Wednesday at Enger Tower and the other on Saturday at the Veteran’s Memorial on the Lakewalk.

The Native man on crutches begins to cry. “I really miss my younger brother” he says. We ask about his brother and he tells us his brother was drunk driving and was killed in a car accident. Everyone offers words of comfort, except the angry aggressive man who says that men should not cry. Everybody else in the circle disagrees with this and a conversation begins concerning all the reasons it’s o.k. for a man to cry.
More street people arrive; we have run out of chairs. Some remain standing and others go back with the rowdy folks on the back ledge.

An Occupier reports she attended the mayor’s town hall meeting yesterday. The town hall was set up in place of the August and September last Tuesday of the month open office hours. She says the mayor came all prepared to defend himself regarding his perceived lack of action on homeless and equity issues, however the meeting was sparsely attended. The audience consisted of herself, 2 local environmental organizers, the City Human Rights Officer, a well-meaning middle class community organizer and about 10 or 15 of the mayor’s friends and supporters.

The Occupier continues, “They talked a lot about new bike trails and eventually he admitted the City has plans to ‘revitalize’ East 1st Street. He said the plan was to build moderate income apartment buildings for young professionals. When I asked him what he planned to do with all the people who already live here, he didn’t seem to be aware that any people did already live here. His aides coached him about the Skinner Apartments and others and then he assured me that none of the current residents will be displaced. I guess he thought I was gonna believe him”. We all laugh.

“When he said the heart of the plan consisted of purchasing the old Kozy and various other decrepit properties owned by Dr. R, (the owner of our previous homeless camp) getting various types of tax credits and turning everything into apartments for up and coming youth I thought, if you think Dr. R will comply with government regulations or sell you his buildings for the low price they’re actually worth, you are seriously nuts! There were lots of cameras there so I didn’t say it. I can’t afford to be sued for slander”. We laugh some more.

We can see the street folks are in a talkative mood tonight and it is National Night Out so we decide to just let things roll.
A conversation about legalizing marijuana gets going. Everyone supports the idea however, one Occupier has reservations concerning the potential for addiction and driving under the influence. It seems he’s had bad experiences within his family.

The sunburned woman tells a story about her ex-husband kidnapping, beating and molesting her 3 children. Her children are safe now but much traumatized. She is also traumatized. We offer our condolences.

An Occupier gives a questioning look to another Occupier and she responds by whispering, “Just wait until the big clock chimes one more time and then we’ll pack up”. We know we are cutting it close time wise but we also know that the people seldom get these types of safe circles in which to express themselves.

The big clock chimes 9:30 pm. We begin packing up. One Occupier agrees to drive the badly sunburned woman to her home. Another will bring a drunken older woman from the back ledge to her daughter’s home a few blocks away. We had initially resolved not to drive the street people places so as not to create expectations. As time goes on, we find we are breaking that resolution more and more.

On Saturday some of us will be attending the annual Bayfront Blues Festival. We plan to be back on Tuesday.

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G.A. Minutes 7-26-14

G.A. Minutes 7-26-14

It’s kinda hot and humid upon our arrival at CJM this evening. We are greeted by the sound of a woman and a man screaming insults at each other from the back ledge. People are hanging out in small groups scattered around the Memorial site and the street.
A middle aged man from a group at the site says to the man who is yelling, “Shut up! Don’t talk like that around here”. The loud man doesn’t want to shut up and he argues. The middle aged man doesn’t back down. Eventually the loud man walks off in a huff.

We think Oh great. It’s going to be another night where folks are crabby because they can’t handle the heat.

It turns out the man and woman are shirttail relatives. The man was making sexual advances and touching the woman quite inappropriately. The woman had to get loud, scream and call attention to the situation in order to defend herself. The man then denied he had done the things he was accused of. Yelling and making a big scene is about the only form of self-defense available to the weaker folks of the street.

There are only a few Occupiers present as we set up our chairs and such. It’s another night where we’ll wait to start the fire until the weather and the inhabitants cool down.

One of the Occupiers is feeling sad and angry. His neighbor, a badly traumatized, alcoholic, Vietnam vet was found dead in his apartment earlier in the day. We emphasize and allow the Occupier to vent.

“It’s not right!” he says, “The guy was drafted into the army and forced to risk his life and endure horrible things. When he came back badly damaged, nobody cared. The government wouldn’t help him and his family rejected him”.

