G.A. Minutes 7-26-14
It’s kinda hot and humid upon our arrival at CJM this evening. We are greeted by the sound of a woman and a man screaming insults at each other from the back ledge. People are hanging out in small groups scattered around the Memorial site and the street.
A middle aged man from a group at the site says to the man who is yelling, “Shut up! Don’t talk like that around here”. The loud man doesn’t want to shut up and he argues. The middle aged man doesn’t back down. Eventually the loud man walks off in a huff.
We think Oh great. It’s going to be another night where folks are crabby because they can’t handle the heat.
It turns out the man and woman are shirttail relatives. The man was making sexual advances and touching the woman quite inappropriately. The woman had to get loud, scream and call attention to the situation in order to defend herself. The man then denied he had done the things he was accused of. Yelling and making a big scene is about the only form of self-defense available to the weaker folks of the street.
There are only a few Occupiers present as we set up our chairs and such. It’s another night where we’ll wait to start the fire until the weather and the inhabitants cool down.
One of the Occupiers is feeling sad and angry. His neighbor, a badly traumatized, alcoholic, Vietnam vet was found dead in his apartment earlier in the day. We emphasize and allow the Occupier to vent.
“It’s not right!” he says, “The guy was drafted into the army and forced to risk his life and endure horrible things. When he came back badly damaged, nobody cared. The government wouldn’t help him and his family rejected him”.
A couple of the Occupiers are old enough to have clear memories of the Vietnam War. They reminisce about the way the soldiers who made it out alive were treated when they returned.
We’ve been having some trouble with our website and Facebook page lately and we discuss the problems. An Occupier who is computer savvy offers to attempt to fix things after our meeting is over.
People have been coming to get their drinks but not stopping. Everyone is on the constant move. Then a gentle cool breeze arrives and gray clouds cover the sky. The street folks settle down. Sounds of laughing and joking are heard. Is it going to rain? Who knows? We light the fire.
The thin older woman who had joined us at our meeting returns. We welcome her. She is capable of following and joining the conversation.
An Occupier asks us what type of society we think would be best to put in place when our current system fails. He remarks he can see the attitude of the general populace changing.
The thin woman says, “That’s right. Everyone used to think if they worked hard enough they would get rich. Now we know that’s not true. It doesn’t matter though because there are lots of things more important than wealth”.
An Occupier who has been doing other things arrives. He’s been working on organic farming and other important things. He tells us he’s interested in coming to work with us again and we catch him up on the current goings on. We invite him to come with us on Tuesday to the next NWA meeting and to attend the mayor’s open office that same evening.
It’s completely dark now and the street lights are on. We should pack up but we don’t want to. The night air feels wonderful.
However, Mother Nature has other plans for us. She sends down a soft but steady rain. So much for the fire, smudge pot and paper cups. We laugh as we pack up.
With meetings next Tuesday and the FDL Pow Wow on Saturday, we won’t be back for an entire week. We trust the people of the street will keep things in order until then.