Notes 11 March 2012
Present: Paul, Sally, Kate, Heather, Alejandrina, Gerald, Joanne
Future of OWS and ARA
**This was more of a conversation between all of us, so I’ve framed the notes in a way that gives general sentiments of the conversation**
Last week, ARA discussed breaking down into different committees or working groups- specifically, to do ally work with VOCAL NY and to do education work with OWS, dealing with internal work with OWS and being part of grievance process.
It was suggested that general group would meet one Sunday a month.
Unclear where doing ally work with other working groups fits into this new proposed model of ARAllies
Meeting bi-weekly should be considered a possibility also
Whats happening in OWS as a whole? Do we feel like things are picking up?
Some events keep us inspired- COINTELPRO event this past Friday filled Judson Memorial Church
Our group has not been integral in creating “next steps” in movement- we’ve supported
Stop and Frisk campaign of OWS- mass movement that is developing around the police department- changing the conversation and that is a HUGE step forward
Groups have been gathering energy from “OWS times”
If we could serve as a bridge between OWS and other grassroots organizations that could use more bodies and support
If sub-committees can get off the ground and meet often, having fewer general ARA meetings might make sense but ARA weekly meetings have been a source of support and community for us and would be a terrible thing to lose
Potentially alternating weeks of sub-committees and general group
If Occupy can take a couple little steps in uniting the 99%, that’s a huge accomplishment
Racism is American as apple-pie (thank you, Paul)
Writing is a really great way to stay involved without having to be physically present
Sub-committees might be a way to relieve overwhelming feelings
Keeping “internal” stuff as a general group wide thing so that we don’t put Spokes Council responsibilities on the shoulders of a few
A lot of people on the outside have negative ideas of OWS and just the fact that we have a mechanism and folks who are energized to deal with the issue or shining a light on it is meaningful. So even if we relentless, just the fact that we are on the case means so much
Every Sunday from 12-2 in Zuchotti park, there will be talks about strikes and May Day
Opportunity to do education work on all kinds of different things
Course in Native American Studies might be a project that the Indigenous group that Sally is a part of is going to work on
Having an anti-racism course would be a great opportunity
Might work as a sub-group so that there’s time to plan curriculum
How do we draw people in? How do we connect people to OWS? This would be a great way to do it
As a group, we decided to move forward with working on an anti-racism course for OccU- Heather will send out an email to the list serve to see if anyone else is interested in planning this
Greensboro Massacre Conversation
**APRIL 26 @ 7 PM- Judson Memorial Church (Put the date on your calendar!)**
Sally and Paul, amongst others, will be participating
Significance of the event is relevant to OWS now- issues of violence and non-violence
Importance of non-violence in reaching out and uniting the vast majority
Role of police in the GM and in the Occupy movement
What OWS groups can we ask to endorse? (Notes readers if you have ideas, please email them to Sally and/or Paul)
MJB Report-Back and Fundraising Request
Jen sent a report-back from the list serve- please read if you have time; it was a wonderful event
Kate and Heather connected with Juan after the event who expressed a need for fund raising support for a documentary about their Encuentros that they are trying to make
Kate sending out an email asking for support
He also asked if someone might be interested in a fund raising house party with reps from MJB there to talk about their work (Notes readers if anyone has the capacity to open up their homes for an event such as this, please email Kate!)
** 3/16-3/18 Register online at www.leftforum.org**
There will be a panel moderated by Sally
If you cant make it, Tiokasin Ghosthorse will have the entire panel on his WBAI radio show on Thursday at 9 am!!! (That’s tomorrow morning)
Occupy Faith has been working on this
Truth Project to expand peoples capacities to understand the financial meltdown, to collect personal narratives
More information from Sally and Paul to come
Spokes Council Report-Back
Has been relatively calm, small crowd (40 people)
POCC has not been present for several weeks
Matthew and Kate will go Wednesday
Heather and Paul will go Monday
Kate proposed and the group consented to continuing to attend Spokes Council and will send out an email for people to sign up for the month (Notes readers Kate has sent this email out; please sign up!)
Saturday the 24th and Saturday the 31st
Trinity Wall Street Church anti-racism trainings
9 am-4 pm
FREE (including lunch)
Next ARA meeting on the 25th of March
Teach-piece will be an extended report-back on the Left Forum workshops
Notes 4 March 2012
1. Movement for Justice in El Barrio- Many ARA allies are attending the MJB’s International Women’s Day Celebration featuring “indignadas” from El Barrio, Occupy Wall St., and around the world. Specific roles were asked of the ARA group. Jen will write up about the event. Who is down to take photos and post them send them to folks from MJB?
2. Capacity- Allison sent out a long list of excellent things that ARA should consider doing moving forward. The group went around and discussed what they thought was realistic regarding capacity. It was brought up that it might make more sense to have working groups that will be focusing on specific issues and having a monthly, larger meeting that would consist primarily of report backs from the working groups and reassessing the groups capacity from there. The monthly meetings would only expand on the work that ARA is doing having members do more focused work outside of meetings with the specific working groups.
3. Outward Facing– VOCAL-NY’s Call Out for allies to aid in the stop stop and frisk campaign.
Prior to the ARA meeting some interested folks got together and Sonni from the Occupy Prison group spoke about the specific call out for allies to get involved in the stop stop and frisk campaign through VOCAL-NY. A little bit about VOCAL-NY: Voices Of Community Advocates & Leaders (VOCAL) is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration, along with the organizations that serve us, to create healthy and just communities. We accomplish this through community organizing, leadership development, public education, participatory research and direct action.
The 3 specific requests that VOCAL-NY came up with were:
a.) VOCAL-NY will be doing a study on how many people were locked up for minor drug related crimes, if they were stopped and frisked, how it happened, etc. They are requesting for allies to go to court houses with a survey that the Drug Policy Alliance has created. The purpose of the survey is about identifying numbers. Allies would physically go to the court house with this survey and ask if people were interested in taking part. People that are interested in this survey would have to be available during the 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM court hours. Jordan and Samuel are the point people for looking into the surveys.
b.) Action mobilization and (potential) civil disobedience action. There will be a large action in about 3 weeks (time is being kept until close to last minute intentionally) and VOCAL-NY is looking for approx 10-15 white people to go up to police and ask to be stopped and frisked (this is one component of the action). There is a potential to get arrested during this so folks that would take place in it should be arrestable. In addition to the arrestable folks they are looking for people to get the word out about the action and promote. Audrey, Sarah, and Mae (yyyyyea CFA!) are interested in getting the word out about the action.
c.) Organized phone bank- They are looking for a coordinated and organized phone tree to use when a cop fucks up to jam the phone lines of the court house. They are also looking for people to do follow up calls for the survey.
These requests were brought up at the ARA meeting and folks thought it would make sense to form a working group to focus specifically on VOCAL-NY’s request for allies in regards to stopping stop and frisk. Audrey said that she would write something up and send it to the list regarding this. It will be a hype email. Audrey’s words, not mine ; ).
4. Inward Facing– Do folks think that it is essential that ARA still attend spokes councils? Some people thought it would really depend on whether or not our allied groups and specifically the people of color caucus are still committed to attending the meetings. A proposal was made to have the inward facing items such as spokes council and the request from facilitation for training and grievances be included in this working group. Matthew is interested in being the point person for spokes councils, the code of conduct and training with the People’s Institute. There will be a meeting on March 22nd to talk about the People’s Institutes capacity on training with OWS. The education/people’s institute portion could be another working group, depending on capacity. Is anyone else interested in being a part of the inward facing or education/training working group?
5. Review of Allison’s List of Ideas– Allison’s list is great but assessing capacity is a huge issue. In theory these are excellent ideas. We could begin by doing the VOCAL-NY/Stop Stop and Frisk working group (or sub-committee of ARA, though sub-committee may be too non-profity for the sectarians). This sub-working group can be used as a model that will also help us reassess our capacity to maybe expand into some of the ideas that Allison brought up. We can use Allison’s list as a menu of things that ARA can potentially do but not make any promises. We can send this to the Immigrant Worker Justice Group, the Indigineous Group (currently undergoing a name change), Prison Solidarity Group, etc. Audrey will begin by bringing this up to the IWJG and see what they think.
6. Teach Pieces– If ARA’s meetings are down to once per month the teach pieces could be stronger as the other portion of the meeting will primarily consist of report backs and less decision making. There will also be more time to prepare. We will not widely publicize the teach piece.
