G.A. Minutes 7-22-14

G.A. Minutes 7-22-14
Weather wise it’s another one of those near perfect evenings. The 1st Occupier rolls up to the CJM Memorial, sets her chair down and checks out the scene. She’s a lone woman sitting in a fairly dangerous area of the city however, she is unconcerned. The street folks are used to the presence of the Occupiers; some of them appear to like us.

The 1st Occupier notices there are many people on the street. Most of them are talking loudly and appear to be somewhat angry. A regular street woman, well known to the Occupiers is walking across the Memorial grounds. She appears quite intoxicated and unhappy. She doesn’t recognize the Occupier. The Occupier says to herself, “It looks like everyone is going to be crabby tonight. They’re probably out of sorts from having nowhere to go to escape the afternoon heat”.

A regular street man who is possibly developmentally disabled sits down. He says, “I have to sell the air conditioner that my daughter gave me. My landlord says we can’t have air conditioners in our apartments”.

The 1st Occupier asks, “Does your landlord pay for your utilities?” The man says yes and the Occupiers responds, “He probably doesn’t want to pay for the increase in electricity. Air conditioners take a lot of it. I guess he doesn’t care if his tenants get over heated”.

A couple more Occupiers arrive, the man leaves to go to his nightly AA meeting, everybody scurries to set up the beverage table etc. The fire pit is set up but not lit. People come up to get beverages, a few to smudge. Everyone is polite but no one is staying or even talking much. As additional Occupiers appear and get settled, a discussion begins.

The FDL Sobriety Pow Wow out at Mash Ka Wisen will take place August 1st thru August 3rd. The Northwoods Wolf Alliance has invited us to assist them with tabling on that Saturday and we all agree we would like to be there.

The next Idle No More NdN Taco Sale will be held this upcoming Friday. We have already promised to help out.

It looks like Tuesday, July 29th will be a busy day for us. We have the INM meeting at noon and then will attend the mayor’s open office hours at 5pm.

A very thin older woman we have seen in the CJM space for quite a while comes to sit with us. This is the 1st time she has joined us. An Occupier says. “So what shall we talk about when we go to visit the mayor?”

Another answers, “We’ve already agreed we will talk about homeless and housing issues. I’m wondering if we should also bring up the topic of his support for Enbridge”.

The thin woman knows what Tar Sands oil is and listens as we explain the Enbridge plan to double the amount of Tar Sands they are currently pumping thru their already old pipeline and then to ship this dangerous material across Lake Superior on barges. “

What!” the thin woman exclaims, “I’ve never heard about any of this. Don’t they know people need clean water to drink?”

As we are talking we hear a big thump. We look to see one fairly large woman lying on top of another fairly large woman. Only a minute ago they had been talking in a small group on the back ledge. We wait to see what will happen next.

The woman on the bottom screams, “Let me up!”

The woman on top says, “I’m only holding you down”.

A man walks over and says a few words. The women disengage and the top woman walks off. The bottom woman walks across the space rubbing her forehead. She asks the folks on the back ledge, “Am I bleeding?”

They assure she is not bleeding. She walks off in the opposite direction. It is obvious her pride has been injured. The thin woman gets up, walks to the sidewalk and yells down the street, “Is everybody stupid tonight?”

Ms. Slender lady returns. She says, “I don’t drink or take drugs. I just try to take care of these people and give them the help they need. Some of them are really crazy”.

An Occupier says, “Maybe now would be a good time to light the fire. It might serve as a diversion”. It does.

The Memorial empties of all the people who were sitting around and they are quickly replaced with several groups of African American men. A few come over to get cold lemonade. They are cordial but obviously preoccupied with whatever they have going on.

Our old friend, a retired political man from the neighborhood appears. We haven’t seen him in at least a year. He appears incredulous that we are still meeting here, still doing what we have been doing for the last 3 years.

An Occupier reports on what he observed at the first meeting held by our friend the City official. The meeting was the 1st in a series of meetings to be held about the lack of hiring of Duluth people of color for City sponsored projects. Many so called big shots attended the 1stmeeting. There were wealthy businessmen, union leaders, government officials and NGO professionals.

The Occupier reports that these people basically said they were doing the best they could and didn’t plan to do anymore. The Occupiers hope we will be able to attend the next meeting.

Duluth does not have any official standards concerning the hiring of P.O.C. We don’t expect the so called big shots will return so may be able to help plan some actual strategy to get more folks hired.

A few of the Occupiers need to leave early tonight so we decide to pack up early too. The thin woman asks, “When will you be back again?” We tell her we’ll be back on Saturday.

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