3/20/12 Meeting Minutes

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OWS Disability Caucus Meeting

March 20, 2012

Attendance

Leslie Freeman – facilitates

Paula Wolff – takes minutes

Michele Mantione

Daniel Everett

Connie Lesold

Pat Walls

Phil Walls

Nadina LaSpina

Mission Statement

Nadina explains that the mission statement we had started working on kept growing and growing. So we decided at a previous meeting that we would write a short one that everyone could agree on, so we could post it right away. We’ll keep working on the long one until everyone is satisfied and then post that one also. It is fine to have a concise statement and a more detailed one.

Leslie reads the statement. Changes are suggested and made.

The group reaches CONSENSUS on the following:

We are a multifaceted diverse group of people with all kinds of visible and invisible disabilities. We are young and old, all races, who refuse to continue to be exploited, stereotyped, stigmatized and marginalized by the oligarchy of corporate greed. Together with the rest of the 99%, we commit ourselves to fight for change. We will not rest until we have achieved social and economic equality and our differences are respected and celebrated.

We seek to bring understanding of our perspectives, our various needs for access and our particular forms of oppression to the greater occupy movement.

Together, we shall overcome.

Reports and Announcements on Actions and Events

Danny, Nadina, Connie and Owen were in Zuccotti Park on March 17th for the 6-month anniversary of OWS. Nadina gives an overview of the day’s events – morning marches, afternoon celebration, massive police presence throughout the day, arrests during the day, some for no apparent reason. At night when tents were erected, there were about 100 people arrested and many incidents of police brutality. One young woman was videotaped having a seizure when arrested. Paula is particularly interested since her disability causes her to have seizures. Danny, Nadina and Connie left the park in the evening.

March 24, 1PM, the Disabled In Action Singers will perform as part of the Cultural Occupation of Liberty Square (COOLS). After the DIA Singers, Michele Kaplan will sing her song “It’s Rude To Stare.” We want a good turn-out since this is organized by our Caucus.

March 25, Occupy Town Square in Fort Greene in Brooklyn. Connie was unhappy with the teach-in the group Health Care for the 99% did in Tompkins Sq. They show no understanding of mental health issues. They’ll do the same teach-in in Bklyn. Question: does the caucus want to confront HC99%? No consensus on that.

April 22-26 ADAPT Action in DC to fight institutional bias and defend our freedom.

Also announced: OWS marches every Fri., preparations for May 1st General Strike.

NYAPRS Mental Health Film Festival coming up May 5th.

Leslie announces that she will be in DC on March 30th for the Rally for George Hodgins (a 22-year-old autistic man, who was murdered by his mother in Sunnyvale, CA) and for other disabled victims of domestic violence. She proposes that the Caucus issue a statement of solidarity.

Nadina says that she was contacted by Diane Coleman and asked if NYC could organize an event also. There are vigils and memorials being held on March 30th in different cities throughout the country. She proposes that we do something even if just a small memorial.

The group agrees to both proposals. Leslie will write and deliver a statement of solidarity to DC. Nadina, Paula & Connie will work on putting together a small event in NYC.

Meeting adjourns.

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