It is important that people come to the next meeting to discuss the future of ARA meetings and make a final decision (with that said I know that Audrey, Mae, and I cannot make the next meeting, ha).
Kimber will write up an email describing the meeting with Sonni and will ask to see who is interested and keep a tally.
7. Announcements– a.) Cointelpro event from 5-9 at Judson Memorial Church this Friday, March 9. There will be a screening of Cointelpro 101, a discussion with the Jericho Movement and more.
b.) Labor Justice Event this WEDNESDAY. Audrey will send out info again.
c.) May Day- Audrey has been attending May Day meetings. Historically May Day has been separated with the immigrant rights rally taking place from Union Square and the Labor march taking place starting at Foley Square. There is more unity this year and the May 1st coalition and labor are in talks together. This makes Audrey’s heart leap (had to put that in there!) The plan is to pass by a detention center, pass by a hospital and bring up health care issues, and tie everything together.
c.) Someone came by and described that there will be a million man march in DC. He mentioned that it doesn’t matter who is putting it together, everyone will be there. it is a “million man march with all the tribes.” It will take place sometime between May 19-28 because they “have the land.” That is all.
Notes 26 February 20121
Attended: Adam, Kate, Allison, Michael, Jen, Matthew, Jeff, Sally, Paul, Joseph, Audrey, Ryan.
Town Square – Allison attended and shared table with Global Justice – AM quiet, PM busier. Trish gave Allison proposal to kick Town Planning guy out of Spokescouncil?
ARA listed as group she is a part of
Wed. 2/22 Spokescouncil Meeting – Safer Spaces Community Agreement Passed! YAY! There was a lot of nitpicky edits but it passed. Women Occupying Wall Street blocked. 28 for and 4 stand aside. This was 4th time it came to Spokes Council.
Prison Solidarity Action – Met at Lincoln Detention Center – great turn out – maybe 400-500? Excellent Prison Industrial Complex participatory teach-in. March to Wells Fargo where the Immigrant Justice Working Group made connection between the bank and its support for immigrant detention centers and PIC.
Allison brought up idea of how to bring more support and coordination to these types of actions. This action was not on the GA website until the day or so before. How can we tap into how other OWS groups that could help with actions like Arts and Culture.
Workshop/Teach-in on Greensboro Massacre – Sally and Paul will present at Judson Church on a Saturday Night.
They plan to share lessons learned on non-violence vs. a diversity of tactics, role of police, building multi-racial unity. They plan to show videotape and stories and discussion groups.
SEND Sally and Paul any suggestions for other Working Groups to invite and do outreach for the Workshop
ARA Visioning/Direction of this Group:
– Relationship with POC Caucus – in our Points of Unity
– Who we are trying to connect with?
– What kind of ally roles can we play?
– Requests to train Facilitation, participate with Grievance council
– Education Goals
– Capacity of Group
– Spokescouncl plan/Code of Conduct
Relationship with POC Cacus?
– Adam suggests changing Points of Unity to include being in solidarity with Immigrant Justice WG, PIC WG, other POC-led groups outside OWS
– Ryan suggests logistical ways to support other groups take some burden of admin work off of folks
– Paul – disunity within 99% – ARA has unity
– Audrey – embarrassing that we say we are accountable to POC caucus. No one is assuming that we are people to be allies to them
– Kate – do both- we can say POC but not only and broaden in Points of Unity
– Ways to reach out to POC? Spokescouncil a main place where informal relationships can be made
– Joseph – when are POC meetings? Accountable is misuse of words.
– Matthew – POC caucus – internal struggles very few POC WG folks are not attending S.C.
– Matthew is going to email his contacts within the POC WG for feedback on the Code of Conduct, Community Agreement and also ask about working together with Anti-Racism Allies. We would like to support events, trainings and also talk about how we can sort of formalize our support.
– Adam –informal get-together? Concretely how to get involved? Go to meeting and sit outside and only listen??
– Kate – POC Caucus – not a whole lot of meetings recently – offer some support?
– Allison’s Proposals: 1 – Adam drafts a revised sentence or 2 for Points of Unity 2- 1 person follows up with everyone who are collaborating in all projects 3- Matthew will contact POC Caucus as representative of ARA – cc ARA listserv
Who are we trying to connect with?
– Three Sisters Children – group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to do education and outreach to support Indigenous people. Education and outreach to Indigenous youth in NYC
– Stop Stop and Frisk
– Prison Solidarity Group
– Immigrant Justice W.G.
– POC W.G.
– How to be an ally to an ally group?
– How can we build unity of 99%?
– Perspective of anti-racism and anti-oppression that could be helpful
– Joseph – POC and particularly African-American health is import. AIDS walk – GMAC. Health Care for 99% usually at Town Square
– Allison – What is our capacity and Strategy?
Affinity groups? Coordination? Make use of folks and support actions liasoning with other groups
– Ryan – disperse anti-racist analysis outside this group – maybe not willing to come to training but would talk with us.
– ENDORSEMENT IDEAS: We have clarity on what we can offer. Bring ideas on slogans/signs to Arts and Culture, etc. We need more ideas.
– Brainstorm what does Endorsement of ARA mean?
– Clear idea of what groups we want to align ourselves with?
– Generate that list and assign groups to folks to do outreach with.
Are there upcoming actions/events to collaborate on?
– Sally – will ask Arts and Culture to make a banner for ARA
– Inward-facing – trainings?
– Supporting outward facing – specific and intentional building relationship and endorsing action – go out of our way/actively try to endorse things we want to support
– CONSENSED: ARA will support Stop Stop and Frisk, Immigrant Justice Working Group, Three Sisters Children, Prison Solidarity Group in addition to POC Working Group.
Code of Conduct Discussion Matthew G. How to handle inappropriate behavior and minimize disruption to Spokescouncil. Matthew gave out copies of Code of Conduct and ARA read through it and gave feedback.
CONSENSUS on supporting code of conduct with understanding that Matthew will send it back to us after revisions.
Notes 19 February 2012
Present: Jeanne (facilitation), Allison (notes), Adam, Heather, Paul, Bob, Kate, Christina, Audrey, Sahai, Jen, Eric, Joseph
announcement from facilitation/grievance:
facilitation WG struggling with people using process in an oppressive way and they are lacking the tools as facilitators in calling it out; need ways to shift things out of the personal/interpersonal incident to discuss as broader issue
group of people developing grievance council (to be renamed) and are reaching out to caucuses, people working in transformative/restorative justice to help in early stages of formation. Meets every other Friday starting next Friday 3/2 at 6:30 at Quaker House in BK, taking discussion back to Open Space discussion every other Friday.
Q: What is the relation between grievance, code of conduct, and safer spaces wg?
A: Safer spaces community agreement calls for a grievance process but does not outline it, so this is a response to that. Currently grievance process people are mainly from mediation, safer sapces, and facilitation. Code of conduct is a piece that Matt is working on that may fit into community agreement to give specifics about expectations.
Suggestion: open discussion with ARA and facilitation WG, not necessarily
POI: there is a training discussion happening, incl. capacity and connecting people to resources
Q: Why can’t hand gestures be directly addressed?
A: often times people are called out and the situation escalates—recently has led to violent confrontations or almost violent confrontations
Town Square reportback + upcoming Town Square
got about 25 new contacts; gave out a lot of information; good vibes
next town square is 2/26 at Tomkins Square Park > Do we want to participate?
ACTION POINT: Town Square table – Jeanne and Allison will informally feel out being there w/ dual hats at global justice table. Will put out email to group about helping to table.
Spokescouncil discussion and discussion of ARA goals and priorities (part I):
Q: Is SC dying?
Spokes not coming to a natural end b/c there is a small group of people very invested in it and the dynamics there. Think it needs to be dissolved and a budgetary council needs to be put in its place.
Needs to be a mindful process of how it’s done; lot of gatekeeping and people are not willingly stepping down.
Community agreement going to spokes on Wednesday.
lots of lashing out behavior is because of oppressive, suppressive power dynamics, which provoke people
lots of groups that represent at spokes were really relevant for when there was an encampment, they are operational, but not about movement-building, which is such a big part of ows.
part of what happens in sc is that people just debate sc process. It is an operations spokescouncil, but without an encampment to discuss operations of and feels like no meaningful budgeting work could ever get off the ground there. does our presence there only help perpetuate and legitimate something that is broken? can we address ows’s internal dynamics/oppression issues in spaces other than spokes? is our limited capacity better spent engaging with “movement” groups, since without an encampment, ows is much more definited by “movement” groups than “operations” groups.
question of what it means to be an “ally” – usually it’s a concrete understanding of what/who we are being an ally to but here we don’t have a clear working relation with POC wg and project we are working with them on; lots of people have left POC wg, been alienated
Q: why was the stated reason spokes was created?
