G.A. Minutes 5-23-17
We’re finally back at People’s Plaza and preparing to have our first recreational fire of the year. YAHOO!!!
Actually it looks like it could rain. The weather people have called for a 50% chance of scattered showers; the sky has been overcast much of the day. We don’t care. It’s been almost 7 months since we’ve been able to have a fire; we just can’t wait any longer.
We’ve all dressed warmly; the temperature is in the lows 50s with a moderate northwesterly wind. A fire is doable.
The city official arrives to help with the setup. He says, “I won’t be able to stay long. It’s too cold and I’m just not dressed for it”. The city man’s wardrobe consists mainly of clothes that are suitable for doing city official stuff. A rustic woodsman he is not.
The Fire Magician is back in action; he has a roaring fire going in no time. It smells, looks and feels great. We all pull our chairs close up and wait to see what will happen next.
A young Native man who has been showing up at our fires for many years quietly walks up. As usual, he’s soft spoken, polite and shy. He smudges himself, rolls a cigarette from the tobacco pouch then sits a little way off and listens to the conversation.
An Occupy asks, “Did you all see the picture that The Main Homeless Outreach Worker put up of the homeless camp that was destroyed? A homeless person made a small camp somewhere around here on a rocky looking hill. While the camper was gone, someone slashed his/her tent and stole all his/her belongings. The Main Outreach Worker managed to gather up another tent and some camping stuff so the camper could set up again. The same trashing of their camp happened the next day. That is so sick”.
The official man remarks, “I have some pretty good things that would be useful for homeless camping if someone would be willing to come to my house and get them”. An Occupier agrees to do so.
As the city official reaches across the table to pour some juice he notices the flyers we put out concerning the disappearance of The Woman Who Tells Good Stories. He comments, “I think there should a larger amount offered for information about her disappearance. Somebody knows something.”
An Occupier tells him, “Our friend, The Main CHUM Staff Person is planning a benefit chili feed event in order to raise more money for a reward. I think it will happen around the end of June”.
Another Occupier asks, “Did you guys see that the Superior African Heritage Community has been given the Men As Peacemakers annual Peacemaker Award? Someone replies, “SAHC is one of the groups that are led by the Superior Organizer. It’s about time she was recognized for all the outstanding work that she does”.
It starts to sprinkle a bit; wearing a skeptical look on his face, the city man states, “I think I’m going to leave now”. An Occupier replies, “Don’t worry, if it starts coming down in sheets, we’ll pack up and leave too. We’re only half crazy”.
As the city official disappears down the street an Occupier exclaims, “Crap! I forgot to ask him for Skip Sandman’s phone number. Veterans for Peace wants to ask him if he’ll speak at their Memorial Day event. Now I’ll have to go all the way over to his house to ask him. What a first world problem”. We all laugh.
The Occupier who reports things gives us her weekly report, “The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition meeting is this upcoming Thursday, 6:30pm at Dorothy Day House, as per usual. Tomorrow some members of the HPB of RC are going to the Citizens Review Board meeting, 5pm in Room 303 of City Hall. We’re going to review the new police policy called Interactions with Persons Experiencing Homelessness. The policy basically says that homelessness is not a crime and that cops must be respectful to homeless people and not tell them to ‘move along’ when they are in public spaces.
“The new DPD policy is better than a punch in the nose but it’s lacking a lot of very important points. I think they made it in hopes that it would derail the efforts of the HPB of RC to get an actual HPB of R Ordinance passed by the City Council. However, derailment is not gonna happen”.
An Occupier inquires, “Did anyone see Winona LaDuke being interviewed by Tavis Smiley on PBS last Friday? She really rocked it”. No one else saw the PBS show but everyone wishes they had. We think we’ll be able to view it online.
Someone comments, “That reminds me, it sounds like Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance will be doing something a little different for their taco sale in June. They’ve been asked to supply all the tacos for a big block party given by Neighborhood Youth Services on June 25th. I’ve been tasked with tracking down the main frybread maker to see if she’s down with the idea. So far, I haven’t been able to find her”.
We hear the big clock strike 9pm; the occasional sprinkles haven’t been bothering us. They’re certainly no match for the roaring fire. We’re trying to decide if we should let it burn out when couple of guys from Anonymous show up. We’re vaguely acquainted with these young dudes so think we should show them some hospitality. The sky appears to be clearing; the Fire Magician goes to the truck to get more wood.
These Anons tell us they are currently living in some type of halfway house after getting out of treatment. The big Native guy tells us some good stories that the elders told him when he was in Thunderbird House. The smaller white guy says, “I’ve been in Duluth for 4 years now. I’m from Georgia; when I arrived here people were nice to me and they tried to help me. That blew me away. I’m never going back down south; I’m gonna stay here forever”.
The conversation turns to the subject of what the hell is going on with supporters of He Who Shall Not Be Named. An Occupier tells us, “I read lately that many of the supporters were shocked to find out that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were one and the same. The supporters certainly don’t want anything that has Obama’s name on it but they really like being able to get health insurance because of the ACA”.
Our good friend, a local, well respected and somewhat famous musician rolls up. He was just cruising the street and saw our fire. He says, “I know where I’ll be spending my Tuesday nights now”. An Occupier responds, “I see your name is up in lights down at Zuccone”. The Somewhat Famous Musician humbly answers, “Yeah, it’s Bob Dylan’s birthday again. I always get that gig”.
The big clock strikes 10pm. The fire is burning down, we don’t have any more wood and most of us have stuff we have to do tomorrow. We pack up and make plans to meet up here again next Tuesday.
As the last of the equipment is being loaded into the vehicles one Occupier sighs, “I’d forgotten how incredibly wonderful it is to sit around the fire”.
G.A. Minutes 5-23-17