A couple of the Occupiers are old enough to have clear memories of the Vietnam War. They reminisce about the way the soldiers who made it out alive were treated when they returned.

We’ve been having some trouble with our website and Facebook page lately and we discuss the problems. An Occupier who is computer savvy offers to attempt to fix things after our meeting is over.

People have been coming to get their drinks but not stopping. Everyone is on the constant move. Then a gentle cool breeze arrives and gray clouds cover the sky. The street folks settle down. Sounds of laughing and joking are heard. Is it going to rain? Who knows? We light the fire.

The thin older woman who had joined us at our meeting returns. We welcome her. She is capable of following and joining the conversation.

An Occupier asks us what type of society we think would be best to put in place when our current system fails. He remarks he can see the attitude of the general populace changing.

The thin woman says, “That’s right. Everyone used to think if they worked hard enough they would get rich. Now we know that’s not true. It doesn’t matter though because there are lots of things more important than wealth”.

An Occupier who has been doing other things arrives. He’s been working on organic farming and other important things. He tells us he’s interested in coming to work with us again and we catch him up on the current goings on. We invite him to come with us on Tuesday to the next NWA meeting and to attend the mayor’s open office that same evening.

It’s completely dark now and the street lights are on. We should pack up but we don’t want to. The night air feels wonderful.

However, Mother Nature has other plans for us. She sends down a soft but steady rain. So much for the fire, smudge pot and paper cups. We laugh as we pack up.

With meetings next Tuesday and the FDL Pow Wow on Saturday, we won’t be back for an entire week. We trust the people of the street will keep things in order until then.

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G.A. Minutes 7-22-14

G.A. Minutes 7-22-14
Weather wise it’s another one of those near perfect evenings. The 1st Occupier rolls up to the CJM Memorial, sets her chair down and checks out the scene. She’s a lone woman sitting in a fairly dangerous area of the city however, she is unconcerned. The street folks are used to the presence of the Occupiers; some of them appear to like us.

The 1st Occupier notices there are many people on the street. Most of them are talking loudly and appear to be somewhat angry. A regular street woman, well known to the Occupiers is walking across the Memorial grounds. She appears quite intoxicated and unhappy. She doesn’t recognize the Occupier. The Occupier says to herself, “It looks like everyone is going to be crabby tonight. They’re probably out of sorts from having nowhere to go to escape the afternoon heat”.

A regular street man who is possibly developmentally disabled sits down. He says, “I have to sell the air conditioner that my daughter gave me. My landlord says we can’t have air conditioners in our apartments”.

The 1st Occupier asks, “Does your landlord pay for your utilities?” The man says yes and the Occupiers responds, “He probably doesn’t want to pay for the increase in electricity. Air conditioners take a lot of it. I guess he doesn’t care if his tenants get over heated”.

A couple more Occupiers arrive, the man leaves to go to his nightly AA meeting, everybody scurries to set up the beverage table etc. The fire pit is set up but not lit. People come up to get beverages, a few to smudge. Everyone is polite but no one is staying or even talking much. As additional Occupiers appear and get settled, a discussion begins.

The FDL Sobriety Pow Wow out at Mash Ka Wisen will take place August 1st thru August 3rd. The Northwoods Wolf Alliance has invited us to assist them with tabling on that Saturday and we all agree we would like to be there.

The next Idle No More NdN Taco Sale will be held this upcoming Friday. We have already promised to help out.

It looks like Tuesday, July 29th will be a busy day for us. We have the INM meeting at noon and then will attend the mayor’s open office hours at 5pm.

A very thin older woman we have seen in the CJM space for quite a while comes to sit with us. This is the 1st time she has joined us. An Occupier says. “So what shall we talk about when we go to visit the mayor?”

Another answers, “We’ve already agreed we will talk about homeless and housing issues. I’m wondering if we should also bring up the topic of his support for Enbridge”.

The thin woman knows what Tar Sands oil is and listens as we explain the Enbridge plan to double the amount of Tar Sands they are currently pumping thru their already old pipeline and then to ship this dangerous material across Lake Superior on barges. “

What!” the thin woman exclaims, “I’ve never heard about any of this. Don’t they know people need clean water to drink?”

As we are talking we hear a big thump. We look to see one fairly large woman lying on top of another fairly large woman. Only a minute ago they had been talking in a small group on the back ledge. We wait to see what will happen next.

