G.A. Minutes 10-26-13

G.A. Minutes 10-26-13
The Memorial is empty as we arrive but something is going on by the Skinner apartments at the end of the block. Squad cars with flashing lights are everywhere. One squad is racing down the wrong side of the street and squealing around and around the block.

This is not unusual as the Skinner is the source of much of the drama on this street. It’s an SRO building where people fortunate enough to have been granted some type of government housing assistance can live. Apparently the management is rather loose and/or nonexistent, so illegal activity is the norm. Kind of like the revolving door between multinational corporations and the U.S. congress, except that the residents of the Skinner are poor so have to pay for their sins.

It gets dark earlier and the air is cooler these last days of autumn. We get the fire going immediately, put out refreshments, sit down and relax. An Occupier says, “Man this heat feels good!”

As the squads are leaving, a woman on the street yells, “Hey, come back! The white people are playing with fire!”

An older man we don’t know walks up and says, “So what are you guys up to? I saw you here a few days ago.” We explain we are Occupy Duluth and we’ve been holding our meetings at the Memorial twice a week for over a year. The man has never heard of Occupy or the Occupy Wall Street movement. He has recently moved into the neighborhood and into the Skinner. As he begins to tell his story, it is determined that he and one of the Occupiers attended high school together. Although he looks much different than he did in high school, the Occupier remembers him and they reminisce for a bit. The man has spent much of his life as an alcoholic; in and out of prison. He’s sober now, has many health problems and is involved in volunteer work at several animal rescue agencies. He tells us of a veterinary clinic that will spay or neuter your cat for free if you can present an EBT (food stamp) card. “Wow!” says an Occupier, “That is some really useful information. Thanks for telling me.”

Another Occupier states, “It’s really gonna be boring around here now that the cops won’t hassle us anymore.”

A third Occupier remarks, “Nah, being hassled by the cops was becoming really boring.”

A meeting between a representative of Occupy Duluth and a police lieutenant in charge of public safety was held recently. Occupy presented their complaint which had been previously delivered to the Citizens Review Board. The Lieutenant said all DPD officers had been given instructions to stop bothering the Occupiers at their Memorial fires. The Occupier’s representative stated she would need to have something in writing concerning this issue and the Lieutenant said in about a week he would mail her a letter verifying his statement. After a year of standing our ground and demanding that the DPD follow their own laws, it appears we may have won this battle. That would be a pleasant surprise.

Several of the Occupiers have a secret to impart. An action in relation to the upcoming MN wolf hunt is being planned. For now, the details must remain a mystery. Things are discretely explained to all Occupiers present. Everybody is down with the plan. Many people are coming in and out of the circle, smudging and getting their snacks. They’re all in their own worlds, not paying attention to the confidences being exchanged.

One in our group is planning to attend the yearly demonstrations against the School Of The Americas; located in the state of Georgia. He asks if Occupy will make a donation to his travel funds. We have $100 currently in our treasury so offer to give him $50. Looks like we’ll have to come up with a way to raise some more funds.
An Occupier reminds us that there will be an Anti-Trafficking meeting on Monday evening and an Idle No More Meeting on Friday morning. Next Saturday we will meet at an art studio to work on our secret wolf project. It looks like we’ll be able to be back here next Tuesday.

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