A: decision being made about encampment and little expenses about encampment that were taking up the GA and that didn’t make sense and function well in GA. Also, there was no accountability structure for working groups or way for working groups to coordinate with each other.
Q: Where is the POC caucus around spokes today? Not long ago, felt it was important to be there participating and fighting for certain agreements.
A: Our communication with POC caucus is totally informal and personal at this point. We don’t have clear, structured communication w/ POC caucus. We need to re-evaluate the principles of unity and/or our goals.
Would like to have more energy to do build awareness, participation in relevant issues, such as prison-industrial complex mass action
true that relationship with POC caucus hasn’t materialized
may not be spokes and GA as priority places to engage, but OWS should still be the place to bring anti-racism analysis to. What are the actual ways through education or garnering more support we can engage people here.
POC has virtually stopped attending SC
If task for success is to unify the 99%, anti-racism is key
went to Harlem99 meeting and it was so white!
came to ARA group b/c saw issues that needed to be addressed w/in OWS, and obviously some things haven’t worked out well w/ intentions to have clear structure of communication w/ POC wg. But think things will come together in spring; need to use meetings and energy more strategically and more focused–need to pick one thing and focus on it. Think creatively about working more with immigrant workers wg, stop stop and frisk, and prison industrial complex subgroup.
focus energy on education, workshop on white privilege
there is a critical need for anti-oppression lens to be brought to internal process
movement for justice in el barrio as another great group to work with
don’t think of either/or but of dialectical relationship between ows and community-based orgs
develop analysis of how racism emerged; so important how you present it
two different aspects of moving forward: one that is inward facing, dealing with internal dynamics and oppression within OWS, and one that is outward-facing, about the content of the struggle, working w/ different groups with which we feel an affinity and whose struggles should be central to OWS. Each direction needs a focused, strategic plan for proceeding in light of our capacity.
how do you build with people who don’t want to be accountable? it’s a dead end and it’s a huge thing.
internal dynamicsà specific asks from facilitation, involvement in grievance council,
movement buildingà working w/ stop stop and frisk, immigrant worker justice wg
need to switch up points of unity and think about accountability process in rel. w/ these groups that we are working with on campaigns.
capacity. not comfortable leading workshop, but we do do our teach pieces here every week as part of meeting. our capacity is really limited. number of people at meetings is shrinking. Need to have discussion specifically about capacity.
goal is to fight racism within our own ranks. nobody has magical workshop that will solve this. people are not going to be receptive at first.
shift our energy in spokes to way we can institutionalize structures and processes that can make it more difficult to perpetuate oppressive dynamics and bolster accountability.
We are not going to reach everyone, but the people like folks in facilitation wg who are reaching out to, we can and should work with.
POINT OF ACTION: consensed upon idea that there are two areas to develop strategy on: addressing internal dynamics/racism at OWS and movement-building with groups working on the issues we think it is critical for ows to be addressing. Next meeting will continue discussion, starting with the “how.”
pipeline in Puerto Rico
gigantic issue that all sectors of society in PR uniting to stop; on verge on partial victory
power right now in US Army Corps of Engineers.
today was large demo in San Juan, w/ solidarity demo at federal bldg. in US – people were there from ows in espanol and environmental wg; talked to ARA about co-sponsoring some sort of teach-in and link issues (e.g. w/ XL pipeline)
NY Contra Gaso ___? as local solidarity group
Tabled until next meeting, where we will discuss what it means to co-sponsor (we should develop what that means!)
on prison-industrial complex and demands of nat’l day of action
Upcoming agenda items:
–code of conduct will be teach piece (March 4 will be from Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow)
–goals and priorities discussion, part 2: how of internal work + working w/ other groups work (incl. what it means to co-sponsor and incl. discussion of capacity)
–pipeline in Puerto Rico cosponsor of teach-in
–teach-piece for TWO weeks from now will be something from Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow
Kate and Adam will facilitate
Notes 5 February 2012
In attendance: Eliott, Heather, Kate, Allison (facilitator), Kimber (germinator), Jeanne, Adam
Still waiting to hear back from the POC caucus before planning a training.
Still working on possible training with the People’s Institute.
Members of POC Caucus and ARAllies had a meeting where the People’s Institute training was proposed. While the folks who are closely involved with People’s Institute were interested in pursuing a training, the rest of those present were less interested in it for the time being due to feelings of burn out and feeling tapped out on trainings. Folks wanted to find a way to have a more informal mixer, so Kimber has been working with 3 members of POCcoupy to nail down some definite dates. We’re thinking 3 events to get us going–one potluck, one trip to karaoke and something in the Bronx. This doesn’t mean that the other training is off the table, but just for now for those of us with POCC and ARA at that meeting–doesn’t mean that others couldn’t plan it. People twinkled their support of the idea of some informal mixer-ing between our groups.
Waiting to hear back from Prison Solidarity Working Group about next steps for their F20 day of action in NYC–they had at one point requested support with logistics about finding space & doing outreach for a series of teach-ins about the Prison Industrial Complex. Their meetings are Tuesdays at 6:30pm in the Atrium at 60 Wall.
Occupy Town Square: ARAllies has a table!! Now we just need people to staff it–Heather and Kate have volunteered so far. Will send request to the list for other takers. Kate will send an email with a tabling kit, which will include attachments to all of ARA’s lit. We also want to include any flyers for upcoming events/actions that our partner orgs are doing (STOP S&F, Picture the Homeless, Movement for Justice en El Barrio, etc.). Heather and Eli will co-facilitate a teach-in that day, which will be conducted similar to the “teach piece” section of one of our regular meetings. Kate will look through Catalyst materials and suggest a reading re: Whiteness/white privilege/white supremacy101 and Kimber recommeded “White Supremacy Culture” by Tema Okun. We decided to CANCEL SUNDAY’S REGULAR MEETING and encourage people to go table and attend the teach-in at Occupy Town Square. Allison will help send email reminders to the ARA list. Kate will check in to see if there are anti-HB56 petitions that we can put out for people to sign. We also talked about making signs opposing HB56 and taking pics of ourselves with them to send in solidarity with organizers in Alabama.
Movement for Justice en El Barrio event on March 8–who is going? Heather will send reminder email to the ARA list because they want people to RSVP
Teach piece/ spokescouncil check-in:
We read Sonny Singh’s piece on spokescouncil: http://infrontandcenter.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/occupying-process-processing-occupy/
People had generally similar reactions of frustration, anger, and disappointment with what’s happening at spokes.
There were a number of things said about one particular white non-trans man member of the Housing WG who continues to wield a lot of power in the room–people think it’s strange how people at spokes agree often with him as he unilaterally decides who is “violent” and who is not. Various people in the group have had negative experiences when trying to interact with this person about race and other power/privilege dynamics, and those interactions have left at least one person feeling really upset. We talked about how Sonny’s point about the larger systems of violence that are present alongside interpersonal violence that are important to consider. There was a clear distinction made between dealing with systemic violence and in dealing with matters of personal safety. When it comes to personal safety, it was expressed that there are different ways of handling those situations that require immediate response in the moment. How do we respond to someone being physically attacked without calling the cops? How to we help make that person feel safe through some other means of community engagement and accountability? For those people who identify as survivors of violence, how can we make sure that they feel as safe as possible while not harming others or making others feel unsafe and/or triggered by violence that has been enacted on them in the past (e.g. by inviting the police into our “safe spaces”)? These are ongoing questions.
Three central threads from the conversation included:
Definitions of what counts as “violence” and how to address it
The problem of “gatekeeping” at spokes–who decides what to treat as fact or “common sense”? Who makes decisions for the group?
The issue of the POC caucus’s ongoing alienation from spokes due to the mistreatment they continue to experience at meetings
It would be useful to come back to these for a conversation at a future meeting.
Other questions that came up:
What is ARA’s engagement with spokescouncil? There is a general sense that there aren’t enough of us going to meetings to make it sustainable. Heather feels it is really important for us as members of this group to be at spokes as much as possible. Others agreed.
