G.A. Minutes 8-29-15
Temperatures are in the 70s with no breeze when we pull up to the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial this evening. Although it’s quite muggy and hot, the air contains that difficult to describe chill inside of it. That tinge of cold that reminds one autumn is approaching.
As we are walking into the Memorial space, a DPD squad drives by slowly. He makes an effort to let us see he is scoping us out.
The woman from Mississippi is waiting for us. As we set things up she tells about her latest problem. We’re hoping she’s not manic again. It appears she’s not; she just has a problem.
She filed her taxes using a local accountant and has been expecting her tax refund in the mail. Today she found out her refund had been mailed to the wrong address.
She had just informed a DPD officer that she wanted to file a complaint. The officer told her he couldn’t help her as her problem was not a criminal matter. She’s really angry, saying “How dare he tell me it’s not a criminal matter!”
We tell her that actually the cop is right. Some of us know her local accountant. We know him to be an honest man and advise her to contact him on Monday. He will probably be able to help her receive her refund faster than if she just contacts the IRS.
Our advice calms her a bit but she’s understandably tired of waiting.
Many of the Occupiers attended the Citizens Review Board meeting last Wednesday. An Occupier gives a report to those who didn’t.
She says, “Everything went really well. Our friend, the city official, spoke first. He was quite eloquent and talked about the US constitution, the right of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. He mentioned the amount of blatant sex trafficking and drug dealing that has gone on inside and around CJMM for many years and commented that the police have done little to prevent these activities.
“He then questioned why such a big deal is being made about a small group of people building a small, safe fire, feeding people and sitting in a small circle.
“One of our Occupiers also spoke. He told about a party that he held a while ago in the Memorial. He had three fires going and fed about three hundred people. Before he held the event he asked the CJMM BOD if he could have a permit. They told him to not worry about a thing, just go ahead and do it. During his lengthy event no cops showed up and no one bothered him.
“It appeared the CRB members understood. They paraphrased the speakers and asked intelligent questions. One CRB member said he had driven by our fire in the past and didn’t understand what the problem was.
“Two DPD Deputy Chiefs were there. They sat in the back and listened. Hopefully, they gained a clue concerning what the issues are really about.
“The co-chair of the CJMM BOD also spoke. He made many outrageous accusations about what we supposedly do at our fires. He spoke of being very upset and personally offended by the Occupier who writes our meeting minutes. He said she called him a wannabe. It was obvious he was seeing our fires as a personal attack against him”.
The Occupier who writes the minutes commented, “What’s really weird is that I never called him a wannabe. I called him a member of the privileged elite. I called his followers wannabes. I was just being true to what was said at that meeting. I mean the way the BOD has lied about us and attacked us over the years it’s not surprising that we get a little crabby about it”.
Another Occupier replies, “I actually felt kinda sorry for him. He seems to think this is all about himself”.
Our chairs are full. There are many people we are meeting for the first time. One of the new guys says, “Who here likes to smoke good weed?” Many hands go up. The guy then says, “Does anybody have any? All I ever find is that synthetic shit. That stuff is really creepy”.
There are dead pan looks all around. If anyone has any, they’re not going to share it with a stranger.
All the apple juice is gone again. An Occupier walks to the liquor store to get a bag of ice for ice water. The minister from the Eagle’s Wings storefront church down the street donates several big bags of chips.
The same new guy is talking to a couple of his friends. He uses a word that is a derivative of the N-word. This word is popular with young Native men who imitate the behavior of African American gangbangers.
The man from Senegal is extremely offended at the use of the word and he lets the new guy know it. The new guy is totally confused saying, “Man, I wasn’t even talking to you”. The Senegalese man responds, “I am African! Don’t ever use that N word around me”.
The new guy doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb on the tree. He still doesn’t get it. As the Occupiers try to figure out how to explain the situation in a way that will resonate with the new guy, the man from Senegal leaves.
Our African American gay young friend arrives. He’s drunk again and making a big production out of smudging himself.
One Occupier says to another, “There’s a weird kind of anxious vibe in the air tonight. Seeing as the sun has gone down, maybe we should start a small fire to help people focus”. A fire is started.
An unknown white street girl arrives. She’s just as crazy as the one who showed up two weeks ago. She starts reorganizing the food table and manages to tip most of the liquids over. Then she wants to throw logs in the fire. Her sense of “boundaries” is seriously lacking and the oldest woman Occupier has to speak sharply to her several times before she backs off.
Another squad passes by.
Once the annoying girl leaves, things settle down. People who are looking “to stir up some shit” wander off, while everyone looking to chill out remains around the fire.
An Occupier mentions she attended a brainstorming session at Loaves N Fishes. Folks are trying to create a survey or some other way of finding out exactly what needs homeless folks find most important. The answers will be used to compose the Homeless Bill of Rights Ordinance. Another meeting will be held in two weeks.
Someone reminds us that the next Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance NdN Taco Sale is this upcoming Friday from 11am-2pm. They will need us to help. Most of us will be able to do so.
Spiritual Man sits down. He’s come to visit but his girlfriend has been cooking and she’s calling him home to eat. An Occupier remarks, “Man, if your woman’s been cooking it’s real important that you go and eat. Her feelings will be hurt if you don’t. The Spiritual Man takes off.
Another cop comes driving down the hill. He sits a while, looking at us. Then he turns and drives off.
A very tall, well dressed, African American young man comes riding up on roller skates. He skates around the circle several times, exchanges a few pleasantries and skates off.
Some of the Occupiers talk about their childhood experiences in the Boy and Girl Scouts. The gay young man says, “I was in Boy Scouts. The one thing I excelled in was knot tying. If you ever want to tie someone up, I’m your man”.
We all laugh. An Occupier states, “Oh for sure. If I ever want to tie anyone up I’ll certainly contact you”.
The stylish Native woman and her partner say goodnight. Now it’s just the Occupiers and the gay street man. He wants to help us pack up.
As he helps us he begins to sing. We join in and sing along with him. We sound like a bunch of frogs.
Another squad goes zooming by. He’s not paying any attention to us.
Either the cops have been told to leave us alone (again) or they’ve just been too busy. Whatever. We’ll just keep doing what we do.
We plan to be back on Tuesday.