G.A. Minutes 6-17-14
It would have been a very warm day today except for a light east wind which pleasantly cooled things down. Funny how one freezes one’s butt off for much of the year; then when summer arrives we worry about being too hot.
The Memorial is full of people upon our arrival tonight. Folks appear boisterous and happy. It’s a special night for us too. Tonight we bring the first of the years’ big container of homemade lemonade. Everyone loves it. Simple pleasures are a big deal to those on the street.
It seems everyone in the space wants to spend time at our fire this evening. They quickly fill up all our chairs; some remain standing.
Some Occupiers remind us that this upcoming Saturday is the Summer Solstice. They ask if we all would like to attend a Solstice celebration to be held out in the country. Unanimous happy octopi.
An Occupier asks another, “Will you be willing to ride shotgun in the delivery car for the Idle No More Indian Taco Sale on Friday, June 27th 11am-3pm? The other Occupier answers, “Sure, if you remind me”.
Seeing as our meeting is filled with street folks tonight, we don’t expect to discuss much business. The first topic of conversation is sex trafficking. We think the major point of debate these days is whether it should be made completely legal or if it should be made illegal with the stipulation that the criminals be considered to be the pimps and the johns while the trafficked people are acknowledged to be victims of coercion. Everybody agrees trafficked people are victims and that legalization benefits the pimps and johns while making life even more difficult for the victims.
A street person leaves the Memorial saying something about an abortion clinic. This triggers a brief discussion of the abortion issue.
An Occupier says, “I’ve been told that sometimes when a trafficked woman becomes pregnant she is forced to give birth to the child and then the traffickers take the child and use it as a sex slave just about from birth on. They don’t get a birth certificate so there is no record of that baby/person ever existing”.
Another says, “Whoa! That’s too creepy to even think about”. The 1st Occupier answers, “Yeah, that’s what I thought too but it is actually a reality”.
An Occupier has a cabin deep in the woods outside of the city. He speaks of a housing development that was started in the same area. Development was stopped when the economic crash happened. The rumor is that a major renovation of all the dirt roads was planned. The Occupier investigated further and discovered that the area was found to contain the only source of palladium (an important rare earth mineral) in the U.S. He thinks some corporation is planning on creating a mine in this beautiful wilderness. The Occupier owns the mineral rights to his property but is unsure if other residents own theirs.
As we are talking, a couple of men in green uniforms walk up. It says Park Ranger on their shirts. They say, “Oh we just wanted to see how everybody is doing”. We make small talk with them and as it appears they are questioning our legal right to be there, an Occupier says, “Believe it or not, we actually have a letter from the DPD Chief that says we are cool to be here”. The Rangers leave.
However, during the rest of our meeting we notice squad cars circling much more often than usual. Coincidence?
Someone brings up the topic of container homes. Apparently, New York City is investing largely in these homes.
An Occupier asks, “Do they have bathrooms and running water and stuff?”
Another answers, “Yup, they have everything just like a regular home”.
An Occupier who has been attending city commission meetings says, “Our main homeless advocacy group suggested investigating the use of container homes but was told if they attempted to use these homes the City would sue them”.
The street people have gone off to their sleeping places and CJM is empty except for the Occupiers. Then, who should come around the corner……….. but our good friend the older grey haired woman. We all laugh and call her name. She comes to sit and she and an Occupier exchange stories about their time spent living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It’s getting dark, so considering the time of year; we know it’s quite late. As we pack up, our grey haired friend says, “I need to start getting here at 6pm. I’m never ready for these gatherings to end”.
As we are leaving we see one last squad car watching from the intersection. Once we are all in our vehicles, it drives off. The DPD will have to wait until next Tuesday if they want to attempt to intimidate us again.