We need to have a conversation about our internal and external goals as a group. This is getting more confusing as we move forward with less of us going to spokescouncil meetings. Are we committed as a group to addressing the internal issues within the Occupy movement?
For our next regular meeting (Sunday, February 19th), we should all bring ideas about what we think of as important internal and external goals for this group.
Notes 29 January 2012
present: Heather, Audrey, Kate, Sarah, Sally, Allison, Jen, Viva, Matthew, Mae, Padraig, Kimber, some other late comers….
Facilitators: Viva and Heather
– Movement for Justice in El Barrio came to propose that we publicly endorse the march 8th (7:30pm) international women’s day event to honor indignadas from around the world.
– ARA agreed to endorse the event and will decide in the next week who will be part of the delegation present at the event.
1.Spokes Council (mondays and wednesdays at 7pm)
– proposal from housing: Ungoing and recurring to funding to park slope housing, 120 30 day metrocards and back pay for 86th st. church.
-women spoke up to say she felt unsafe in park slope housing.
– proposal from library: housing be ended by weekend, and it was accepted. No more churches for anyone.
– perspective that we can’t eliminate housing right away and leave people with nowhere to go. POC and ARA were the only ones who blocked proposal for this weekend (proposed 2 weeks), but there was a consensus for housing to end in one week (for park slope, this tuesday night). 86th had their last night yesterday.
– issues of personal violence get highlighted while institutional violence is largely ignored.
– maybe ARA can come with a statement about the complexity of violence.
– Grassroots housing initiative with different leadership coming out of this proposal.
– Allison and Heather are going to spokes tomorrow, monday 1/30.
2. Stop, Stop and Frisk -Event (in South Bronx) was inspiring and rejuventating. Outreach method was very effective because so many people have had the experience.
-10 kids between the ages of 10/11 not related to action volunteered to share. They all had a story to share about police harassment.
– This could use more support from everyone because it so seriously affects black and brown people.
– “police are not the 99%”- chant that showed clarity of attitude towards police.
– ARA will put all stop, stop and frisk events on NYCGA calender.
3.Tear Gas Teach-in
-discussion of militarized policing. OWS event that had clarity of role of police.
-Heather wants to do a teach piece at some point about this, or contact the person that facilitated (Linda Alcoff) to come and do it with ARA.
5.Anti-Oppression Training– email was sent out to POCC today to see if they wanted to work in a sub-group to plan trainings. Would have been discussed at mixer, but since it was postponed anti-oppression group decided to go ahead and send email to pocc.
-one response was that someone was supportive but didn’t want to keep having conversations about trainings, want to be part of them.
-meeting this week to pick a new date for mixer.
-J29 organizing from the margins meeting was cancelled last night, announcement wasn’t sent to list.
-We should move forward even if other groups are also planning trainings etc. because there is lots of energy around anti-oppression work that we can all bring
6.J29 Occupy town square
-getting back in the park and sense of openness and pulling in new people.
-ARA should have a table next time around. Febuary 11th (at 86th st church), and F26 (outdoor)
– bring it up again at next meeting—who can be there?
7.Code of Conduct from Spokes
-send feedback to matthew
8.J24 anti-racism training
-Led by 2 womyn of color who do re-evaluation training. peer-2-peer counseling that creates a safe-space. Training used issues of identity to talk about race in a very safe space. Very beneficial to talk about where we come from and who we are to talk about race.
-trainer expressed distrust of white people and discomfort with the idea of being part of OWS. This coming from a community organizer of 30yrs from brooklyn.
-more trainings to come.
9.Unsettling occupation— panel at Left Forum, moderated by Sally
10.KZFR, in Chico, CA radio show on Anti-Racism in OWS. Matthew was featured. He’s going to share with us.
-Matthew: “If you see something, Say Something” -work of allies. Historical perspective and humility are the 2 essentials for young white folks involved in OWS to recognize and internalize.
-Citywide GA planning meeting (~100ppl), more visioning than concrete planning.
-April 15th, as proposed date for citywide GA which would include all neighborhood assemblies. This would lead into May Day.
-May day, calls for general strike across city/country. Pushback from may 1st coalition, who mostly represent immigrant labor, who cannot participate. Labor also can’t be part of it. Laundry workers center, UFT, were there. may day would be called “a day without the 99%,” by may 1st coalition.
-a day in the streets, accommodate everyone.
2. Prison Solidarity Group
-F20 day of solidarity with prisoners.
-ARA could help organize the logistics (as per the prisoner solidarity group’s request: what working groups, when, where) for teach-ins lead by the prisoner solidarity working group leading up to F20 around the prison industrial complex.
-Folks should contact kate directly if interested in supporting logistics for the teach-ins.
3.Picture the Homeless, no response as of yet from Brooke.
1-reach out to do some event or teach-in with them around homelessness.
2-PTH hosts civil rights meetings at there office on tuesdays at 2pm. And thursdays from 10:30am at the holy apostale. Good place for allies to connect. Next time Kimber plans on going she’ll notify list to join her.
February 4th, LP solidarity day at riverside church.
The one hour for Self-Education on HB-56, facilitated by Kate: Alabama’s anti-immigrant bill and the harshest law of its kind in the country.
n Read 2 page fact sheet on the bill as well as a letter from a white anti-racist organizer working in Alabama with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice
n Read out loud some of the bill’s provisions and the impacts they are having on undocumented people in Alabama
n Spent a minute in silence letting the impacts sink in, feeling the gravity of how this affects people’s lives. Then sharing of initial responses.
n Small group activity: how does HB-56 reflect common ruling class/capitalist strategies and logic, especially in a time of economic downturn?
- Group report back: scapegoating of immigrants, scarcity model, fighting each other for what is left, diverting attention from the larger issues of failing capitalist economy to “bad illegals”, asking poor and middle class white people to enforce this law in exchange for power over people of color and immigrants although still highly disempowered compared to the ruling class, basic DIVIDE AND CONQUER strategy
- Need for more dialogue around how to engage white people from a variety of class backgrounds to reject this strategy and logic and side with anti-racism and supporting the struggles of people of color rather than the ruling class Right
n Brainstorm around ways to resist HB-56 and organize against it, ways to support Alabama from NY:
- Call senators in Alabama
- Social networking—blast our social networks with information about the bill, as many people don’t know that this is happening in Alabama
- Tabling with information and petitions that we can send to Alabama (at upcoming OWS Town Squares, Feb 11th and 26th)
- Joint teach-in with Immigrant Worker Justice working group?
- More to be discussed at next week’s meeting, since we ran out of time
Check-Out: Appreciations from the Meeting
Facilitator for next week’s meeting: Allison
Teach-Piece: Kimber, on ALEC
Meeting Notes 22 January 2012
Facilitator- Sally; Note taker- heather. Present: Sally, Heather, Bob, Matthew, Kate, Mae, Paul, Padraig, Tammy, Ryan, Viva, Jeff, Joseph and others during teach piece but I was unable to get all their names
1. Spokes council report-back
- There was a violent Incident at Wednesday’s (1/18) spokes council during distribution of cards between some Occupiers staying, at one of the spaces OWS is housing people (see email with report back earlier this week) and Jeff from Housing brought an emergency proposal to ban perpetrator from the movements resources, sleeping, eating, space, etc.
- Conversation among Spokes raised many concerns, we discussed how this intensified race and class dynamics
- The ” road back ” has been brought up in different spaces and the group discussed the possibility of being a part of that
- Someone expressed that they felt strongly about drafting a statement about why what we observed in Spokes is problematic from a racial justice lens
- Creating a google doc to download information from all of the observations and to use for when we do work around racial justice so that we will have something concrete to pull from was also discussed
- It was raised that a Code of conduct is integral in these types of situations so that we have a standard way of dealing with these behaviors. To the note, a Grievance process is being put together by safer spaces and we discussed lending our support to them on that. Other occupy sites have a code of conduct and this group should work hard to be a part of that.
- Several agreed that the google doc was a good idea, perhaps with a timeline and bringing it to Spokes Council in a creative way
- Someone raised an important concern “from the perspective of people who work in the movement all day everyday” that people are going to get annoyed if we present a timeline as opposed to being open to listening. A lot of people are frustrated with the race analysis language because it isn’t understood and not being able to do anything in spaces because of disrupters who seem to be doing things purposefully. Members of the group appreciated and echoed this sentiment. However, it was also acknowledged that if there is any role for this group at all, it is to name this stuff and to spread it and do the education in a respectful way, to keep this stuff on our agendas and to think of creative ways to communicate and to keep it from becoming rhetoric.
