G.A. Minutes 8-11-15
We’ve been absent from the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial for over a week; we’re happy to be returning this evening.
If the weather is a harbinger of things to come, our meeting tonight will be very pleasant. The sky is clear, temperatures are in the 70s and there’s a very light, cool breeze.
Many people are already in the space and scattered up and down the street when we arrive. They help us to quickly set up the snacks and chairs. All the chairs fill immediately. We notice that everyone in our circle is someone with whom we are well acquainted. Some are new friends; others have spent much time with us in previous years.
Several squad cars quickly pull up across the street. A few people from the circle go over to see what’s happening.
No big deal. The middle aged Native man with very long hair is drunk again. He can’t walk. He lives in the “wet house” and this is usual behavior for him. The officers will just take him home.
An African American couple who we don’t know is standing on the sidewalk. They are watching the minor drama.
Several officers are walking back to their vehicle. One of the officers is a tall African American male. The couple is quite surprised. The man calls out, “What? They have a black cop?!?” The cop smiles and waves.
An Occupier in the circle calls out, “They have 2.” The African American man on the sidewalk looks amazed. He says to the cop, “Will you come over to my house for dinner?”
The Occupier says to the circle, “Back when I was young they had a different black cop. The stylish, older, Native woman asks, “You mean B—–?” and the Occupier responds, “Yeah, he was the meanest man who ever lived”.
The children’s cheerleading class that meets in the old Encounter Center is getting out. Parents and children fill the sidewalk. A small child is running, top speed, down the hill and towards the intersection.
The parents all scream, then we scream and then all the folks on the street scream. The child stops up short and begins to cry. At least she didn’t run out into the busy street.
An Occupier reads a poem written by Rumi. Everyone listens; then the Spiritual Man translates it into the language of the street.
Suddenly the woman from Mississippi comes walking down the street. She is seriously ranting. Her southern accent is hard to understand at times but she is swearing like we can’t believe. We had no idea she cussed like that.
She just won’t quit. Back and forth she goes, screaming at the top of her lungs. An Occupier comments, “I think she just gets really frustrated with all the goings on down at the Skinner building. People are always fighting and the DPD practically lives there. HRA won’t let her move into senior citizen public housing where she would be more comfortable. They say she’s too young for that. She’s actually not as old as she looks and acts”.
The behavior of the Mississippi seems to trigger something. The Main Obnoxious Woman is with her boyfriend on the back ledge. She says something to him; he goes up to the Spiritual Man and shoves him. The Spiritual Man pushes the other man off of him then puts his hands behind his back and says, “I’m not going to hit you”. The Spiritual Man’s female friend jumps between them yelling, “If you gonna hit him you gonna have to come through me first”.
This goes on for a short while but the Main Obnoxious Woman’s boyfriend doesn’t hit women so he leaves. The Main Obnoxious Woman has already left. She took off right after she whispered whatever she whispered to her boyfriend.
Small groups of people scattered up and down the street begin, one after the other, to yell at each other.
Those of us in the circle are confused by all this. We look at each other and laugh, sort of. An Occupier takes the sage bundle, blows hard on it and goes around smudging everyone and everything in the whole area. Things calm down after that.
An Occupier gives the latest “fire report”. She says, “I had a meeting with the Fire Marshal on Thursday. The contact officer for complaints against the DPD asked me to do that. It was basically a waste of time. The Fire Marshal just gave her own personal and very erroneous interpretation of all the MN fire laws. She tried to get me to run around and suck up to various other City departments.
“I thanked her for her time, left a copy of all the documents that prove the legality of our fire and left. When I got home I sent her an email recapping what we had talked about and informing her we would be restarting our fire. If she could find any law we were actually breaking she could charge us with it.
“And you know what else? She told me the Fire Department doesn’t operate under the MN Statutes or City ordinances but under this big book called the MN Fire Codes. The general public isn’t able to access this book. They have to purchase it online for about $77. Isn’t that some shit? I as much as told her so too”.
Another Occupier adds, “That’s what the Fire Marshal did to us when we were at our first camp at the Civic Center. She had us running around trying to comply with all sorts of regulations. Then the DPD showed up and tore down our camp”.
An additional Occupier reminds us, “Northwoods 350 is holding informational and phone banking sessions to work against Enbridge in MN. The working groups will be meeting Mon-Fri of this week and next week, 4p-7p at Studio 15. Also, Loaves N Fishes will have their annual block party on Sunday, August 23rd from 1p-4p.
With the business now over, an Occupier directs a question to the circle. She says, “I have never been able to figure out why the young guys sag their pants”. The Spiritual Man responds, “Originally it was a black thing. The black guys saying to the white man, ‘Kiss my ass’. Now everybody does it so it means ‘Kiss my ass’ to The Man”.
The Occupier replies, “Wow. That’s so simple and it makes a lot of sense”. The grey-haired woman comments, “Well couldn’t they just hang a little sign from their belts? Then their butts would stay warm”. We all crack up.
A friend of the Main Obnoxious Woman’s boyfriend comes to join our circle. He wants to explain some things to the Spiritual Man. He tells him how the Woman taunts and manipulates her boyfriend. He doesn’t understand why the boyfriend puts up with her behavior but it is what it is. The Spiritual Man is willing to make amends.
The skies are darkening earlier these days. As they darken, the air becomes cooler. An Occupier says to another, “If I’d known it was gonna cool down like this I would have suggested we start a small fire. Now I suppose it’s too late”.
As we are packing up we notice a regular street woman, who we have known for years, passed out under the tree on the back ledge.
As we discuss what to do, the Lakota man from the Black Hills comes to sit beside her. An Occupier says, “I’ll ask him”.
The Lakota man tells the Occupier, “I guess you’d better call Detox”. We do so and a couple of Occupiers stay to wait for the cops to arrive.
We intend to be back at CJMM on Saturday.