The woman on the bottom screams, “Let me up!”

The woman on top says, “I’m only holding you down”.

A man walks over and says a few words. The women disengage and the top woman walks off. The bottom woman walks across the space rubbing her forehead. She asks the folks on the back ledge, “Am I bleeding?”

They assure she is not bleeding. She walks off in the opposite direction. It is obvious her pride has been injured. The thin woman gets up, walks to the sidewalk and yells down the street, “Is everybody stupid tonight?”

Ms. Slender lady returns. She says, “I don’t drink or take drugs. I just try to take care of these people and give them the help they need. Some of them are really crazy”.

An Occupier says, “Maybe now would be a good time to light the fire. It might serve as a diversion”. It does.

The Memorial empties of all the people who were sitting around and they are quickly replaced with several groups of African American men. A few come over to get cold lemonade. They are cordial but obviously preoccupied with whatever they have going on.

Our old friend, a retired political man from the neighborhood appears. We haven’t seen him in at least a year. He appears incredulous that we are still meeting here, still doing what we have been doing for the last 3 years.

An Occupier reports on what he observed at the first meeting held by our friend the City official. The meeting was the 1st in a series of meetings to be held about the lack of hiring of Duluth people of color for City sponsored projects. Many so called big shots attended the 1stmeeting. There were wealthy businessmen, union leaders, government officials and NGO professionals.

The Occupier reports that these people basically said they were doing the best they could and didn’t plan to do anymore. The Occupiers hope we will be able to attend the next meeting.

Duluth does not have any official standards concerning the hiring of P.O.C. We don’t expect the so called big shots will return so may be able to help plan some actual strategy to get more folks hired.

A few of the Occupiers need to leave early tonight so we decide to pack up early too. The thin woman asks, “When will you be back again?” We tell her we’ll be back on Saturday.

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G.A. Minutes 7-15-14

G.A. Minutes 7-15-14

We have been absent from the CJM Memorial for an entire week. We were seriously rained out last Tuesday and on Saturday we attended the FDL Veterans Pow Wow.

There’s no rain tonight as we arrive and no rain is expected. It’s one of those rare perfect evenings we long for during the rest of the year. Small scattered clouds, temps in the mid 70s and a gentle breeze create a tranquil atmosphere. For us anyway, most of the street folks have so many problems they rarely experience any type of serenity.

The first couple of Occupiers think they’ll just sit a while and enjoy the air. No such luck. The rest of the group arrives and we quickly set up the circle. We set up the fire also but we don’t light it. We’ll know when the time is right.

The street is pretty much empty of its regular inhabitants. There are quite a few people coming and going from the casino and a lot of vehicle traffic on the road.

An Occupier asks, “Does anyone know what went on with Israel and Palestine today?” Another answers, “Yeah, they had a seize fire for a couple of hours, then Hamas shot off a couple of rockets and Israel responded by starting up the bombardment again”. An additional Occupier says, “The Israeli government just doesn’t get it. Palestinians are never going to accept living the way they are being forced to live. They aren’t going to accept more of their land being stolen. The Israelis treat Palestinians just like the Nazis treated them.” We sadly shake our heads in agreement.

An Occupier reports the Respect Your Mother Earth Festival will be held this upcoming weekend on the outskirts of Duluth. She asks if we would like to get our vehicles together and go there on Saturday. She suggests maybe we could contact the Northwoods Wolf Alliance and see if they would like us to table for them. Another says, “I think that would be a good venue for NWA”. Everyone agrees; going to Respect Your Mother Earth is a good idea.

One of the Occupiers tells a story about his developmentally disabled sister. She has a job working in a thrift store where she is paid only 50 cents an hour. “Isn’t that against the law?” he asks.

“Actually it’s not”, says another. “I don’t know what the law exactly says but I know they have an entire industry here in Duluth. They force most disabled people to work in order to receive a pittance of financial aid. I had a client once who had cerebral palsy, was D.D. and in a wheelchair. He was forced to work 40 hours a week stuffing envelopes. I think he was paid $1.00 an hour. One day he said to me, ‘I don’t like having to work this much. It seems like I hardly have a life and I’m always tired’. I didn’t tell him about the capitalist system but I told him that everybody feels that way”.

