G.A. Minutes 9-1-15
It looks like climate change has kicked the autumn chill to the curb. Tonight is hot (mid 80s) and very muggy with absolutely no breeze. The Occupiers move very slowly; sweat drips, even while standing still. Eventually the chairs get set up, snacks are on the table and the few folks from the back ledge are joining the circle.
It’s the first of the month. That means things will be really quiet as most street folks who get small government checks will have been paid. Most will be off getting high somewhere….or…..the place will turn into a major drug dealing festival with dealers and customers blatantly making exchanges. We’ll wait to see what happens.
Peace and quiet don’t look too promising as the most infamous long term street man arrives and plunks himself down. He lived in our former homeless camp for a while; he drove most of us nuts there too. A middle aged Native fellow, rumor has it he once held a professional position supervising many young people. Then he had a brain aneurism and everything changed.
Over time he became alcoholic and homeless. The problem for us is that he still thinks he’s a boss. In whatever situation he finds himself, he will begin giving orders and expecting these orders to be followed. He cannot be redirected and will become violent if things don’t go his way.
A regular neighborhood DPD officer and his trainee join our circle. He says, “Is it o.k. if I visit?” An Occupier says, “Sure man, everyone is welcome here as long as their behavior is reasonable”. The most infamous street man says, “No! You don’t belong here”.
The cop says pleasantly, “It’s o.k., I’ll leave” and off he goes.
He’s the regular bike cop who’s been coming around occasionally for years. He’s still a cop and we realize that but if he’s not with his superior officers he can carry on an intelligent conversation. We’re sure he knows the most infamous man and the whole trip so won’t be holding a grudge in the future.
With the cops gone, the infamous man begins directing the show. He supervises the smudging and placement of the sage; rearranges all the food stuff and generally makes a mess.
A young girl we haven’t met rides up on a bike. She’s rides rapidly around and around the circle while loudly reciting hip hop poetry or something.
The infamous man tries to stop her. She jumps off the bike and into the middle of our group. She begins throwing fake karate chops and kicks into the air, close to the unlit fire pit.
The oldest Occupier woman attempts to take charge. All she can do is to say loudly over and over again, “You can’t do that here! You can’t do that here!”
The infamous man tells her to behave. She points to the Occupiers and says, “This is a Native American meeting; they should not be here”.
The young woman is a relative of some of our regular street folks. They manage to distract her and get her to the back ledge. After a while the karate bike girl and the infamous man walk off together. The infamous man has our whole gallon of apple juice under his arm, taking swigs from it as he walks. We think if that’s what it takes to get rid of him, we have no problem with that. We bring out a big container of ice water.
An animal rights activist friend of ours arrives, our friend the City official also stops by and then the CHUM employment worker. The street folks have all wandered off somewhere.
An Occupier hands everyone an INM/NWA NdN Taco Sale flyer and asks them to put it up in the neighborhood somewhere.
Someone brings up the topic of the City’s attempted fight with the Fond du Lac band and the casino. We think it’s pretty ridiculous that the City is spending enormous amounts of our money on legal fees in a case they cannot possibly win. The City official comments, “If you or I were attorneys and we pulled something like that, we’d be fired from our jobs immediately”.
We also talk about the last Citizens Review Board meeting. At that meeting Deputy Chief Tuscan gave a report explaining the breakdown of police calls over the year. The City official asked the deputy for a breakdown of calls by race of caller and perpetrator (if known). The deputy replied that the DPD didn’t record statistics that way.
The City official and a CRB member suggested the police department begin to record their statistics by race also.
The City official tells us, “If they’d record calls by race then we could see who’s really committing most of the crimes and who’s calling 911”.
An Occupier adds, “The DPD scopes out this neighborhood 24/7. If they’re paying constant attention to this area it stands to reason that they’re gonna find a lot of so called crime. If they’d scope out some other neighborhood 24/7 they’d get the same results. Anyway, they should scope out the banks and the people who live in mansions. That’s where the real crime is”.
Our friend the Hillside socialite and another friend, a member of the Human Rights Commission, stop by.
The socialite reminds us that this upcoming weekend is Pride Weekend. She tells us our friend who owns the club up the street will be having a block party on Saturday.
We say, “Oh good” because everyone will be able to listen to the music while sitting at CJMM.
Some of the street folks have come back to the ledge. They’re keeping their distance, probably because they don’t know most of the people now sitting in the circle. When the sky darkens and the street lights come on, our friends all say goodnight.
The gay African American street man is the first to join us. He’d been singing and dancing on the corner until all our non-street friends departed. He has a new phone and is setting it up. As soon as he’s finished, he calls his mom. He passes the phone around and we all say hello. He and his mother chat a while and then she informs him that his favorite aunt has died. He sobs profusely.
A few members of a neighborhood Native family come over. They are full of apologies for the behavior of their karate/bike riding niece. We thank them for taking her away.
As we are packing up, the Spiritual Man stops by. We stop to chat a bit and tell him about the block party on Saturday.
We’ll be back then and will hopefully make a fire for the event.