- Audrey volunteered to start a template for the timeline and then people can input things as they happen, but we agreed that this should be a tool we use internally for now.
- Someone offered that an idea that has been put on the table in other working groups of having a space to have a listening session about a code of conduct where people can give ideas.
- Along the same line, Shira announced that there will be an anti racism workshop Tues night specifically about the emotional impact of race
2. Notes from allison
- Allison had been in communication with Tech Ops, who have been looking to do some race, class, gender analysis and dialogue in their WG. The idea came up that we might do a co-self-Ed piece with them since our Sunday meetings sync up and we consented that this was definitely something we wanted to follow up with.
- UPDATE: I have spoken to Allison and she is going to reach out and see if Tech Ops is still interested.
3. Brainstorm and follow up
- Greg sent an email regarding upcoming event with stop and frisk that took place this week
- Mae- asked if we wanted to get a committee together to have a dialogue with Picture the Homeless, and also that they had an event coming up which she previously emailed us about committee getting together with PTH. Bob connected with exec. Director of PTH and she was very encouraging about usg etting together with them (housing works also a really good organization that we might want to look into collab-ing with)
- Committee formed to go forward with this: Ryan (point), Mae, Padre, Audrey, Kate
- Audrey- finally got on the May day list serve!!! Tammy added that May Day was called out by Occupy LA and that a small committee was working on it and with the immigrant rights groups.
- Conference call to talk about it nationally
4. Teach piece “A Basic Call to Conscious, Iroquois Address to the Western World.” We had visitors from a workshop on Native American tradition that was led Bill Record, a member of the OWS elder council.
5. Ideas regarding Teach Piece:
- Have a thanks giving circle at the beginning of every meeting
- To have a larger teach in during one of the non commercial holidays, I.e., spring equinox, “earth day”
- Reach out to working groups around environmental issues
- Sending a message to the indigenous people’s working group and let them know that we are in solidarity
- Matt met radio show host who wants to interview people next Saturday over telephone. If anyone is interested, please email him directly.
- Shira was looking to see if anyone had any access to space for Tuesday nights training. Should get report back at next meeting.
- Audrey announced that Karanja sent out email about intersectionalities workshop Monday 1/23at 2 pm. Also, earlier that Sunday had been was a meeting about a citywide GA which will happen in the spring. She wanted to know if the group thought there should be an ARA presence.
- Caroline announced that the j29 training/mixer has been postponed.
- Bob announced that Occupy Oakland has called for National Day of of Prison Solidarity. Next planning meeting was following Tuesday at 6 pm. This might be recurring. Email Bob if interested. Same group is working on workshops. Should we invite them to schedule a workshop with us sometime between now and feb. 20th? (these things will be addressed at next meeting)
- Kate announced that she and I wrote the email for POC Caucus in regards to joining us for the anti-oppression training sub-group.
- Mae announced that on February 12 at 2 o clock there will be an event at trader joes- more details to come.
Next weeks self Ed will be Kate
Co-Facilitators: viva and heather
Meeting Notes 15 January 2012
12 present; Audrey – facilitator, Sam – notes
Think Piece: excerpts from MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail and his book “Where do we go from here” We focused on the issues he raised re: the role of allies and white people, and how his writings applied to OWS and the current political climate. MLK events: Tomorrow morning rally at the African Burial ground Broadway and Wayne 9AM MLK parade at Laurelton Blvd and Park and march to the Martin Luther King Center at 615 Riverside up 5th Avenue from 61st – 86th Street in Manhattan.
*:* Monday 16 January, 10:30am Technical issues: People need to register as users on the nycga.net website, which is where we, as ARA, will have our web presence. Here is the URL: http://www.nycga.net/ . Please create a user account if you have not already so that as soon as our web group is up, you can “join” it. It’s like facebook, but for occupy wall street, and is what we are expected to use! spokescouncil representation: the original process was that groups apply to be in operations spokescouncil and then they are approved, but until they are approved or not approved they get to speak. Because we were there at the beginning and applied, but then disappeared before a decision was made about our inclusion, and then we recently reappeared (following requests in the wake of the aryan brotherhood incident), it seems to have been lost in the shuffle that we were never officially approved as an operations spokes. Because we have been fairly visible/vocal in the past couple of weeks and people might not realize ARA never was formally approved as operations, we felt that we needed to move forward asap clarifying our standing. There are 10 GA’s opperating around the city, at least one in each borough. So far we only have representation in the Manhattan one. The issue was raised that we need to put aside our potential white guilt/feelings of discomfort that might arise from being some of the few white people at the GA, and make our presence known. * we need to make our past meeting minutes available. We decided that before we do so, we want to vet/approve them, in transcribed discussions replace people’s names with P1, P2 etc… although we do need the names of the facilitator, stack taker and time keeper. Allison is the point person on this, but she needs help. The best thing would be for past minute takers to do the first revision and she will unify the format for all of them. This needs to happen by Friday.
* Event Conflict: On Jan 29th there are two overlapping anti-racism workshops/events happening. Neither of them are going to change the date and time. We should send at least 5people to each, so during the following meeting we can report back and perhaps do a training back from what we learned. Details about the events have been circulating through the list serve but just a quick reminder 1) POC Mixer/ARA training- focuses on how to deal with racist comments/incidents that occur at OWS 2) The other focuses more on the meta level by discussing the structure of OWS Sarah will be the point person to make sure we have representation at both events. Safe spaces & the Censure proposal – Overall people expressed deep concern about the censure proposal, and the sentiment was “does this actually have a chance of being passed?” and that we should try to be at the GA this will go up at (since it got tabled last Sat).We need to figure out a way to deal with legitimate concerns as well as create space in which the accusation is not accepted/acted on based solely on the accusers race/gender. We decided that an education component is the way ARA should deal with this issue. We need to figure out a way we can bring this discussion into the GA and SC. In terms of more immediate action- a propsed “code of conduct” was sent out via email to all of us- send feed back ASAP to Matthew he is a go between ARA and the safer spaces community. The code of conduct is being discussed on wed.
Upcoming events: Stop and frisk: 1/16 education and out reach event on 125th 1/27 Protest to stop stop and frisk- mass arrests expected Popular Resistance, Militarized Repression : american Tear gas from Cairo to Oakland. A teach in the connections between police violence at home and the repression of protesters abroad, how US companies profit from weapon sales toe Egypt’s supreme council of the armed forces and WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP thursday Jan 19th 7 PM 56 walker st. http://on.fb.me/z23J89 Sally went to a follow up meeting to Unsettling Irondale- a way to bring Indigenous Americans into OWS. It’s not an offical working group, but rather a working group in progress. It’s led by Indigenous Americans, but is open to all. Sally will keep us posted on up-coming meetings and future actions. Audrey is still working on getting in touch with the folks organizing the May Day event. Update about the spending freeze: The goal is to create an overall budget from which people request money. As it is now, people/groups are requesting and receiving $ with out the group as a whole knowing how much money we have. this is not sustainable. The spending freeze will not impact food, transit or housing.
Meeting Notes, 8 January 2012
Attendees: Adam, Sally, Mae, Padraig, Allison, Bob, Sarah, Rachel, Chelsea, Jean, Joanne, Michael, Audrey notes – Adam; facilitator – Mae 1.
*Getting on the GA website (Allison)*- In process of getting on NYCG website. We consensed upon a blurb but it was too long for the websites capacity (max of 350 characters). We might hit an obstacle on getting on the website. Each group needs a link to the meeting notes in which the group was “officially” accepted by OWS. We need to go to a GA as the anti-racism allies group and present our group to be “accepted.” Mae, Bob, Audrey, Padraig, Allison have volunteered to go to the GA. Allison will send out the blurb to the list (which she already did!)