Someone else says, “Oh yeah, the 1% has to make sure everyone is working all the time. If you have time to enjoy yourself then you’re slacking. If there are no jobs and you have to apply for government assistance they’ll put you to work first in order to get your benefits. If you ineligible for benefits they put you in jail”.

An additional Occupier arrives. He has just come from a Nail Pulling Party at CHUM. He says, “Everyone had hammers and they were pulling and pounding nails out of long used boards. It got pretty loud. They’re going to use all the boards to make raised beds in the yard of the Steve McNiell homeless apartment building that is under construction right now. We all think that is way cool.

Someone says, “I was at the Food Not Bombs dinner outside the City Council yesterday. A person said a city councilor was presenting a proposal to take a part of the DECC and turn it into a casino run by the City”. We all crack up. She continues, “Our friend the government official is really giving them hell. He thinks it’s a dumb idea”. We laugh some more.

An occasional street person rides up on a bike. We’ve known him a long time but haven’t seen him in over a year. He smudges and sits down. He has had a home for some time now and is making it into an art studio. He tells of us his plans and also about a Native pipe ceremony he has just attended. He speaks of peace, love, the Creator and how everyone is connected. Of course, we agree. He asks if we know where to find sage growing around the neighborhood. An Occupier tells him and they converse about the different varieties and their properties. The former street person says, “I just started riding over this way and I didn’t know why. Now I see. You guys are still here”.

A woman who manages a local art supply store also rides up on a bike. We all know her well. She tells the man she has saved all his art work and supplies that he left behind and they make arrangements to meet up tomorrow.

A much respected local metal and wood worker arrives. He tells us he has lived in his studio for 13 years. He has always paid half his rent at the beginning of the month and the other half in the middle of the month. His landlord is getting up in age so has recently hired a management company to take care of his properties. The management company insists he pay all the rent on the 1st of the month. No excuses, no exceptions. He says, “Now I can’t buy food until I get my 2nd check”. An Occupier says, “Oh I’m sure the property management company will starve to death if they don’t get all of your rent on the 1st of the month”.

It looks like the regular street people are back from wherever they were. Many call out to us. A group of regulars come up to smudge and get their refreshments. They all appear to be drunk. They tell a story of being locked up in Detox last Saturday.

They managed to distract a staff member and they all ran out the front door. It’s common knowledge that anyone locked up in Detox who can manage to escape is home(less) free until the next time they are captured. One of the women thinks she may have broken her foot.

She says, “I wonder if I should go back to Detox where they’ll take care of me?” She sits down and talks about how she misses her children.

An Occupier reports that we have been asked to give an endorsement of our good friends’ candidacy for the MN 8th CD. Of course we want to endorse him but we wonder if it is appropriate for an Occupy group to endorse a political candidate. Maybe we could each personally provide an endorsement. We’ll have to talk with him to see what we can work out.

A woman approaches our table and smudges. She is sobbing. A man who knows her arrives, helps her to smudge and puts his arm around her. They walk off.

We hear someone talking very loudly from somewhere nearby. We listen and look around. We realize it is a man reciting some type of hip hop poetry at the open mic in our friends club up the street.

The street lights come on and we realize it’s time to leave. It’s a shame to go in on such a perfect night but we need to rest and carry on another day. Looks like we won’t be back until next Tuesday.

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G.A. Minutes 7-5-14

G.A. Minutes 7-5-14

It’s almost 90 degrees and very humid as we roll up to CJM tonight. The sky is grey, looking possibly like rain. We decide to set up without starting a fire. In this heat it would be crazy to start a fire. However, the weather in this city can change in a minute. We’ll wait to see. The worst that will happen is that we’ll get wet.

The street is pretty quiet again, almost, but not quite empty. The 1st Occupiers to arrive are slowly bringing things into the space.

An Occupier who has been out of town for a while arrives and says, “Where is everybody?” “

Oh they’ll show up,” is the answer. Soon a young Occupier appears, bringing the Occudog with him. We haven’t seen this dog in over a year and she doesn’t remember us or the fact she had been christened the Occudog. She barks at everyone who shows up. She’ll need to get reacquainted.

As we’re settling in a woman from the street asks for something cold to drink. Most folks know the routine by now. We set the snack table slightly away from the circle so people can help themselves and not have to interact if they don’t want to. If they feel like sitting with us they are welcomed, if not, that’s o.k. too. In spite of this, everybody always asks before they take anything. Most are very careful not to take what they consider to be too much.

