G.A. Minutes 3-19-16
The new hipster trainee at Coney Island is no longer a trainee. He’s running the whole place and on a Saturday night no less. There are a few customers and one of the veteran hipsters is sitting at the counter working on his laptop.
The veteran isn’t paying any attention to what’s going on around him. The newest hipster appears at ease and has everything under control.
It looks like the weather is under control too. Temperature in the 30s, no wind, a few light clouds.
We never did get the big blizzard we were promised a couple of days ago. It just rained all day, washed away all the snow then dropped another inch or so of it during the night. We have little black piles of it scattered around again.
Most of the Occupiers are present tonight. One hasn’t been around or in touch for several weeks. We report the latest developments re: the conversation with the City Attorney and our tentative decision to look for another downtown Central Hillside location to start up the fire as soon as weather permits.
Of course, the recently absent Occupier is very disappointed. We all are but we know we need to look at the bigger picture and move on.
The absent Occupier asks, “Do you think this fire thing will cause us to file a lawsuit against the City?”
Another Occupier answers, “It may, but we’re not there yet. A lot will depend on the City’s reaction once we start having our fire somewhere else”.
An Occupier has brought a poem that he wishes to read. It’s a good one; it was written by Jim Harris. One of the stanzas says “when there’s lightening in the sky, the rich think God is taking their picture”.
Someone says, “Do we have all the fire equipment back together?” The Occupier tasked with fire preparation replies, “Nope, not yet. I need to get going on that. We need a Webber grill, preferably a used one that somebody doesn’t want anymore. I’ll buy one if I have to but it would be best if one of our supporters had one they could donate. I’ll post a request on my Facebook page and see if anyone can help”.
A homeless guy who was a regular attendee at our fires last year comes strolling in. He’s pleasantly surprised to see us. We’re happy to see him too.
He’s quite young but has been living the homeless life for many years. He’s very obese, a member of the Red Lake band and as far as we can tell, a basically cheerful sort of guy.
Judging from fireside conversations we’ve shared, he’s had some experience in the fight to save Mother Earth. He also likes to drink alcohol….. every day. We think he and a few of his friends live in an abandoned house somewhere in the neighborhood.
Tonight he’s in a hurry to use the bathroom. Come to think of it, a lot of street people have been using the bathroom this evening.
An Occupier reports, “I went to that In Black Ink event this afternoon. I didn’t really know what to expect; I just went to support our friend who organized it. It was a wonderful experience.
“Some professional but also very grassroots African American people from the Twin Cities are putting together a publishing company. They intend to publish books written by Minnesota African American writers.
“These books will then be used as curriculum in Minnesota school systems. Apparently, in Minnesota there is some pretty strong resistance to teaching African American history as a regular part of the curriculum for all students.
“Much of the focus will be on stories told by African American elders. The In Black Ink folks are planning to do something like what many of the Native American nations are doing now. You know, like getting their people, especially their youth, to learn the history and culture of African America.
“Most African American kids, much like all the rest of American kids, get most of their ideas from TV, music and all the rest of the mainstream media crap invented to keep them brainwashed.
“After the publisher folks made their presentation, the African American elders in attendance began to tell stories of their past. It was really fascinating. Many told stories from the 60s and 70s where they moved their families into a neighborhood and then had the neighbors organized petition drives to get African Americans banned from the neighborhood.
“You know that public housing project that used to be across from the Coppertop Church? It was in the 90s, I think, that there were a lot of Hmong families living in that project. HRA kicked them all out and relocated them around Morgan Park. HRA then tore all the project houses down.
“The Hmong people no longer had accessible transportation to English language, computer or other types of classes which were supposed to help them integrate into American culture. Most of the Hmong families then moved down to the Twin Cities. Apparently, that’s why we don’t have much of a Hmong population in Duluth anymore.
“Anyway, I was intrigued by the discussion at the IBI event and I’m looking forward to reading the books that get published”.
An Occupier comments, “I try hard to stay away from major media. Their main objective is to keep people feeling afraid. I know from personal experience that the world contains more good than bad. However, if one pays attention to what the major media puts out; one would believe the world contains nothing but violence, danger and hatred. We all nod in agreement.
We have been so caught up in our conversation that we had all but forgotten about our extra-large Red Laker friend. It’s been over half an hour since he went into the bathroom. He’s coming out now and has a young Native woman with him. He’s wearing a very sheepish expression. Hmmm……
The hipster guys are unconcerned. Better to not dwell on it. We wave goodbye as he and the young woman leave.
The Occupier who is one of the Duluth 3 tells us that he and another organizer friend of ours would like to put on a brunch for supporters right before they go to court on April 1st.
They have been unable to find an attorney willing to defend them under the Necessary Defense option so they are going to attempt to represent themselves.
We say, “April 1st? Crap, that’s the same day as the monthly Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance NDN Taco Sale. We are committed to helping them every month on the first Friday. We can’t back out because they really need us. Without us they won’t be able to have a successful sale; they don’t have enough competent volunteers who can take our place”.
The Duluth 3 Occupier responds, “This is not good. I’ll check with the other organizer to see what adjustments can be made; then I’ll get back to you”.
The Occupier who sent a letter to the editor of the DNT comments, “I received an email from the DNT today. I guess they’re not going to publish my letter”.
He turns to the Occupier tasked with managing communications and says,” I forwarded a copy to you, did you get it?”
She relies, “I haven’t been home since noon. I’ll look for it as soon as I get home”.
Speaking of going home, here comes the staff guy with the mop bucket. We perform our usual leaving ritual; as we are about to head out the door, we notice 2 of the regular evening customers lingering in one of the small booths.
They seem to be quite drunk and are discussing climate change and the importance of protecting the land and the water. One of the men says, “You know, there are people who don’t care what they have to destroy just as long as they get paid well”.
An Occupier whispers to the others, “Do you think we should recruit these guys?’ We say, “Probably not, at least not until we can see what they have to say when they’re sober”.
The night is young and the weather is bearable so we decide to take a short walk up the street and around the neighborhood.
We’ll be back at Coney Island on Tuesday.
Brighten your day.