G.A. Minutes 5-9-15

G.A. Minutes 5-9-15
We’re going to need a big fire tonight at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. The temperature is in the 40s but the strong east wind makes it feel more like the 20s.
Of course there are very few folks on the street or in the Memorial. Those that are around come over quickly as we set up the food and the fire pit.
A Native woman who we have been seeing around frequently this year asks if we have any hard boiled eggs tonight. We do and we also have a bag of fry bread left over from the NdN Taco Sale yesterday.
We offer her a piece and she says, “This is great! I’ll share it with my little sister”. We suggest she go ahead and take 2 pieces as we know that once word gets around that we have fry bread, it will be promptly gobbled up. She replies, “We’re both pretty hung over right now so we have to be careful what we eat. I’d better just take 1”.
Our friend who owns the music club up the street walks by and waves. On his way back to the club he comes to sit with us for a bit. We hold a “mutual admiration society” conference.
He tells us how much he appreciates our holding our fire meetings in the hood and we tell him how much we appreciate all that he does for amateur music scene and the community. Our conversation is genuine and sincere.
Our friend must return to his business as he always hosts live music on Saturday nights.
An Occupier reminds us that our friend will be sponsoring a tribute to his father and his uncle on Saturday May 16th 4pm-6pm at the Red Herring.
The Occupiers who helped out at the Idle No More/Northwoods NdN Taco Sale yesterday report it was a huge success. They sold at least 120 tacos and a bunch of pieces of fry bread too. After paying back expenses and donating $100 to the All Nations/Anishinaabe Ode Duluth Indian Center, they still had over $400 left. Most of the money that INM/NWA makes at these tacos sales is donated to various people in the community who are in need of financial help.
The Occupiers also report they really busted their butts making tacos and doing deliveries. Even though it was great fun, it took them until today to fully recover.
Another Occupier tells us she attended the Positive Force 30 Years of Punk Politics documentary at the Jefferson People’s House last Wednesday and found it to be very informative.
She states, “I was raising a child and managing Latin bands in San Francisco during the punk era so I wasn’t really aware of what punk was all about. I just unconsciously picked up the idea from the major media that punk was just about being loud, annoying and hating everyone and everything.
“I found out that the punk folks had communes focused on creating positive change in the world. They were into sustainable living, anti-racism, anti- sexism, anti- homophobia and all that. I guess the idea was to try to force these changes on to the world. I’m guessing they found out that being blatantly ‘in your face’ about stuff all the time isn’t too effective.
Although the movement now days is pretty much in your face sometimes, I think we have more diversity of tactics.
“Also, as long as I was at JPH, I asked about the possibility of us showing our movies there. I was told they had decided to open on evenings only twice a month and that they were already booked thru August.
I’m guessing we could ask for 1 Wednesday in September, October and November and that we might want to co-ordinate the dates with whenever the colleges start up again. What do you think?”
Everyone agrees that her idea is doable and the Occupier agrees to try and set things up.
Another Occupier states that the annual Housing Summit will be held at the Coppertop church on Wednesday, May 27th 10am-3:30pm and the next class, White Privilege 301 will be held also on May 27th at the Jefferson People’s House at 5:30pm.
Somehow, we get into a discussion about cultural food choices. Some cultures are averse to the eating of pigs, some to the eating of cows, others to eating dogs and so on.
We agree that it’s important to be tolerant of different cultural ways but we admit the thought of eating dogs really grosses us out.
As we are talking, people come by to get snacks and some ask for a piece of fry bread. The coffee is popular too. While most get their refreshments, say thank you and hurry to find somewhere indoors, a few sit with us by the fire. If one sits up close it’s very comfortable.
Among those stopping to sit is the infamous street woman. She’s looking good and healthy. She’s still managing to keep from drinking almost completely.
When we tell her the fry bread is from yesterday’s NdN Taco Sale she says, “Crap, I wanted to go to that but I forgot”.
A DPD squad car pulls up to the corner of CJM and parks. He sits there for a while but doesn’t appear to even be looking at us. Someone is sitting in the passenger seat. The squad car drives off.
An Occupier comments, “He must be looking for someone”.
Ms Obnoxious comes walking up with a few other folks. She’s not acting particularly obnoxious. She gets some coffee and tells us her boyfriend tried to commit suicide by overdosing on his high blood pressure pills, then she wanders off.
A young woman who we have seen around the neighborhood for many years has been sitting quietly with us for some time. She sat quietly with us last Tuesday also.
Tonight she decides to tell us a bit of her life story. She has recently moved with her teenaged daughter and her boyfriend to a house near the edge of town. She has several dogs and cats, a hamster, many birds, a rat and a lizard.
She says she has a terrible time being around people and never talks to anyone she doesn’t know. This evening she’s talkative but doesn’t appear to be “under the influence”. She tells her story without any mention of horribly traumatic events.
We enjoy listening to her and then….. Ms. Obnoxious returns. She has her boyfriend with her, she’s obviously been drinking and she’s definitely obnoxious now.
She and her boyfriend sit down side by side and she taunts him by singing songs about hopelessness, being unable to feel emotions and wanting to die. He takes it all in stride. He behaves toward her as if all her antics were totally normal.
So then she comments on the size of the shy young woman’s butt. The shy woman leaves immediately. An Occupier follows her to make sure she’s o.k. and to offer support.
We get a visit from the man from Senegal. We haven’t seen him yet this year and are very pleased he has joined us.
Ms. Obnoxious begins to rub up against him and asks for a cigarette. He politely but firmly tells her leave him alone and she actually complies. She and the boyfriend wander off.
The man from Senegal is still working his full time job and sending money back to his family. He’s also attending school again.
He’s just coming from the casino where he lost a little money. We have a conversation about the amount of time one can waste on gambling.
Then he has to catch a bus. We hope to see him again soon.
The Occupiers are now alone at the fire. The Memorial is devoid of other people. We should be gone by now but the fire has been burning strong all night and now we have a large amount of hot coals. They give off really good heat and are beautiful to watch.
So that’s what we do. Sit without talking, just watching the coals.
Eventually someone stands up. This shakes us from our revere and we start packing.
It’s supposed to be cold and rainy for most of next week so we decide to hold our next Tuesday meeting at the Amazing Grace.

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