G.A. Minutes 10-31-17
Winter is trying to stick its mean, ugly head into our city. Late into the night last Thursday winter snuck in while most of Duluth’s citizens were sound asleep in their beds. It left 5 or 6 inches of heavy, wet snow behind.
We don’t think that was very funny. About 80% of the snow has melted by now but the temperature hasn’t been out of the 30s since then. It’s way too soon for all this to be happening; some of the leaves on the trees are still green. We still want to have a couple more fires before packing it up until spring. It’s not fair…..
We’re at Coney Island this evening; the temperature was 30 degrees at 6pm. Our fire pit isn’t big enough to actually keep people warm at temperatures below 30. So here we are.
This Coney Island is rather strange; not at all like the old Coney Island. It looks like a gigantic ice cream parlor from the 50s; the booths are small but they don’t care how many tables we push together in order to accommodate everyone. Oh wait…both Coney Islands have, or had, hot dogs. Unfortunately we’re not particularly looking for hot dogs. They don’t have hipsters and street people constantly running in and out and they don’t have a good sound system with great music playing. However, it’s what we’re stuck with for now. We don’t have a lot of spare time to go hunting for another place that has low prices, feels comfortable and has staff people who are non-judgmental. If someone were to know of such a place; it would be nice if they’d let us know.
So a few Occupiers are sitting in a booth waiting to see if others will show up. We know a few of us are at choir practice, another is studying for his mid-terms. An Occupier tells the others, “We had a pretty good meeting with Mayor Larson yesterday. It was myself and two other organizers representing the Homeless Persons Bill of Rights Coalition Bathroom Committee (pretty fancy title, don’t you think?). The mayor and a person from Parks N Rec were representing the City.
“The City is acting like they know that the HPB of R is gonna be passed by the City Council so they want to get a head start on the ‘entitled to 24/7 use of public hygiene facilities” right. The Parks N Rec woman made a big map of all the suitable for porta-potty placement areas. At the last meeting, we gave them our map of potential placement areas that we picked after consulting with lots of actual homeless people. The City’s map and our map overlapped quite a bit.
“On Thursday, November 2nd, 5:30p-7:30p at the Central Hillside Community Center, we’re going to hold an event for homeless people. We’ll have free food and hold a discussion about the HPB of R again and show folks both the maps. We’ll be asking for their input one more time. It appears that the HPB of R Ordinance will become a reality before the new City Council members take their seats at the end of January. I sure hope so; we’ve been working on this thing for four flippin’ years”.
Changing the subject, another Occupier comments, “I hear that some folks are pushing Enbridge to change the route of Line 3”. An Occupier replies, “As far as I’m concerned, we don’t want their pollutin’ ass pipeline anywhere in our state; anywhere in the world actually. Anyway, I doubt Enbridge is even considering changing the route. They’re so used to being given everything they want; this Water Protector thing is really giving them fits. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to use the old tried and true method of having the police and military beat everyone’s heads in. We really don’t know yet but we do know this is Minnesota, not North Dakota. I really admire the Native young bloods and their allies for putting their bodies and lives on the line to save our sacred water”.
Someone else says, “Speaking of Water Protectors, we finally have a new load of wood; we have it all stacked and everything. We filled up the trailer with some of it and want to bring it out to Makwa (bear) Line 3 Resistance Camp; but the weather’s been so bad on the days we’ve had available to go there that we haven’t been able to get it to them. We’re gonna try again on Sunday”.
A fairly large group of folks from Anonymous walk through the door. They are well bundled up against the cold. They push a couple tables up to our booth; most of them order chocolate malts. They’re trying to raise funds for gas so they can all go down to the annual Million Mask March in The Cities on November 5th. An Occupier gives them a small donation.
An Anon, who we don’t see often, asks us, “Do you have any idea what happened to All Nations and its director? The director is a really good person; I consider him a friend but I don’t know what happened to him”.
We tell the guy the sad story about how The Director chastised two of his staff members because they had not taken care of their assigned duties while The Director was out of town. Because these staff members neglected their duties, a man lost custody of his children and will not be allowed to have contact with them until they turn eighteen. A person lost their housing and a young woman who was trying to leave town in order to escape domestic violence was left to fend for herself. Anyway, the staff members wanted revenge for being chastised so they pulled a few strings here and there and then informed The Director that the All Nations Board of Directors had fired him from his job.
We tell the Anon that the Director was crushed; he created All Nations and worked his butt off for six years in order to keep it going. We were hoping he would stay and fight for his job but he decided to leave town instead. He’s down south with some of his family.
The Anon asks, “Do you think he will ever come back here?” An Occupier opines, “Yes, I think he’ll come back someday; his immediate family is still here but he has many irons in the fire down where he’s at now. We’ll just have to wait until he’s ready to return”.
Another Anon exclaims, “Oh, so that’s why you guys avoid working with the couple who is trying to set up the Maii’gan (wolf) Line 3 Camp!?” An Occupier agrees, “Yeah, that’s about it in a nutshell. It’s a character issue. We prefer to work with organizers of good character. We think that may be lacking in the leaders of that camp.
The Anons are ready to go off again. They plan to put flyers about No Line 3 all around. We say our goodbyes and hope they will be able to fundraise enough gas money so they can all go down to the Million Mask March.
An Occupier asks, “Have you guys heard about a Makwa Line 3 Resistance Camp event that one of our friends is trying to organize. It’s supposed to be a fundraiser for the Camp. Water Protectors who are currently living in the Camp will be at the event to explain to folks what they are doing. Our friend is planning the event for November 11th at the CHCC”.
Another Occupier responds, “No, I hadn’t heard about that event; I’m going to reserve November 11th on my calendar and hope it actually happens. Maybe we can help him with the event”.
The Occupier who reports things reports, “Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance is going to have another Anishinaabe Fry Bread Taco Sale at the Washington Center on Friday and of course, they need our help. Everyone agrees to help.
The place is empty except for the Occupiers and one customer at the counter. A man comes in with a small child who is dressed up to look like a hotdog. We think the man must be friends with the staff guys. The child is very young and doesn’t appear to know where he is or why he is there. We think he doesn’t know that tonight is Halloween or why he is dressed as a hotdog. The child is handling it well though. Unfortunately, no one has any candy to give to Hotdog Child.
On that note, we think it’s time to go. It sure would be nice if we could go to Peoples Plaza next Tuesday. We’ll just have to wait and see. If the Plaza is a no go, we’ll be back at Coney Island on the aforementioned Tuesday.
G.A. Minutes 10-31-17