G.A. Minutes 7-7-15
A group of middle aged African American women are sitting on the back ledge as we enter the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial this evening.
We recognize most of them but don’t remember seeing them socialize in this space. Maybe it’s some type of special occasion.
The weather is warm; clear skies with a slight warm breeze. Hopefully it will stay this way for a while as we’ve decided to not light the fire tonight.
After the police and fire department antics on July 4th we figure it will take a few days to get them all back in line. We don’t plan to challenge them until we have all our ducks in a row.
The middle aged Native woman who stuck by us at our last meeting is waiting for us. She been taking care of government paperwork today so has done a lot of walking. She’s very tired and her feet hurt. She’s hoping we might have money for bus fare.
Fortunately we do and we happily give it to her. She sips a glass of lemonade and chats while waiting for the bus to arrive.
The man who is always laughing appears. We ask him how things are going with CPS and getting custody of his newborn baby.
He tells us, “I sold my car to pay for a lawyer and I’m doing everything they tell me to do, no matter how difficult or stupid the requirement. My lawyer says if I do everything they tell me to do, I’ll get to have my baby. This is hurting my heart really bad. I’ve never fathered a baby who was taken away. My own child and I can’t take her home? I’ve met a lot of other people recently who have had their children taken away. It’s awful what the government does to families.
An Occupier agrees and tells a few horror stories she knows of that were perpetrated by CPS.
An Occupier arrives. He’s carrying a carton of ice cream. He has fresh raspberries too. Wow! This brings the ladies on the ledge and everyone else over. In a short time, the ice cream is no more.
We’ve set up the fire pit and placed a large burning candle inside. If anyone wants to know if we have a fire going, they’ll have to come on over and look.
A squad drives by every so often but we can’t tell if they are looking at us or looking for someone else.
Many of the Occupiers present this evening were not at our July 4th meeting. They want to hear the whole story.
Another Occupier gives the all the gory details. She also says, “So I spent most of yesterday calling around. I spoke with 2 of our friends on the Citizen’s Review Board telling them what went down. They hooked me up with a DPD lieutenant who is in charge of dealing with citizen complaints. She emailed me the official complaint package which I will fill out and bring to her next week. I’ll get copies to our friends on the CRB and we’ll be sure to attend their next meeting.
“However, I’m thinking the real deal is the fire department. In the letter we received from Chief Ramsey about 2 years ago, he said he was passing the responsibility concerning our fires on to the fire department.
“I called the fire department yesterday and received a call back from a deputy fire chief right away. We chatted for a while. He told me the fire department had no idea the DPD had passed responsibility on to them. He said the DPD ordered them to put out the fire so that’s what they did. Government officials frequently lie so who knows? I always pretend that I believe them.
“Anyway, I told him about the city and state laws that support the legality of our fires. He asked me to bring him copies of those statutes and a copy of the letter from Chief Ramsey. I’ll do that tomorrow. After we get that package into the hands of the fire department I think we should start having fires again. We’ll probably get hassled but we can tell them who to contact”.
Another Occupier comments, “All this crap is directly attributable to the CJM BOD president. I wonder what the penalty for lying to the police is? For rich people…..probably not much”.
Moving right along, an additional Occupier reports that the Jefferson People’s House is closing up shop on July 12th. Apparently they didn’t get enough business to allow them to pay the basic bills.
Everyone gasps, “Oh, no!”
Someone suggests, “Maybe they would do better at a location closer to downtown”.
The Occupier continues, “The next Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance NdN Taco Sale is this Friday. They’re going to be shorthanded so they really need our help. The FDL Veteran’s Pow Wow is this upcoming Saturday. We should be ready to leave by 2:30pm. The Human Rights Commission meeting is tomorrow at 5pm. If there’s an opening we should report about what was done to us on July 4th. Then on Saturday July 25th we’re gonna have 2 events we need to be at. Our friend the CHUM worker is holding a vigil for the Native woman and her dog who were murdered very recently and it’s also Respect Your Mother Earth weekend. I think we should go to the vigil and then go out to RYME. Everyone agrees to that plan.
A regular visitor, the older woman from Mississippi, joins the circle. She tells us the group of women is sitting on the back ledge because there has been an ongoing altercation between a husband and wife. It’s gone out into the street. They’re waiting to see what happens next.
An Occupier comments, “When one has nothing to do, it gets boring. One has to find excitement wherever one can”.
An acquaintance of ours walks up. He’s running for City Council and he’s practicing his politician skills. He makes the rounds of everyone at the Memorial, shakes their hand and gives them his card. It appears that most of the folks think he is crazy.
When he leaves we hear a man’s very loud yelling, “I stomped that N-word’s ass! Whoo Hooh! I stomped his ass!” We don’t know him. The women all run in his direction. He rounds the corner and heads for the casino. The women follow him.
The woman from Mississippi says,” I’m non-violent like Dr. King”. We tell her that we are too.
Our friend, the gay street man and Bird Man arrive. As usual, the gay man is singing. A young guy dressed in a security guard uniform walks past. The gay man calls, “Hello, can I have your phone number?” The young guy keeps walking and the gay man says, “Sometimes I just can’t help myself”.
A big fire truck pulls up on the side of CJM, a squad car does the same. We think, they’re gonna be so disappointed when they see it’s only a candle.
Turns out they’re going to the casino. An ambulance pulls up as an Occupier returns from using the casino bathroom. He says, “There’s a man lying on the floor and the first responders are surrounding him”.
We’re sorry to hear that but happy to know everything is not about us.
The Memorial is empty now except for Occupiers. One of the best bands in town happens to be rehearsing across the street. We share the pleasure of their music. When they come out for a break an Occupiers hollers over, “You’re my favorite band”.
As we’re packing up, 2 young white guys are limping down the sidewalk. They call out, “Do you have anything to eat?” Most of the food has been eaten but we do have 2 PB+J sandwiches and a bit of lemonade left. We give it to them.
They are grateful and tell us they are just now returning from walking from Lester Park. They’ve missed dinner at the Mission.
We say our goodbyes and plan to meet again on Saturday to go to the Pow Wow. We’ll be back here on Tuesday. If things go according to plan we’ll start up the fire.