G.A. Minutes 3-7-17
The weather is actually normal tonight as we cruise into Coney Island. Normal for March, that is. The month of March can have all sorts of different weather but it’s rarely life threatening and the promise of spring makes it almost bearable.
The wind has been howling like crazy all day with gusts up to 50mph. We hear the early morning commute was pretty exciting. All the snow on the roads and sidewalks had been melted until the very early morning hour when a light but very moist snowfall came down.
All the cars were going sideways down Lake Ave; they were smacking into parked cars. Eventually there was a 5 or 6 car pileup in the 3rd St and Lake Ave intersection and somebody ran into a power pole which caused a power outage in part of the Central Hillside.
Most of the Occupiers have managed to find ways of survival that don’t require an early morning commute. Most of us just woke up to a power outage. We had flashbacks to last summer’s 36+ hour power outage in 100 degree heat. No worries this time though. The power was back on in half an hour; the sun came out and melted all the snow and the wind dried up all the wetness.
We scare easily these days. We know climate change is happening right now. We know that under the “current administration” things will be getting worse. We know we will probably experience the kinds of weather and lack of energy services that folks in Third World countries experience on a regular basis. We worry about our future generations as we don’t know how long it will take until “the meek inherit the earth”.
The same hipster guy is working alone again. There is already a group of people in the back booth; it sounds like they’re about to have a meeting. We are a small group again tonight so can easily take the middle, slightly smaller booth.
We can hear the folks in the back booth talking about whether they want to eat or not. They decide that they do; they leave to go somewhere else. We don’t come here for the food. We come here because it’s centrally located in the neighborhood, it’s comfortable and if we see any of our street friends, we can invite them to join us and know they will be accepted by the staff and the other customers. Once it is empty, we go to the back booth.
We think many of our Occupiers have gone on the 350 bus up to Bemidjii to the hearing about the Alberta Clipper pipeline. We hope so and we hope the bus was full too.
An Occupier asks, “Has anyone heard what is going on at Standing Rock these days?” No one has heard anything. The Occupier continues, “I guess I’m gonna have to find the time to do some research. We know there are still Water Protectors at Sacred Stone Camp. Ever since the porkies tore down Occeti Sakowin the general media has been silent. I hope I can have some information by our next meeting.
“Enbridge is coming for our northern MN water next and I know we need to shift focus but everything is connected and we can’t forget our Standing Rock relatives. In fact, they have stated they will be here to help us when the time comes”.
An Occupier expresses concern related to the mother of his children who has recently been released from a drug treatment facility. He tells us, “They just sort of plunked her down into the same environment she was in before she went to treatment. She’s really not capable of being left on her own with no guidance. I’m already overburdened with being a single parent to all the kids. I can’t take care of her too”.
We talk about the many failings of drug treatment facilities. Most are understaffed and overburdened by the amount of people in need of treatment. Most are completely dependent on government and insurance company funding. The government and insurance companies are interested in contributing the least amount of funding that they can. We come to our usual conclusion; our for-profit healthcare system is grossly inadequate.
The city official tells us about his upcoming radio show which airs on Thursday. He has interviewed a woman journalist who is originally from the south. She has written a book about some deeply hidden facts that she came across when researching her family history. Her family was very unhappy with her bringing these facts to light, even within the family.
An Occupier adds, “People in this country need to know the truth about our history. If we are unwilling to know the truth, we will never be able to heal. Another truth is that every human being on this earth is related to every other human being. It’s been calculated from measurements of the human genome that as recently as 4,000 generations ago all humans originated from the same genes. That means every person in the world is related to every other person in the world. We have at least one common ancestor, in as little as a hundred thousand years ago. That’s practically nothing in archeological deep time.” We all nod in agreement.
Another Occupier comments, “The Anishinaabe Taco Sale went well. They made a good profit to add to their “save our mother earth” coffers. They might try something different next month. I don’t know the particulars but it has to do with walleye fillets”.
The Occupier who generally keeps a record of progressive events passes around a copy of the Northern Worker calendar again. She says, “As usual, too much going on to give a verbal report so here you go. Tomorrow is International Women’s Day so there’s been and will be a lot going on around that. I’m sorry to say I won’t be able to attend anything as I’m already committed to being at the Human Rights Commission meeting and then at the Indigenous Commission Sobriety Feast.
“I’m definitely a feminist but as you know, my main interest lies with saving mother earth, the water and the air. If we don’t have a planet to live on, none of this other stuff will matter. Besides, seeing as we do a lot of that work with local Anishinaabe folks and seeing as women are very respected and equal in traditional Anishinaabe culture, I feel comfortable in my role”.
The city official asks, “So what’s going on in our local feminist circle these days?” The Occupier responds, “As far as I know, there are 2 main groups. One is a large, well-funded group (I can’t remember their name) that has a lot of women from the Democratic Party. I’m told some of them spend a lot of time taking negative comments off of Mayor, Emily Larson’s Facebook page. The other is a smaller progressive group called Feminine Justice League. They are a political study group that also does most of the art and picketing in front of the Duluth Building for Women. There’s another group called the Hotdish Militia. I think they are a fundraising group for women in need”.
Another Occupier reports, “The weekly Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights meeting is Thursday, 6:30pm at Dorothy Day House again. We’re also going to be attending the HRC tomorrow at 5:30pm at City Hall. We’re going to make sure the HPB of R isn’t just being sent there to die”.
We notice we’ve been watching the wrong clock and that it’s well past time for us to have left. The hipster is being patient but we can tell he’s ready to go. We begin packing up.
An Occupier, still sitting in the booth, reaches down to the floor to pick something up. As he does this, his face falls into a plate of unfinished French fries. The city man gasps and moves towards the Occupier. French Fry Man sits up with the thing he was looking for in his hand and a quizzical look on his face. The official man exclaims, “OMG! I thought you were having a stroke of something!”
We all just crack up. We take turns making up what the article in the Duluth Trib. would say if the French fry death event had actually happened. We know we’re supposed to leave but…..we just can’t stop laughing. Maybe it was a “you’d have to be there” moment.
We plan to return to Coney Island next Tuesday.