G.A. Minutes 11-22-14

G.A. Minutes 11-22-14
We’re meeting at the Amazing Grace Café tonight. It’s the best we could come up with on short notice. We had planned on attending a documentary film sponsored by Voices for Racial Justice to be shown at the Coppertop Church. VRJ had a last minute change of plans.

Actually it’s pretty nice here tonight. In the past we’ve found things less than optimal because of live music or loud voices of many people. Tonight the place is quiet, almost empty.

The atmosphere at the Grace is always comfortable, the staff always pleasant. One can order a cup of coffee or just serve themselves a glass of water. They can then sit all day or evening long without being required by anyone to make another purchase.
The Occupier who writes the meeting minutes reports she’s lost the minutes of the last meeting…..again. They went off into cyberspace never to be seen, at least in this lifetime.

She thinks she’s figured out the problem this time though. It looks like her word processing program has a glitch. It seems if she exits the program too quickly after saving the final edit the whole thing gets sent to some type of impenetrable prison from which there is no return. Maybe she will eventually remember this fact and stop making the same mistake. It’s a good thing Occupiers are a forgiving lot or maybe it’s just that no one else wants to take on the secretary task.

The Occupier with the newly acquired housing voucher is still having trouble finding a place to live. He’s still being slowed down by the housing (aka background check) fees. He can only afford about two applications per month. The property management companies take a long time to give him an answer and they get to keep the housing fee whether they have an immediate place for him or not. At this rate, finding a home may take a while.

In the meantime he is forced to live at CHUM. He’s an older man with many health issues. He’s not cut out for life at CHUM and has been sent in an ambulance to the ER once already.

Another Occupier who is also homeless confesses he was unable to vote in the last election. He has a valid ID but no address and was unable to find anyone to vouch for him. He was turned away by the election officials.

A conversation about our voting system begins. We hear most places are not renewing their voting machine contracts. This means the majority will return to paper ballots. We know there are a wide variety of ways votes can still be tampered with and elections can be hijacked.

One of the Occupiers comments on recent posts being put up on social media by another Occupier. The Occupier making the posts comments, “Most of that stuff comes from Popular Resistance and Acronym TV. Remember that film ‘Occupy Autumn’ that we screened at the Zinema a few years back? The guy who made the film is one of the original organizers of Occupy Wall Street. He gave us the film for free and told us we could show it as many times as we wanted to. He and other original OWS people have formed a newsletter and video organization. I’m still in contact with him and I receive lots of really good articles and stuff”.

An Occupier says the Citizens Review Board is having sort of an open house on Tuesday November 25th at the Community Action Duluth office. The CRB is not too happy with the fact that all citizen complaints must first be filed with the DPD and then the DPD picks what they want to present to the CRB. An open house is being held in hopes of receiving citizens’ comments.

The Occupiers remarks, “I think we should attend. When we filed our complaint with the CRB we were unaware of the process so went directly to the CRB and explained our problem. The DPD then took our complaint and eventually got back to us with favorable results. We then reported these results to the CRB. I don’t think we would have received favorable results if the CRB has not been informed about our complaint beforehand. We should go and tell everyone our story”.

Someone states that the second meeting of the predominantly African American group which is discussing possible responses to be made when the decision to not indict Officer Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO is announced, will be held in the City Council Chambers on Monday, November 24th at 5pm.

Somebody else says, “So do you know what happened with VRJ and why we didn’t go to see the documentary”.

We say, “Yeah”.

The Occupier continues, “Well you know that VRJ people who no one had met before were coming up from the Twin Cities for the event. They and some of the people of color from Duluth decided they wanted to have their first meeting with only other people of color. They asked that white folks respectfully refrain from attending this first meeting. The POC would put the documentary up on youtube so everyone could view it.

Some of our local white folks (she mentions a few names) were very opposed to this idea. When POC wouldn’t back down the white folks decided they were going to hold their own “Ally Meeting” before the POC meeting. Everything should be over by now. I’ll call one of our POC friends later to see how things went”.

Another responds, “Some Allies. It sounds like the white folks were more concerned with their own sense of self importance than with the needs of their POC allies. I mean, historically POC have rarely been able to have a meeting between themselves where they would not have to worry about offending some white person. The T.C. POC and the Duluth POC had not met each other before today, maybe they wanted to be able to talk frankly about what they’re up against. You’d think the white folks would be a little more gracious”.

Someone checks the time. It’s 8:57pm. Yikes! We have to get the Occupier staying at CHUM back before curfew. We grab our things and run out the door.

We’ll hook up again Tuesday at the CRB meeting.