Meeting Minutes – Safer Spaces – 12.04.11

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[posted retroactively for Working Group compliance]


Spokescouncil Reportbacks

Finance = Accounting, expenditures will go online (for each working group)

Occupy Dignity = need us to contact [email address redacted]  re: suicide attempts (Leah will e-mail him and cc Support people)

New potential spaces in Brooklyn and Yonkers, Nan is looking at a 7 floor space for $18,000

Security (no longer Community Alliance) is 8-9 people and are not focusing on shelters—will focus on security in park and at actions

Facilitation is working on proposal for moving SC forward, we are not yet an official spoke and will have to go through process

POC will organize an anti-oppression and anti-racism training on 12/7 or 12/14 in lieu of spokescouncil (this passed unanimously), planning on Wednesday at 6 PM

2 proposals rescinded: paying for space/supplies for SC and new housing (we don’t yet have authority to make financial decisions)

Our SC application was typed up with Alexander and sent out to list


GA Reportbacks

People have not been able to attend recently. Point person to attend or read notes: Angela can commit to a once-per-week summary e-mail to list.



Proposal due 12/7.  This is not a priority right now. We could do a safer spaces training and recruit. Nikki can pull together and draft a proposal for next week. We will pick dates towards beginning to get help sooner.



Leah has some.  Winter has some.  Leah will try to bring some next time or talk to her.


Shelter update

SPSA and West Park (new 86th st location): Curfews are strict and they do not accommodate emergencies and alternate needs.  Several people including one woman who has been very active were refused entrance by self-appointed Security because they were late and had nowhere to go (problems communicating with Park Slope crew). SS Support member took them to diner and slept there. Rumor that two pregnant women were turned away from SPSA because they were risk, as well as rejections on ground of mental health issues or racism. Pastor believes they should have discretion on who comes in. Person on door has been very violent and turned many away.

West Park: Agreement includes OWS renovating church. People have been turned away for not being on “list.”

Park Slope: More flexible with curfew. Church volunteers very supportive. Wednesday was not problematic; people were allowed in after curfew with brief discussion of rules. Friday someone who came late had cops called on them because they were banging on door and said to have alcohol on their breath. Saturday the door person wanted to refuse person who had been turned out of SPSA, but SS Support member diffused situation and brought person in.

Isobel suggested a new potential space (Old St. Patrick’s at Prince and Mulberry). Isobel can reach out to this space.


Issues: Discriminatory screening protocols. Communication between Support team members at different locations.  Need two Safer Spaces people present at each site outside of Support. Meeting with people with unmet needs coming to shelters to assess what next steps they should take to meet them. Trying to work with oppressive shelter spaces is not a good use of safer spaces time – should we look into finding housing we can control to use resources efficiently?


Need spaces that approach needs on individual basis on top of structure.


Safer Spaces should participate in Housing to bring in our perspective.  Members of Housing who have guided proposals at GA, etc. have been called out for assault. Housing is a mess. Autumn is running a Couchsurfing project.  We lost at least 100 people who had been staying in shelter spaces.


Security was banned from SPSA early on; Security may not be present running shelters.


We need to institute a grievance/accountability process model to deal with these issues. There have been several meetings about this with few results. Member of Safer Spaces, Support, and Mediation have background in working in this area and could work to develop one of these models. There are several situations that would benefit from these processes immediately. We will have a Safer Spaces accountability breakout group who will meet within the next week to begin this discussion: A’yen, Matt, James, Leah, Emily. Bathabile (Mediation) and Alejandro (POC) have taken part in this discussion before.


Next Safety Cluster meeting is Tuesday at 6 PM at the atrium. Emma will attend. We can propose that we want to be involved at the initiation of any new spaces to discuss issues and needs.


Big question: Where are we now? Where would Safer Spaces want to put our time? We might consider discussing this at length next meeting and revise our group description for SC.



Ashley from WON came to discuss why, from their perspective, Safer Spaces did not support their entry into SC. Safer Spaces did not block WON’s entry into SC, but did ask a clarifying question about how WON identifies “women.” Safer Spaces explained this and clarified how we had been coordinating with Community Alliance around responding to issues of sexual violence and about the confusion between Safer Spaces and the people who put up the tents. WON will return to SC to apply for admission as an operating group and hopes to ally with us. WON is a “women-only” caucus, as opposed to WOW, which, according to Ashley, “allows men.”



Matt suggested that every Sunday we bring receipts for reimbursement.  We can make our process more transparent: Do we need to make consensus as a group on each expense?  Accounting will not make decision on who to reimburse; this is our decision. Budget is $100/day.


Potential expenses: Transportation (cab, Metrocards), food ($10/person), medical, housing/hotel, therapy/counseling, McDonald’s gift certificates, food or supplies at spaces for occupiers.


We agreed to approve any expenses of food, transportation, medicine, housing, counseling as survivor support or needs of occupiers.  We will have a spreadsheet of expenses and who was reimbursed.


Stand-Up Call

We don’t need one this week.



Monday: Lippe

Wednesday: Emma?

Friday: Fanya



Comfort wants us to know that if we need anything they can provide it: blankets, toothpaste, socks, etc.

Wednesday at 6 PM planning for 12/14 anti-oppression training with POC, Anti-Racist Allies.

Action: tomorrow 11:30 AM – Newt Gingrich (take baths), 12/6 1 PM – Take Back the Land (family into foreclosed home) Pennsylvania and Livonia, 12/12 solidarity action with West Coast port shutdowns (target Goldman Sachs headquarters)

Angela can help start dialogue with new Security

Angela is working on dialogue circles to increase participation

Ali is leaving NYC for 2 months but will be back – this was blocked by the group.

12/8 protest at Sotheby’s organized by teamsters re: working conditions, York and 70th



A’yen will do next Sunday!


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