General Assembly Minutes 2014-07-12

General Assembly Minutes July 12, 2014
Roles:

  • Facilitator - Nancy
  • Stack - Zot
  • Time keeper - Whistler
  • Notes - Annette
  • Vibe Checker - Robbie
  • Greeter - Vrinda

Agenda:

  1. Announcements
  2. Eviction of Tent City
  3. GRACE Camper's Meeting Report
  4. Caroline's Trespass Case
  5. Moral Mondays Gainesville
  6. Labor Daze
  7. Hobby Lobby Protest
  8. Light Brigade - Next Message
  9. Jim Crow Seeks Pot
  10. UF Students For Justice in Palestine March
  11. General Discussion

Announcements
Southern Lesbian Feminist Herstory event presented by Wild Iris Books, at the CMC, Friday July 18th 6-8 pm
James Baldwin's 89th Birthday celebration. Sponsored by Porters Youth Center and Alachua County Library headquarters. 401 E University Ave. Sunday, August 3rd, 2 - 4:30
Alachua County Peace Coalition retreat at the Alachua County Trust Lodge, August 24th from 10-4.
Trans Activism Workshop - Peter Cava at CMC, sponsored by Wild Iris Books. Tuesday, July 29th 6pm - 8pm

Eviction of Tent City
This eviction was less traumatic than previous ones. No arrests, no one's dog was taken away or things destroyed. OG folks moved several people and their belongings to the woods around GRACE Marketplace. Also moving folks were the Home Van volunteers and Ellen Allen. GPD was more patient than expected and communicated with us through the process. O.G.'s aim was to help insure that our friends who live outside would not be bullied by the authorities. Our efforts appear to have worked.

GRACE Camper's Meeting report
People who are homeless and camping in the woods surrounding the partially open GRACE Marketplace shelter have, with OG's encouragement, started having regular meetings on Fridays. These are notes from last night's meeting: Danny - fire department says no fires on the ground. All fires need to be contained in some kind of grill. Ania - there is a great need for tarps. Larry - suggest a sign in sheet for the meetings. Theresa - Washing machines have been donated, but because there is an unfinished place in the floor of the building, the city will not let the room be used. No one knows when the city will fix the floor. She estimates there are about 100 campers on site now, with 2-3 more people arriving each day. Oscar - the key word for the camp is "Evolution". Says everyone should be patient because the community will evolve and circumstances will improve. Tygur - working on a map of the camp areas, dividing them into zones, so that ambulance personal can find people when they are called out. Nina - there are way too many 911 calls, need to post the non-emergency number (955-1818) and get people to calm down. Calvin - alcohol and drugs are becoming a serious problem. Becky - We are adults and need to see that this is a public place and it must be respected. She suggested a bingo night and there was a lot of agreement. Theresa - reminds everyone that they are invited to attend the monthly ACCHH meetings that are the 3rd Wed of each month. Says an attorney has volunteered to come out on a regular basis and help people with issues such as getting minor offenses removed from their record. Patti- has worked as a paralegal and may be able to assist. Will be volunteering at the Welcome Center desk part time.

Continued Support For Campers
Besides being involved in advocating for the rights of our friends who live outdoors, OG has been physically moving folks and their things from tent city to the new camps around GRACE. We don't usually see direct aid as one of our main functions, but there has been a great need for help and we have stayed involved on a daily basis. We have been very effective at recruiting needed items for the camps and individual campers. Proposal - that we continue for now to recruit and transport donated items to the camps and assist any way that we can. Consensus passed. Zot thinks we could suggest that campers elect a spokesperson to convey the needs of the campers and speak to the media. Nancy agrees that we can advise but the decision would be the campers'. Robbie has volunteered to act as a dispatcher for recruiting and transporting donated items for the campers. His # is 450-4564. Call him if you have items or are willing to pick-up.

Caroline's Trespass Case
Caroline is one of 4 people who received a citation arrest during the one week that GPD decided to enforce the "no trespassing in the plaza" ordinance, while people who live outside were seeking shelter from the rain on the stage. For 2 years now the policy has been to not disturb folks there during rain storms. It is our belief that this bullying is part of a concerted effort to push homeless people out of the downtown area. An officer allowed folks to stay on the stage during a very hard rain around 11 pm one night. People went to sleep, then were awakened by a 3 officers about 5:30 am, who proceeded to arrest those who had been previously warned. We are trying to identify the first officer and be supportive of Caroline by attending her hearings and raising any funds needed for fines or court costs. She has pled not guilty and her hearing date in July 29th. Nancy wonders if she could face any jail time. Annette thinks not. No one really knows.

Moral Mondays Gainesville
Nancy is back on board as organizer of this event. The main financing sponsor so far is MacroRally. Karrie M did the amazing graphics on the event page. There will be flyers next week funded by a private donor. Nancy has met with some of the County Commissioners and has a meeting set with Court Security to see if there is a need for permits. MM will be a regular event, the 2nd Mondays of each month. The NAACP are on board! A planning meeting will be this Thursday. The event starts September 8th, 6 -7:30 pm at the Criminal Courthouse on Main. There will be speakers and music.
https://www.facebook.com/MoralMondaysGainesville

Labor Daze
September 1st is Labor Day. The 4th annual Labor Daze event, organized by Trish Ingle, is Sunday, August 31st from 2 -10 pm in Bo Diddley Plaza. Proposal - OG pays the $25 fee and sets up the InfoBooth there. Consensus passed. https://www.facebook.com/LaborDazeFest

Hobby Lobby Protest
OG will be joining Gainesville's peaceful demonstration on the opening day of Hobby Lobby, protesting the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to opt out of covering women's contraceptive healthcare. We believe that corporations are NOT people and do not deserve the rights of people, including free speech and religion. Event is at 6111 W. Newberry Rd. on Friday, August 1st at 8 a.m. (that's right - A.M.) Proposal - OG supports and takes part in this Hobby Lobby Protest and will focus on the "Corporate Abuse of Women". Consensus passed.
https://www.facebook.com/events/649505331785622/

OG Light Brigade
Our next message will be in support of the Hobby Lobby protest and will read "TRUST WOMEN - THEY ARE PEOPLE!" We will underline "ARE". John has ordered string lights for our next workshop.

Jim Crow Seeks Pot
Several of us went to court with Caroline as moral support for her due to her trespassing charge. What we saw was a racist machine chewing up poor people (95% of them black) mostly on charges if possession of small amounts of marijuana. Coincidentally, the same week, Commissioner Hutchinson came to the Occupy Infobooth to ask for our help speaking to other commissioners, particularly Chuck Chestnut, on this very issue. Everyone should read the article on page 19 of the current issue of the Iguana. Some of us are making appointments with Commissioner Chestnut to encourage him to fight this injustice. We ask everyone to please meet with or email the members of the County Commission.

UF Students For Justice in Palestine
They will, together with the SDS and others hold a march on Wednesday at 4:30 from the Criminal Courthouse to the steps of City Hall. Proposal - OG will support and take part in this demonstration. Consensus passed. https://www.facebook.com/pages/UF-SJP/492026674165807

General Discussion
Annette noticed that our listing in the Iguana Directory isn't exactly accurate since it mentions " occupying public space" which is not an ongoing tactic. Someone will check on it.... Whistler would like to encourage Tygur's artistic abilities by buying art supplies if someone will help him shop.