An Occupier reminds us that Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance will meet this upcoming Friday, 1pm at Randy’s. She also reminds us that we are planning to attend the Pow Wow out at Big Lake on the Fond du Lac reservation this upcoming Saturday. If possible, we will assist with tabling for the NWA.

2 older women from the street who we have known for years arrive. They are twin sisters and have been living the life for many years. They smudge; get their snacks and stay to chat. We ask them, “Where is everybody tonight?”

They answer, “Down at the carnival”.

We remember that this time every year a traveling amusement show comes to the Bayfront. Homeless people might go unnoticed in those surroundings.

As the women depart an Occupier mentions that Food Not Bombs will be having their feeding event in front of City Hall on Monday. They will attempt to hold a free food event every Monday before City Council meetings.

This leads into a discussion of city government and one Occupier says, “Remember that we had planned to go visit the mayor on the last Tuesday of July?”

The Occupier who has been out of town asks, “Oh, what’s up with that?”

She answers, “The mayor has open office hours the last Tuesday of each month from 5pm-7pm. I suppose we can talk to him about homeless issues, that’s what we know most about. Also I’m going to ask him why he didn’t appoint me to the Human Rights Commission”.

“Oh really?” says the other Occupier. “Why do you think he didn’t appoint you?”

Another says, “It might have something to do with not wanting an Occupier on his commission”.

She laughs and says, “Yeah, probably but I think it was really because of the comment I wrote on his Facebook page the day after he held that press conference in Superior announcing his support of Enbridge and all the environmental pollution they want to bring to our beautiful land and water. A lot of people were reaming him out and I was feeling particularly poetic that day so made a pretty good comment. I remember just before I pressed enter, I thought that it might cost me a seat on the commission. Oh well, I’ve known the mayor as just a regular person for years. I didn’t think he would be that petty. I guess he is. I think being in the current political system corrupts people. It’s probably for the best. I’ll do better just attending the meetings and working from the outside”.

Just then a cool eastern breeze blows across the Memorial. Everybody stops talking and says, “Whoa!” We just sit in silence for a few minutes to make sure what we’re feeling is actually happening. Then we start up the fire.

An African man from Senegal sits down. We had met him briefly last fall and we remember him. He starts talking and we listen. He expresses frustration over the fact that many white people don’t like his black skin.

He says, “If they don’t like it they need to keep that to themselves and at least be civil when working with or interacting with me. I mean, it’s just skin. What’s the big deal?” He speaks of his frustration dealing with African Americans from the neighborhood,

“They don’t like me much either. They want to intimidate me by saying they are gangsters from Chicago. So what? I’m from a country where there is civil war. A country where they slit your throat just because of your last name. I’m supposed to be afraid of a gangster? When they see that the so called gangsters leave”.

A female Occupier responds, “Well right here we’re pretty much about getting along. Pretty much about peace”.

The African visibly relaxes smiles and says, “Yeah, peace is so easy. Why does everyone want to fight?” He then begins talking about playing his drums.

One of the Occupiers is also a drummer so they carry on a conversation about the spirituality of drumming. The man also tells us a little about his travels throughout Europe.

An older African American man comes walking over. He looks drunk and angry. We gone through this routine so many times; we know what he is going to say and do before he even starts.

He yells and points to the sculptures of the 3 black men who were lynched here in Duluth in 1920. That lynching is the reason our Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial was created. The angry man says, “Those men were killed by white people! White people! You don’t belong here! You don’t have any blacks here!”

The African man jumps up, assumes a fighting stance and says, “Get out of here!”

We say, “Come sit down and talk with us about it”. Both of the black men stare each other down and the African American man stomps off.

The African man says, “That’s disgraceful. They bitch about you being here yet they come here and drink and smoke crack and stuff. This place is sacred. What do they think they are doing?”

He sits and talks a little more but begins to yawn. He states, “Tomorrow is Sunday. It sure is nice to wake up in the morning and know that you don’t have to go to work”. As he leaves, he promises to return another day and bring a couple of drums.

The street lights come on and the 2nd shift is arriving. As we are packing up an Occupier says, “Well that dude shot my stereotype all to hell. Because he’s from Africa I expected him to be very sexist but it appears that he’s not”. We all laugh and plan to meet here again on Tuesday.

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