G.A. Minutes 1-7-14

G.A. Minutes 1-7-14

The weather is still deadly cold.  The entire Midwestern United States has been in what they’re calling an Artic Vortex for over a week.  In layman’s terms that means if one is outdoors without serious winter clothing they will freeze to death.  Mother Nature is definitely not playing this time.

When we arrive at the Amazing Grace Café this evening we notice a sign on the door which states they will be closing at 7pm.  We think the staff is getting fed up with this horrible weather and they want to go home before the temperatures drop into the risking your life to be outside mode.  We’ll have to talk fast.  We decide to do a quick rundown of up all the things we’re planning to do over the next few weeks.

An Occupier reports she has been asked to become a member of the City of Duluth Human Rights Commission. She was told by some of the commissioners they are having trouble making and decisions because they can’t make quorum.  They believe the Occupier generally follows through when she makes a commitment so they’d like to become a member.  She’s not sure what to do as she questions whether these commissions actually accomplish anything.  She wonders if she’ll be wasting her time.  Another Occupier says he has a friend who is interested in joining the Human Rights Commission.  The next HR Commission meeting is tomorrow evening and the 2 Occupiers agree to meet up at that meeting.  Hopefully the friend will come with them.  They plan to attend the next few HR meetings and then make a decision.

A quick rundown of the next few weeks events consists of a Water Legacy phone bank held at the Occupier couple’s home on Thursday January 9th from 4p-9p, a progressive forum at the Coppertop Church Saturday January 11th from 11p-4p, the 13 Moons Pow Wow also Saturday January 11th from 10am-10pm at Black Bear, the Water Legacy EIS comments workshop Monday January 13th 5p-9p at Leibovitz Bldg UMD, presentation of the Homeless Bill of Rights to the City Council also on Monday January 13th 7pm, election for district 2 county commissioner (replacing the Occupier’s good friend who recently passed away) Tuesday January 14th,  the Polymet EIS comment hearing Thursday January 16th  5p-10p at the DECC and many Martin Luther King Jr. Day events which will take place from Friday January 17th thru Monday January 20th.  We’re going to be quite busy.

There is also another project that we will be working on.  The month of January is Sex Trafficking Awareness Month.  Our ally Idle No More is greatly concerned about this issue as approximately 80% of trafficked women in the United States and Canada are of Indigenous heritage.  Of the few local agencies that address sex trafficked persons, none are concerned specifically with the needs of Native women.  Several area Native women’s groups have banded together and are planning an event for Thursday, January 23rd to highlight this problem.  As part of this event, the women would like to have an Overpass Light Brigade action.  They have requested that the Occupiers take charge of this action.  We’re told Men As Peacemakers will help with the labor.  It will be a lot of work but we have a work space and experience with making the light boards.  We are happy to help out.  Right now we are in the planning and gathering supplies stage.  The bulk of the work will be done Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 17th, 18th and 19th.  That means we’ll miss the majority of the weekend MLK events.  We hope to be done in time to make the MLK rally on Monday.

An Occupier tells a story.  She was at the mayor’s press conference at Trepanier Hall earlier today.  The conference was the kickoff to Sex Trafficking Awareness Month.  All the domestic violence NGOs were there and everyone was giving speeches and praising and patting each other on the back.  Almost as an afterthought, the MC pointed to two of our main Indigenous women allies and said, “Oh, we mustn’t forget these women.  They are doing lots of great work and they’re not even getting paid”.  We all laugh. We know the difference between getting paid to care and caring because you actually care.

The workers are putting the chairs up on the tables and nervously reminding us they are about to close.  We had planned a discussion around some literature we’ve been reading.  It’s about the subject of where does Occupy go from here.  Well tonight Occupy is going home.  Perhaps we can discuss when we return next Tuesday.

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