G.A. Minutes 9-3-13
The weather is quite pleasant this evening. Warm but not hot. We think it will cool down when the sun sets so we decide to wait until then to start our fire. We notice the big garbage can is still here and it’s full of garbage. The Memorial grounds are very clean; we won’t have to do any picking up before we begin. This fact refutes the common myth about homeless people being slobs who are unconcerned with their surroundings. We haven’t been at this location for a week. Simply having access to a waste receptacle has allowed the neighborhood folks to keep things neat.
The Memorial is about half full as we arrive; the occupants are predominately African American. As we set up, a middle aged African American man who we haven’t met comes over. He says,” I’m not used to seeing white people here. This place is dedicated to black folks. You’re welcome to be here, it’s good to see you”. We are not used to this.
When we first began meeting in this space, African Americans were quite suspicious of us and asked many questions about what we were doing. Some told us we needed to leave. We explained we were Occupy Duluth, were planning on holding meetings twice a week and that we all lived in the surrounding neighborhood.
Over time some of the black people sat with us at our fire. They joined the conversations and began to accept our presence. Now days, folks say hello when we arrive. Tonight is the first time an unknown African American man has welcomed us. Cool.
A man doing homeless outreach for Loaves N Fishes drives up. Many of those in the Memorial area know him. They greet him warmly. One of the Occupiers has also known this man for many years. The man passes out bottles of water to all those that want them and then comes over to visit with the Occupiers. Some of us had attended a Loaves N Fishes meeting last week. It was mentioned at the meeting that outreach workers would be basing some of their operations in the CJM Memorial area.
An Occupier reports she has contacted the chairperson of the Citizens Review Board and received instructions as to how to file a complaint against the DPD. She received a complaint form and she explains the complaint must first be given to the Chief of Police. The Chief will be expected to provide a remedy to the problem. If the remedy is unsatisfactory or is not actually implemented, the complaint will then go to the Citizens Review Board.
The Occupier says she’s glad minutes of each Occupy meeting have been previously recorded as now there is accurate documentation of each interaction with the DPD concerning our small, safe fire. She asks if she should fill out the form and bring it to the next meeting for people to review. Everyone agrees she should do that.
One of our Occupiers has been absent from our meetings for about a month. During this time he has had no access to the internet or to television. He wants to know what’s been going on. We tell him about the latest events related to Syria. At this point, all we know for sure is that anything the U.S. government says is sure to be a lie.
The conversation becomes one about technical things concerning internet and TV hookups. The non-technical Occupiers just space out and watch the goings on with the street folks. The Memorial and surrounding streets are now quite full. We give the absent Occupier an update about recent developments of the wolf groups.
We decide the air is now cool enough to start a small fire. We have copies of the real wording of the city ordinances that the police officer provided us with a few meetings ago. If the DPD should decide to harass us, we will be able to show them where they went wrong.
The fire blazes quietly and we receive a visit from 2 homeless out-reach workers. They work for Lutheran Social Services; some of us have previously met them. The workers are quite impressed with our fire, beverage setup and burning sage bundle. We all look forward to future collaborations.
An Occupier reminds everyone about the 4:30pm press conference in Canal Park on Monday, September 9th. The press conference will provide further awareness about the pipeline plans Enbridge is trying to sneak in under the radar of the Twin Ports area general public. The Occupier stresses the importance of everyone who can possibly attend doing so. Several national environmental groups are sending speakers. As he is telling us these things, we notice a squad car driving slowly by. The squad doesn’t stop.
Another Occupier reports the next 2 meetings of Idle No More will be September 16th and 26th, noon at Randy’s. Water Legacy will need us again this Saturday to do petitioning at Harvest Fest. That means we won’t have a G.A. this upcoming Saturday. Mending The Sacred Hoop will be holding a forum on human trafficking on September 19th. The next CRB meeting will be September 24th, 5pm at 3000 W. 3rd St. He thinks the next Indigenous Commission meeting is September 23rd somewhere in City Hall. Someone mentions that the March Against Monsanto is coming up next month and that we should bring out the 2 faced puppet again.
Suddenly we hear very loud yelling. The Memorial is just packed with people so it takes a minute to determine where it’s coming from. The wife of the man with the partially amputated leg has come to take him home. He doesn’t want to go. “A grown man should have enough sense to not be out in the street arguing with a bunch of kids!” she says. He’s yelling too but she’s yelling so loud we can’t hear what it is that he’s yelling. She leaves. She must have said something that embarrassed him because he’s still yelling. One must not lose face on this street. Oh well…….. The fire’s dying, it’s dark and time to go home. We’ll be back on Tuesday.