2. *Racial Justice Organizing Workshop (Adam, Sally)*- Follow up conversation From 11:00 – 2:00 PM there was another follow up to the organizing within a framework of racial justice facilitated by members of the POC caucus. The original workshop had about 3/400 people and took place instead of a spokes council meeting. Things that came out of the meeting (a vast oversimplification but what was discussed at this meeting): Don’t get involved in anger and frame things as positive OWS should be a network to support local movements as opposed to seeing itself as the epicenter and most entitled and important movement that exists Need to deal with values, have humility, people need to become more human (which itself, is a radical act.) Working with not working for Honoring mother earth- living in a sustainable world *Critique*- speaking from a non-intellectual level since many people are overwhelmed with this activisty language. *Next steps that came out of the meeting*: This group will meet regularly. The next meeting was scheduled for *January 29* at *11:00 AM* at the same location as today (*520 8th Ave*) though location and time was kind of tentative. Elders from different places/movements will convene and discuss the role of elders in OWS. 3. *Anti-oppression training group (Mae)* Another sign up sheet was passed around for people that are interested in learning how to give and giving anti-oppression training (train the trainer esq) educational workshops. If you are still interested in this please email Mae
4. *Self-Education Portion* Group breakout based on reading about homelessness and reportback from spokes council meeting and the usage of the term “homeless.”
5. *Brainstorming* Different ideas were brought up for brainstorming. People signed up to be point people as the liaison between the anti-racism allies group and the groups working on the various issues/campaigns/etc. *May Day-* ARA’s involvement in May Day. Direct Action seems to be amped up about massive arrests though May Day has been focused on immigrant rights and many undocumented folks march. Working out this problematic aspect. Audrey is the point person. *Indigenous Group on tar sands XL pipeline- *There was a follow up to the ”Unsettling the Occupation” event which was led by indigenous folks looking for support for the tar sands campaign against the XL pipeline and how the creation of the pipeline would effect indigenous land. Next meeting for this group is tomorrow, *1/9* at *6 PM* at the *atrium*. Bob and Sally are the point people for this and will be at the meeting tomorrow. *Leonard Peltier-* Campaign for presidential clemency. There is a big event planned for February 4th. We should reach out to folks that are organizing this and find out how ARA can support the action. Bob will send out info on the event to the list. *Fracking-* We should consider looking into what groups are doing anti-fracking work and seeing how we can support. *Stop Stop and Frisk*- very active campaign. Greg was volunteered to be the point person since he has been very active in the campaign. *Picture the Homeless-* Linking up more closely with picture the homeless and talk about further teach-ins and actions events that they have planned/are planning. Ben will be the point person for this.
6. *Announcements * * * Different events taking place for MLK Day ARE: Worldwide candlelight vigil for change *1/15/12 *at* 7 PM *at the* Riverside Church* * * Journey of liberation from the African burial ground *1/16/12 *from *9:00 AM – 11:00 AM* * * Occupy the Federal Reserve.* **Response to a national call “occupy the dream” to link MLK’s politics to economic disparity.* *1/16/12 *from *10:00 AM – 1:00 PM* * * ”Occupy for Jobs” *1/16/12 *starts at *1:00 PM *at *Union Square* * * *Other events:* * * *1/17/12- *Harlem Mothers Speak out to Stop Stop and Frisk Bob will send out info on this.
Meeting Notes 3 January 2012
Facilitated by Bob and Natania Notes by Heather Present at meeting: Greg, Mae, Susan, Bob, Natania, Matthew, Jen, Heather, JoAnne, Hugo, Julene, Brian, Kate, Adam
*AGENDA* 1. Introductions and check-ins: Reflect on something you’re thinking about for the New Year
2. Report-back from Un-Settling Occupation event/discussion 12/28 – Heather and Bob attended – Discussion portion abbreviated due to time constraints; first portion consisted of various members of the Oglala Lakota speaking about solidarity with OWS, the struggle of indigenous Americans, and the ways in which OWS can benefit from incorporating indigenous activism into the movement – Bob reported (Heather left the event early) that there was no discussion of issue of ‘occupation’ terminology, which was planned, but that there was discussion of what could be done in the movement in general; OWS was criticized for its lack of priority of environmental issues – A follow up meeting on Monday Jan 9th at 60 Wall street at 6 pm – *Bob suggested that ARA consider getting behind either/both of two ideas:* 1. *Opposing the XL gas pipeline*- Obama signed a bill forcing him to decide in two months whether or note he will allow the pipeline to be built through the Lakota reservation 2. *Supporting political prisoner Leonard Peltier who has been in prison for 30 years for allegedly killing FBI agent during an attack on Sioux reservation*; question raised of whether we would be supporting/opposing these movements as a working group, or attempting to get OWS behind them in general to which it was decided that it would be as a working group, but no next steps were brainstormed. February 4th, there will be a national solidarity event for Leonard Peltier- Bob will hopefully provide more information on that as the date comes closer
3. Report-back from Spokes council: – Between the meeting after the “Aryan Brotherhood sign” incident and presently, various members of ARA have been present at the tri-weekly SC meetings – The meeting following the signage was very heated and both Heather and Bob reported back via email shortly after they attended; Bob gave a short synopsis of that report-backs here – Several members of the group expressed the need for anti-oppression training and that ARA should take on more education for white folks – In order to do this, we should utilize what resources we have and the different trainers we know collectively, and come up with a list of outside organizations that do anti-oppression training work – P1 expressed that she worked for Harvey Milk School, which did anti-racism trainings, and was willing to share with the group all the resources that she collected from those trainings – The conversation then segued into a discussion of the role of ARA at SC. In what way is ARA beneficial to SC? Do we need a presence at SC? – Several people expressed that SC represents a body where multiple groups are coming together; however, others believed that SC is not a functioning body and therefore, our presence there is irrelevant at this point and wasteful of time that could be spent doing other anti-racism work – Some Point of Informations were shared: 1. SC made a list of people at their last meeting that would banned from the meeting for being disrupters, list was then revoked and people were allowed in- people at the SC meeting were uncomfortable with this procedure because it lacked process of exclusion/inclusion; several of the people on that list were POC Caucus members 2. A proposal was passed, detailed in an email sent out on list-serve, which concerns ARA because on January 20th, we have to “re-register as a working group”- *more information about this needs to be acquired so we can determine next steps* – The conversation then steered back to anti-oppression training. P2 said he is part of facilitation and thinks this project should be undertaken by ARA, that Facilitation is potentially submitting proposal to limit SC and GA meetings to one weekly, and that if we approached Facilitation with a training, we would probably not be met with dissent – A brief conversation about how we, as Allies, differentiate between real disrupters v. issues of oppression in spaces like SC but because of time, it was decided that this conversation would be had after the meeting was over – At this point, two decisions were brought forth: *1. **Should there be an ARA presence at Spokes Council? *The group believed that, yes, this was important, and that we should continue with the 2-3 person rotation of SC presence and re-asses in a couple of weeks.** *2. **Should we create a sub-group to pool resources and create anti-oppression training? *Again, the group believed that this was important and a group of people from that meeting volunteered to be a part of this sub-group. The questions of whether or not there was a group serving this purpose in OWS already and their openness to other members were raised, as well as the question of training for trainers.
Request for interview by journalist – A journalist is writing a piece on the POC presence in OWS (Bob sent out an email previous to meeting) and wants input from ARA – Mae volunteered to interview with him and will hopefully be following up on this shortly, as his deadline for the article was the following morning
Announcement of January 8th “Racial Justice ARC” Planning Meeting – Follow up from December 15th training from Applied Research Center and organizing through a racial justice lens – Will be held from 11-2 at 60 wall street
MLK day – Mae reported-back from planning meeting she attended, was ‘confused’ by lack of unity in planning – Thus far, they’ve planned four hours of protests in front of theFederal Reserve (even though it will be closed for holiday) and a one hour ceremony in the early morning at the African Burial Ground National Monument – Mae wants to know if anyone else from ARA can come to the next meetings? (Unknown time and location) – Group talked about attending meeting and instead of separately creating an OWS MLK event, joining other organized events going on around the city. Possibly offering up some other solutions of ways to spend the day commemorating MLK, Jr. or possibly just creating a list of alternatives so as not to ‘infringe’ - Some suggestions were 1. Stop Stop and Frisk- Brian knows something is going on with this, will forward information? 2. JoAnn knows a woman at Trinity Church Task Force Against Racism who she will speak to 3. Adam, Heather, Mae, and JoAnne offered to work together to create a list of organized events going on around the city
Doodle poll results for meeting times · 19 people responded · New meeting time!!!! Sundays from 430 to 7 effective immediately (next meeting January 8th at 60 Wall St.) · Question raised of how the self-education component is going to be incorporated into the new 2.5 hour meetings · Brian expressed that he felt self education should be prioritized and that ‘organizing’ kept to a minimum · Kate proposed splitting meeting time in half for each portion · More discussion on this needed at next meeting!
