G.A. Minutes 7-30-13

G.A. Minutes 7-30-13

The Memorial is full with people from the street this evening. There are several separate groups and they are yelling at each other. Most appear to be drunk. Some are attempting to get into physical fights but others are holding them back. The arguments appear to be personal, not based on ethnicity or gang relations. A group of young men come strolling up and one says to the rest of the young ones, “Just keep on walking, the white people trying to have peace”.

We start setting up but hold off putting out the coffee and other things because we need the atmosphere to settle down. The Occupier who usually makes the fire should be chopping some kindling but he says,” I don’t think I should take out an axe right now”. We agree. One of the women stops yelling long enough to say,” There’s no synthetic anymore so I’m drunk”. Now we get it. The owner of the store that sold synthetic has been arrested and his store has been closed for over a week. Many of the regular users are now resorting to alcohol; they aren’t used to drinking so are out of control. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug and it’s readily available.

The chairs are set in a circle, as usual, but the noise is deafening. We can’t hear each other. An Occupier says,” We need to fire up the sage”. “Oh right!” says another and she does just that. It gets passed around the circle with each person blowing gently on the burning bundle to make a lot of smoke. It takes a little while, slowly many of the street people wander off. Those who remain behave civilly. Now we put out the snacks. The remaining folks serve themselves and some join us in the circle.

Our friend who is running for a City office arrives along with some of his campaign team. He speaks to everyone about his plans and ideas. A person from the street has many questions. Our friend responds in a serious but friendly manner. He reminds us about the Spirit Valley Days parade on Thursday. Some of us have promised to march with him. The campaign people go off to the side and discuss practical issues.

A lot of time has been wasted dealing with neighborhood drama so we agree to just go down our list of discussion items one by one. Water Legacy held a phone calling session yesterday at the home of the Occupier couple. Much was accomplished. The Occupy National Gathering in Kalamazoo Michigan is requesting Occupy Duluth (along with many others) endorse the gathering. We agree to do that. An Occupier gives a report about the public event sponsored by another friend of ours who is running for a different City office. It was well attended and very pleasant. Another Occupier reports on the progress she has made writing an article about the Alberta Clipper for a local alternative newspaper. She’s about half way done. She also praises the work being done by Occupy MN on this issue. Occupy MN will be sponsoring a Climate Summit tomorrow. We wish we had the time and gas money to attend.

The Candidates of Color event will be held at the Hillside Community Center on Thursday, August 8th at 6pm. Some of us have committed to cooking food for the occasion. Paula Macebee, the attorney for Water Legacy will be holding an information, question and answer session Wednesday, August 7th 7pm at Pilgrim Church (2310 E 4th St). We have not received a response yet re: the Gimaajii Center. The next INM will be August 23rd 9am at Randy’s. The National Night Out will be Tuesday, August 6th. Both of our friends who are City candidates have expressed interest in being involved with this event but we haven’t heard anything concrete so will have to wait and see. The Occupier couple announces they will be unable to attend the August 10th G.A. as they will be taking a “personal leave day”. And there you have it, Bam! Bam! Bam! We’re finished.

We look around and the street is empty. Where did everybody go? It’s so quite. A few folks are sitting on the back ledge and a few are sitting with us by the fire. Some step up to smudge while we chat about our visions for the future of the world. The fire is dying and it’s getting dark a little earlier these days. The rest of the week looks fairly calm but next week will be crazy busy. We plan to be back at the Memorial on Saturday.