Minutes of the Disability Caucus Meeting
February 28th, 2012.
Members present were: Ann Emerman, Sidney Emerman, Paula Wolff, Nadina LaSpina, Danny Robert, Owen, Connie Lesold, Philip Bennett, Jonathan Sunshine, Alejandra Ospina, Dorothy Williams Pereira.
Meeting started at 6:00 PM (due to tardiness of attendees).
Nadina quickly demonstrated hand gestures and reviewed process, stating that those who cannot use their hands will say: agree, disagree, etc. Since two meeting attendees (Jonathan Sunshine and Paula Wolff) are visually impaired, number of people agreeing, disagreeing, etc will be specified.
Danny suggested that a representative of our Caucus bring the issue of inaccessibility of hand gestures and the necessity for “reasonable accommodations” to the General Assembly. All agreed.
Agenda was agreed on:
(1) continued editing and discussion of draft mission statement.
(2) Reports of participation in OWS events and related actions.
(3) Upcoming OWS actions and events.
(4) Possible future actions and events initiated by the Disability Caucus.
(1) Draft of Mission Statement was read by Philip Bennett.
Objection to use of trivializing cutesy terms (“banksters,” “Wall Street casino gamblers”) was voiced by Owen. General consensus. Owen agreed to revise the statement on the website. Owen also objected to framing disabled people as cash “cows.” He suggested we “turn it around.” Change to: “We are not cash cows.” General consensus. Owen agreed to post revisions to strengthen mission statement.
(2) Anne, Danny and Nadina reported on the OTS Tompkins Square event. “It was very colorful and festive. Healthcare for the 99% did a very good teach-in. Their flip-chart was excellent. It was a beautiful day. Too bad there weren’t more visibly disabled people from our Caucus.” Connie said she was disappointed with the way Healthcare for the 99% articulated the concerns of psychiatric survivors. Connie also reported on a Crown Heights community meeting she attended, and spoke enthusiastically about an action initiated by Progress High School students against the proposed closing of Wycliffe Hospital.
(3) Danny talked about the February 29th “Occupy the Corporations” planned actions, especially the targeting of Pfizer and the rally in Bryant Park. He also mentioned that “something big” was being planned for March 17th (the 6-months anniversary of OWS). Nadina talked about May 1st Global Day of Action and General Strike. All agreed that the Caucus needs to have a stronger presence at OWS events. Nadina will find out where the next Occupy Town Square event will be.
(4) Danny would still like to have an event on April 1st, “April Fool’s Day.” He said, “we’ve played the fools for too long. We could have a fool’s carnival, telling Obama, Cuomo, the corporations, “we won’t be fooled again!” He said we could get other other groups to join us. The location could be Union Square. Jonathan Sunshine suggested Lincoln Center as an alternate location. No consensus. Owen pointed out that there is too little time to prepare. Nadina agreed we don’t have time to plan it properly. Nadina said we should plan to do a speak-out or teach-in at an upcoming OTS.
Meeting adjourned at 7:15 PM. GA started.