Brainstorming/Next Steps/Comments *Be on time please! Next meeting will start promptly at 4:30 at 60 Wall street and will be facilitated by Mae!!!!!!*
Meeting Notes, 21 December 2011
Present: Heather, Allison (facilitator), Natania, Bob, Adam, Vanessa ‘
I. Opening (intros, meet and greet, points of unity)•
II. Meetings Moving Forward? ➢ PROPOSAL → Natania creates a DOODLE, group identifies how many options to meet as possible among sund., tues., and thurs slots. o We noted that the group at the previous meeting seemed to lean to either tues or thurs & that there are conflicting events on Sundays RE: OWS that we may want support/participate • Consider time slots of 630-9 or 7-930…DEADLINE on 29th effective immediately. • Discussed self education component due to the adjustment of only one meeting per week. o teach piece each week? Or maybe once a month? o Do we want to have those teach pieces more publicized/open (or some alternating) o Do we want to reduce them? Quality not quantity? o when do we reflect on experiences/debriefing in spokes council • Discussion RE: reevaluating the language of labeling our meetings as “logistics.” o Do we want to call it organizing meeting/experience sharing • Discussion RE: do we want to do project sub groups of ARA? And make another weekday evening or Sunday for those individuals but other members who are committed to the once a week meeting have an opportunity to be more present in other spaces (like Spokes or other Working Groups) or just not burn out.
III. Info for NYCGA.net presence: • We want to be on GA site, will wait until Dec 30 after determining new meeting day/time. o We need a short blurb and at least 2 administrators (administrators open to all – currently Natania, Adam, Allison o We can also put more info like our history (which should have a “last updated” component o All other approved ARA material (such as article re: “is talking about racism too divisive and our Points of Unity)
IV. Spokescouncil: • We recognize that it is important for us to be present and active at spokescouncil. • Discussion: Should we have a systematic approach for our presence/voice when participate and observing at spokes? A point of unity for us…? o Follow-up Question: Do we have any specific obligations if we become an operation group? Also does there need to be a spoke from every group each of their meetings (mon/wed/fri)? • *NOTE*: There was a recent policy passed at spokes council that no individual can spoke two meetings in a row (which means we need rotating members present) ➢ PROPOSAL →Heather creates a Doodle and maps out a calendar for January to see our capacity. After which, let’s really decide collectively how to move forward. Our doodle should include three slots for ARA members who can be present at that spokes meeting (two are secured to be a pair and a third back-up in case one cancels) o At end of January, we reconvene and give an honest assessment of our capacity.
V. collaborating with POC caucus: • Sunday, January 8th from 11am-2pm. Location: 60 Wall St Atrium (Location subject to change) would be the next strategy meeting to continue the conversation on racial justice workshops and develop a concrete plan for what organizing from the margins looks like in OWS. This meeting will be led by POC and is open to anti-racist allies of all races and ethnicities. • There has also been email correspondence discussing an action idea for a “Reclaim MLK Day – OWS.” There is a doodle calendar listing the upcoming planning meetings for those who would like to be part of the planning process •
——– Dec 15 facilitation tools discussion • See email for an in depth and greatly helpful account of that discussion
——– Occupy Racism National Call • Vanessa participated in that call (about 8 cities representing on the call) o Discussed how Boston has an Anti-Oppression working group that consists of members from various working groups (such as LGBT, POC, Immigrant Rights, Indigenous, White Allies etc…)….perhaps something to consider with OWS? o St. Louis, Boston, and New Orleans made a point of their commitment in supporting local, already established organizations in their city that have been doing this work long before the Occupy Movement. They emphasized how important it has been to be in solidarity with them, learning from each other, and present for local community organizing and actions. ➢ Follow-up Action: It was requested to have debriefing phone calls with other cities after there are days/events of action (especially when they are national actions). o It was requested to have a debrief call with folks who participated on the Dec 6.th Occupy Homes Day of Action and for the recent Immigrants Rights March
——– Visions Meeting • Bob attended and reported approx. 200-300 folks there • Some facilitation techniques that were positive and some negative
——– Immigrant Rights March: • There was a deep breakdown in the fact that the GA and immigrant rally march and major action was in direct conflict of time frame with the movement wide visioning facilitation…. o It was disturbing of gym filled with white folks and group of color outside in the 20degree weather in breakout groups … o WE SHOULD PLAY A MORE INTEGRAL ROLE in connecting conflicting events.
VII. Presentation from Solutions Cluster • Solutions Cluster reached out to ARA and presented for about 10mins on the history of the group and its mission. o Encouraged us to attend their meetings (usually Sundays at 5 however next meeting is: December 28th @ 60 Wall St at 7pm.) o They have only met a few times thus far and at this point its been an older/white/liberal/educated group of folks and is in the process of reaching out to other groups to be more consolidated (those who are most marginalized of 99% and then more young/radical) ➢ Summary: Solutions Cluster is a new effort to create a network of communication between document writing groups (demands, visions and goals, call to action- the group that wrote the declaration) and groups concerned with envisioning either problems or solutions (currently identified as sustainability, queer caucus, POC caucus, sustainability, political action, women occupy wall st…but could be many others). There has been no real presence from the POC caucus or allies yet. I think this is a place in the movement where dynamics around race and class are not yet being substantively named, and that this is likely to play out in some thorny ways moving forward. As solutions cluster attempts to unify how the movement articulates its ideals, I think it is important that a clear anti-racist perspective be sitting at the table, and I am personally struggling to be that voice. I am seeking allies for the coming weeks. On many levels, I think this clustering of working groups could really benefit from your group’s participation.
VIII. Next meeting facilitators + germinator + closing check-out • As many ARA folks are encouraged/asked to attend Spokes on Dec 28th. • Next meeting = Tues., Jan 3rd (7-9) centerpiece re: big action/spokes/updates re: Doodle response for official meeting days moving forward (CO-FACILITATORS = Bob & Natania)
Announcements: • Bob co-hosts a radio show every Monday called Health Action. Last Monday Dec. 19th they held a powerful interview of a woman whose partner was stopped, frisked, and arrested unlawfully on Friday Dec 16th (Bob and his partner witnessed the event). He also had a guest on the show, Chino, speak on the statistics and reality of Stop & Frisk culture within the NYPD and national scale. Chino helps lead The Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives (http://ijjra.org/) • Bob’s show can be accessed through the archive site (Archive.wbai.org) …you have to scroll down to the Monday, Dec. 19th Health Action link.
Meeting Notes 18 December 2011
1- We propose we hold this week’s logistical meeting on Wednesday at 7-9pm at the Atrium at 60 Wall St. ***We propose that the goal of this meeting is to solidify our meeting times. In the event that 60 Wall St is still closed (it was yesterday, I do not know the status today), Kate Cardona offered her apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn for the meeting. 2. Are there 2 volunteers for Monday(tomorrow)’s and Wednesday’s Spokescouncil? 7pm. Location still TBA. If so, please write to the list! 3. Can folks from the morning ARA meeting send out a short summary? Thanks! 4. Can folks from the Debrief about the 12/14 racial justice workshop meeting send out a short summary? Thanks again! 5. Our Meeting report back: We were able to cover the history of Anti-Racism Allies, our Points of Unity, and have an interesting discussion of White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh. There were two folks at the meeting who were new to our group along with Kate Cardona, Natania, Vanessa and myself. It was great to talk about the article. We specifically talked a lot about the use of the words white privilege and white supremacy within movements.
Meeting Notes, 7 December 2011
Present: Kimber (facilitating), Audrey (notes), Jill, Jeff, Caroline, Mae, Anna, Kate, Jen K, Adam, Bonnie, Sally, Maralena, Natanya, Bob, Meg, GKM, Marcus, and others who came and left and whose names I didn’t catch.
*We discussed: * 1. Spokes Council – Our potential role & revisiting our meeting schedule / structure to be more involved 2. December 14th Training 3. Decolonize OWS Proposal 4. Update on Prison Industrial Complex Group 5. Immigrant Rights March 6. Picture the Homeless announcement *We did not discuss (and therefore need to revisit?):* 1. Facilitation training on December 15th, 7-9pm in Atrium 2. Report back from D6 3. Report back from Movement for Justice in El Barrio 4. Update from Spokes Council / GA / Internet Working Group 5. Update on possible collaboration about banks, lending, and racism / white supremacy with the education sub committee of POC WG.
