G.A. Minutes 7-31-12

G.A. Minutes 7-31-12

Tonight we deal with a bit of business and then we take time to socialize. We go over the general finances. We took in a bit of money from the movie at the Zinema. A lot of people attended but many of them didn’t have any income so were allowed to attend for free. We have a small amount of money in our general fund, another little bit is being held by a former Occupier. All that combined with the movie money gives us about $150. That’s not much but it’s better than nothing. Occupiers who have jobs kick in what they can, mostly we survive on donations. Donations in any amount are always welcome.

Some of our new friends are leaving town. A group of people coming from several rough areas in several big cities came separately to Duluth awhile back. They were looking for respite from the violence and tension in their neighborhoods, hoping to start a new life. They had no jobs or homes in Duluth but heard about our “Our Block BBQ” and showed up out of curiosity. After the party they came back to visit and after knowing a little about Occupy were invited to camp with us. The experience of living together at camp enlightened us all. We spend time laughing and joking and talking about what we have learned. One middle aged African American man with a lot of blue collar skills had hoped to find a job and make his home in Duluth. After a time he realized that this would not be easy. We all talk realistically about the tendency of folks in Duluth to be suspicious of “outsiders”. We guess that if he were a white man it would take him about one year to become respected and hired for a job that matched his skills. As a black man it would be more like three years. He hasn’t got that kind of time. He tells us how beneficial sitting on the edge of Lake Superior has been for him. “Helps me get my head together.” However, he and his partner will head back to the big city where jobs are more plentiful. We may never see them again. Another couple, an African American man and his female cousin are going back to their city to take care of some business but promise to be back in a few weeks. They are rap artists, young and see a possible future here. They’re very good but rarely perform in their hometown as the hip hop scene is just too violent and dangerous. We hope they don’t get caught up in big city life, hope that they return to us and we tell them so. The man comments, “ You know, the city and the police really don’t like it that this camp is so diverse.” An Occupier says, “ You sure got that right!” We know that this is what the 1% greatly fears. People of all ethnicities getting together, seeing all they have in common and realizing who their real enemy is.

Occupy will go on in some form or other. Whatever happens, the lessons learned in the camps will never be forgotten.

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