G.A. Minutes 4-25-17
We’re finally back at Coney Island again this evening. Two weeks ago we arrived to find the place closed; last week we needed to attend a special meeting of the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition. We’re looking forward to having a relatively normal gathering tonight. Of course, our definition of normal is rather broad.
The weather people are warning of a big rain storm expected to descend on Duluth sometime between now and the middle of the night. Spring is so close to busting out full force; maybe a good storm will be just the thing to bring it on. Unless it turns into a big flood. Who knows? No matter how hard the so called “current administration” tries to hide the facts, facts are still facts. There are no “alternative facts”.
The tall non-hipster is working the counter tonight. This is a surprise as we thought he had quit or been fired or something. He appears to be his usual scatter-brained self. We think he’s not really cut out for this type of job but…..whatever. We’ll try to help him as best we can.
As we settle into the back booth we realize that one of us is having a birthday right now. One of the Occupiers runs next door to the coffee shop and purchases an assortment of little dark chocolate pieces. Each piece contains cacao from a different cacao producing country. The birthday person makes us promise not to tell anyone else who he/she is. The birthday person probably wants to ensure that we don’t all start singing.
More Occupiers arrive; they try to order food but notice the non-hipster is nowhere to be found. Fortunately all the other customers are neighborhood regulars so everything should be o.k. until he returns.
The Occupier who is in charge of reporting things, reports, “There are a shit ton of things happening in the next week or so. The usual Citizen’s Review Board meeting tomorrow and the H.P.B. of R meeting on Thursday. Saturday will be the big national Climate March. Our march in Duluth will start from the Rose Garden and march to Lake Place Plaza. It’s being sponsored by the Sierra Club so it’ll probably be pretty tame with a lot of people marching. I want to bring all of our big animal puppets that we made a few years ago; they really deserve an outing.
“I don’t know if we’ll be able to though. We finally were able to send our big truck into the shop for a new brake line today. If we can get it back before Saturday then we can all carry the bear, eagle, wolf, fox and turtle. Also, I’m gonna be so glad to get the truck up and running again. It will make holding our recreational fires at People’s Plaza so much easier.
“On Saturday evening the Echos of Peace Choir will be having a big concert, 7:30pm up at Mitchell Auditorium. Several of our Occupiers aren’t here tonight because they’re at the choir rehearsal.
On Sunday, Duluth for Clean Water is holding some type of candidate forum, 12:30pm at the Zuccone. I imagine they’ll be asking the candidates questions about clean water”.
“Monday is May Day and the Twin Ports Democratic Socialists are having a big picnic at Lincoln Park from 4pm-8pm. We promised them that we’d bring our fire pit and firewood. At 5pm Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance will be starting the Annual Mayday Rally For Missing, Murdered And Trafficked Indigenous Women in front of the Dewitt Seitz building in Canal Park. Also, the Anons will be holding an IWW May Day Rally in People’s Plaza beginning at 2pm.
“I know I’m going to be running back and forth all day. I’m guessing we should each go wherever we want to on May Day and we can compare notes next Tuesday when we meet again”.
The Occupier who lives in Superior asks if we’ve seen the news story about the Superior City Councilor who was recently arrested on serious domestic abuse charges. We have seen the story. The city official comments, “I’m told the Councilor is very good friends with the new Mayor of Superior. The new mayor has asked the Councilor to resign. I imagine he will. The Councilor is only twenty six years old so he has plenty of time to get help, get himself together, make amends to those he has harmed and reclaim his life. Abuse of women and children should never be taken lightly”. We all nod in agreement.
As we are talking, a street woman walks in and gets the key to the bathroom. We wave and smile at her but she is too under the influence of some substance or other to know who we are. Too bad, we know her to be a person who seems to lead two lives. We see her all dressed up and coherent at area Native events. Other times we see her in dirty clothes out in the street scrapping with the other street women who like to fight.
Throughout the evening the non-hipster has been vanishing and appearing again. We wish he would tell us when he’s going to leave so we know it’s our turn to keep an eye on things. Suddenly he runs out the back entrance like his pants are on fire.
The place is empty now until a young street man comes in. He walks up to the counter, looks all around and starts leaning over toward the cash register. An Occupier calls out, “The staff guy will be back in a minute”. The young dude backs away from the cash register, looks around, takes a big cookie and puts it in his pocket.
One Occupier says to us, “I think I’d better go look for the non-hipster”. He’s gone for a little while and then comes back with the staff guy. With the staff guy back behind the counter, the street dude leaves.
As the Occupier sits back down he tells us, “He was in the bathroom”. We say, “Oh no!” The non-hipster probably has that intestinal bug that some folks were gifted with when the flu bug was in town. We all know how awful it is to have to go to work when one is sick.
We start a conversation about what a bummer it is to have to fight to keep the small gains the people have already fought for over the last fifty or sixty years. An Occupier remarks, “Maybe the “current administration” will actually be good for regular people. It’s causing a lot more folks to get up, get out and resist the b.s.”
Another Occupier adds, “One good thing is that we’ve seen Nazis before. Before World War II most people had no concept of what Nazis would do. Now we know. We can organize and stop them in their tracks”.
The official man says, “Speaking of Nazis, did you know that the Owls Club up on E 2nd St used to be the headquarters for the local KKK?” Some of us knew that; some did not. An Occupier replies, “I think it’s still some kind of members only club. I remember when we had our old homeless camp we used to hear them having parties at night. I don’t know anybody who goes there. Maybe we could ask local musicians if they’ve ever been hired to play at the club. If white supremist crap still goes on there it should be exposed”.
Somehow the conversation morphs into a discussion about the Duluth school system and its budget. We know that the school district is seriously in the red and that Duluth students are not getting the education they deserve.
We know that dividing the high schools into two schools, one school in the low income area of the city (Denfield) and the other in the higher income area (East) was a very bad idea.
An Occupier opines, “Having open enrollment is really stupid too. If any student can go to any school he/she chooses as long as they have the means to get there, then only the students who are too poor to go anywhere else end up going to Denfield”.
The city man replies, “Because of open enrollment, East H.S. has almost three times as many students as Denfield. East also receives the lion’s share of the funding. Denfield gets the school to prison pipeline”.
As usual we have stayed past the official closing time. The non-hipster is still in the midst of his cleaning routine but we think we’d better go anyway. He needs to be able to stop pretending he’s not ill.
As we step outside we notice the air is thick with moisture. It won’t be long now….
We plan to be really busy over the next week and expect to meet back here at Coney Island next Tuesday.
G.A. Minutes 4-25-17