G.A. Minutes 1-12-16

G.A. Minutes 1-12-16
We are now beginning the dead of winter.  As far as we know this happens every year.  Even though we all have warm homes this year, we still complain.  Our homeless ones don’t have time to complain; they’re busy doing whatever it takes to survive.
Every year some of our homeless ones don’t make it; they’re found frozen to death somewhere.  The homeless outreach people bust their butts trying to find all the homeless ones.  They never completely succeed. 
Some of our citizens, who have the means to provide buildings with homes for everyone, hear about the frozen ones.  They click their tongues, “Tsk, tsk.  So sad, so sad”.  Most don’t do anything else though.   They just wait until next year then make their noises again.  Christmas is over you know.
The first Occupiers arriving at Coney Island are bundled up from head to toe.  They disrobe, order food and slide into the big back booth to wait and see if anyone else will arrive. 
The Occupier who is recently arrived from the east coast has been a Catholic Worker for much of her life.  While waiting for others to arrive, she tells those present a little about what C.W. is about.
She says, “Basically C.W. is about following the teachings of Jesus Christ.  It’s not about following all the rules and customs of the Catholic Church but about following Jesus.  You know, like not going after material things but ‘doing unto others as you would have them do unto you’, ‘love your neighbor like you love yourself’, stuff like that.  Lately there’s also been a lot of emphasis on supporting sex trafficked people”.
When she has finished talking, another Occupier comments, “I think this is really good music the staff is playing over the sound system.  They’re playing KUMD.  The DJ who does the Tuesday night show on KUMD lives in our artist co-op”.  Everyone agrees the music rocks.
Several more Occupiers and our friend, the City official arrive.  They’re bundled up too.
After everyone is settled, an Occupier reports, “I’ve received an email response from the writer who writes articles for the Reader.  If you remember, he was recommended to us as someone who might be willing to do a story about our fire at Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.  He said that he was pretty sure the editor of the Reader would not accept an article about this topic.  He suggested we try submitting a letter to the editor in the Inbox column.  Apparently the Inbox is more accommodating concerning subject matter”.
She turns to the Occupier who is tasked with writing and says, “If you write the letter to the Duluth News Tribune, I’ll take a shot at writing to the Reader”.  The Occupy writer agrees.
An Occupier exclaims, “It really chaps my hide that our government and our so called leaders don’t follow the laws they expect us to follow.  They just do whatever they want and then act horrified when a citizen steps up and points out what they’re doing”.
Another Occupier adds, “Yeah, the cops and the fire department do that too.  It’s like they’re just another gang.  I can’t tell who the leaders are and who the criminals are”.
An Occupier finds it necessary to apply for a few government benefits to get through a time of severe poverty.  This Occupier talks about the serious difficulty getting a social service worker to even answer the phone.  Everyone has a similar story to tell.  We take turns.  Someone states, “It’s like the main thing they’re concerned about is that someone may get a few extra bucks they’re not technically or legally entitled to”.
Another Occupier agrees, “Yeah, and in the meantime really needy people become homeless or die because they can’t get access to their life saving medications”. 
Someone mentions the fact that our good MN state senator is not going to seek reelection for the next term.  Two well-known local politicians have applied to run for the senator’s position.
An Occupier sighs, “I’m not sure which one of these candidates I should vote for”.  The City official suggests, “Just take a close look at which one has done the most for the poor and other marginalized people in our city.  If you look closely you will find the answer is quite obvious”.
The newly arrived Occupier observes, “Before I arrived here I had always thought Duluth was a very progressive city.  Now when I look at the statistics and watch people’s daily lives, I see it’s not very progressive at all”.
The City official concurs, “Yes, you are correct.  Did you know that the unemployment number for Duluth’s white population is 3 to 4% while the number of our black citizens who are unemployed is 22%?
On another topic, he continues, “By the way, I want you folks to know that a coalition is being formed with the objective of holding the new mayor and city council accountable to their campaign promises.  Meaning the promises they made about truly paying attention to the needs of our city’s most marginalized citizens”.
The hipster guy, who appears to be staffing the place by himself, begins clearing off the salt and pepper shakers from all the booths.  Then he starts mopping the floor.
An Occupier looks at the clock, “Oh crap!” She says, “I hadn’t noticed how much time had gone by.  Just let me hip you to a few things before we go.  The Superior Organizer is holding a pre-meeting concerning the next Stop the Enbridge Invasion action.  It will be on this upcoming Saturday in Superior from 3p-5p.  I’m gonna go, anybody who wants to ride with me just say so.
“When that meeting is done, I will pick up everyone who needs a ride and we can shoot over to Peace Church for the Jamin With MLK event.  I want to get there as close to 6pm as possible because I’m going to be good and hungry.
“Also, the Superior Organizer will be holding the first Community Forum on Racism and Cultural Understanding on February 2nd 12p-2p at the Superior Public Library”.
Our friend, the City official inserts, “WPR will be recording some Town Halls on the same subject.  I don’t know the times or dates yet though”.
Now it’s really time to let the accommodating staff person go home.  We’ll be at Peace Church on Saturday then back here at Coney Island next Tuesday.

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