* * *1) Reportback on Spokescouncil mtg · Dynamics within facilitation team – want anti-oppression training · Dynamics in the spokes council – Roles that allies group can play – often people say “this isn’t about race”. Brainstormed approaches to supporting a healthy process and having everyone be heard. Danielle suggested a “listening’ element at Spokes (people can share their story each week). Another suggestion – working area to brainstorm around material needs. Another idea – have people from allies group present (either formally, which could be weird, or informally – just more people in the room committed to naming racism when it’s manifesting) – and also reflecting back to the facilitators on what we observe. Tension between an agenda-driven meeting and a relationship-driven meeting – problematic. *Comments from group – in response to report back and regarding whether we should be at spokes council meetings more regularly:
* *A few proposals – * 1) Move our Weds mtg to Tues or Thurs 2) Cancel the Weds mtg and have only the Sunday mtg. In lieu of the Weds mtg we can evolve a sub-group structure that can work on projects and meet on ad hoc basis. 3) Cancel the Weds mtg and have all of us commit to going to Spokes. Do we keep Sunday as a teach or logistics mtg?
* * *Decision* One longer meeting per week (2.5 hrs) that will incorporate both teach and logistics pieces. In the future we can decide if that is an openly publicized thing or if we create a diff structure to invite new people to join. Meeting this Sunday – 2.5 hours – develop a plan for 14th follow up in order to have a way for people to plug in after the anti-racism training that will be done at spokes on December 14.
* * *NB – This decision is still not totally resolved. We did not choose a day of the week to meet on nor what exactly our weekly meeting structure will look like and how new people could become involved with our group (open meeting question). We need to revisit this at December 11th mtg. * *
2) December 14th report-back and prep – Jen and Jill* Organizing with a racial justice framework – workshop of exploring anti-oppression through lens – Rinku Sen and Seth Wessler Freed will be doing the training. Still working on a location. They will ask people in the group to think about what’s working right and what’s not working and would like us to collect the responses. Training will be during Spokes Council, from 8-10pm. We may have time at the end to get up and say who we are and invite people to join us / tell folks how they can be involved.
* * *Next Steps:* · We’ll hear from Jen / Jill if there’s anything more we can do. · On Sunday, we can talk about how we’ll frame this group on 12/14. · We can commit as a group to bringing our basic flyers and email Rinku with additional resources. · Jen is putting together list of resources, our meeting times, etc. Get in touch with her if you want to contribute and / or if you have photocopy capacity. She will coordinate.
3) Decolonize OWS proposal – Maralena* Native communities have a critique of the analysis and framing of this movement. Speaker at Liberty Plaza on Thanksgiving was lamenting that there wasn’t a lot of conversation about the land. Other occupations have made statements and / or changed their name to take into account the history of genocide on this land. Looking for one public, resounding statement. And vast increase in internal dialogue. This isn’t a movement about getting big money out of politics. Or about furthering middle class interests. This is a movement about decolonization and about healing the wounds. Looking for thoughts / feedback to find out if this is the right group to jumpstart this conversation. *Comments from group:* *P1* – Proposal about next steps – inventory of what the other occupations have done on this. *P2* – there was a decolonize working group – fell through the cracks. *P3* – talking about it is important and necessary to explore (perhaps in a teach piece) – and getting in touch with old decolonize group to see what’s already in the works. In Oakland it was brought forward by a Native American activist and supported by allies, which feels right. Maybe our role can be to put our feelers out to continue that conversation.
*Next Steps:* Circulated a sign up sheet for people interested in a subcommittee.Initial interest expressed by Maralena, Sally, Kate, Natanya, Bonnie, possibly Adam. Maralena took sign up sheet and will coordinate follow up.
4) Prison Industrial Complex Working Group Update · PIC WG is still meeting · They are shifting their structure to work on popular education · The group is 80% people of color and has strong leadership from people directly impacted by the prison system – we want to keep it that way! · They are figuring out ways that allies can be more involved and are very excited about ARA’s offer of support. · They will keep you posted as they figure it out!
5) Immigrant Rights March March is on December 18th. Group decided to endorse the march. Audrey will send info about the march to the group as well as about how people can join the Immigrant Workers Justice Working Group listserve. She will also inform IWJWG that we are endorsing.
6) Picture the Homeless Announcement – GKM shared that PTH is working on setting up a series of teach-ins about homelessness in NY. When he has more information, he will circulate it. He’s working on a flyer.
*Next Meeting: *Sunday, December 11th, 5-7pm in the Atrium. *Teach Piece Topic: *Decolonize OWS. *Germinator: *Maralena will share some literature. So will Caroline. Maralena can’t commit to being at the meeting, though. ** *Main Agenda Item: *Finalizing meeting schedule & structure and figure out December 14th announcement / ways for people to plug in as a follow up. *Facilitator: *Caroline is going to try to make it work. If she can’t, she’ll email the list to find someone else to take it on.
[missing notes from late November coming]
Meeting Notes, 2 November 2011
present: Present: Laura, Oscar, Mikey, Mae, Greg, Kate C., Jen, Charlotte, Caroline, Tammy, Alexi, Kimber, Meg
Facilitator: Mae & Greg; Notetaker: Jen
1. Movimiento Por Justicia del Barrio: P12 and P13 came to talk about the event they are planning for Monday night at 7pm, “Dignity is an Echo of the Heartbeat of the People”, a dialogue with Occupy el Barrio and Occupy Wall Street. Asking for three things: a. Commit to attendance at the event b. Promote the event and do outreach for it at OWS (Mae will send fliers to listserv) c. Be at the GA on Thursday night for support (will be deciding whether OWS will endorse) The idea for this event: MJB membership can’t be present at OWS all the time or even frequently due to work, kids, etc., so they are asking for folks to come to them and overcome barriers/fight against what divides us. They will present their struggle against gentrification and displacement, show films and more. “There is something political about listening”. *Later in the meeting we consense on officially endorsing this event. 2. P10: announcement about “Occupy Education” event to happen on November 8th when there is no school. Most of the schools currently participating are in Park Slope. Wants to do outreach to other schools and broaden participation. May or may not be something we can take on right now but good to have on radar. 3. Brooklyn GAs are happening and in need of anti-oppression work/trainings. Person not at meeting went to meeting and may have more to report. We may want to divide our ally energy between OWS & Occupy Brooklyn. 4. P6 in touch with POC working group re: accountability structure. Asked three things: Ideas for structure? Point person? Ideas for actions? Have not gotten to this at their meetings thus far but will be in touch. 5. P2: Stop Stop and Frisk Campaign: they would like people from OWS to participate more. Very mixed race, mixed class organizing group, would be great if more people from Anti Racism Allies could join. Tangible, concrete way of showing up, putting our bodies on the line and doing ally work. a. Date of next event is Nov. 15, time TBA, at the 103rd Precinct where cops who shot Sean Bell are from. b. It is hard to determine arrestability because you’re protesting outside of precincts—hard to determine risk. Thus far charges have been obstruction of government property and disorderly conduct. 6. Tabling: We would like to start this week. Caroline sent out a google doc with resources for tabling that anyone can add to. a. Check in with Town Planning about whether they have a table (don’t have a point person for this, I don’t think) b. Plan to table at first for 2 days/week c. 2 people can table at a time, perhaps one with more experience and one with less talking about privilege, racism, etc., especially to folks who might be hostile d. Copying materials: P1, P7 and P6’s partner have access to printing and copying and will do this. e. Process for deciding on what materials we use at the table: bring anything you want to use to the meeting and we will consense on it. f. Laura will make a Google Doc for tabling to see when people are available 7. P7: November 17th Day of Action: Breakfast, lunch, dinner portions of the day. Couldn’t quite get timing of everything but earlier there will be subway meet-up points, point people to soapbox and tell their story, get on train and continue sharing stories, meet up at Battery Park and march to Foley Square (4pm). Trying to do outreach for this in the outer boroughs as well/plan simultaneous actions in the outer boroughs. Get in touch with P7 for more details. – Nov. 11th and 12th – “Occupy Your Time” Service with the Outer Boroughs 8. Anti Oppression Trainings: P6, P8 and P9 had been in touch with a multiracial group of organizers who see the need for multiracial, multi issue anti-oppression trainings at OWS. This conversation has sort of fallen off but we should all get in touch. a. Proposal to the GA that every working group have an anti-oppression training? Person on the facilitation committee perhaps could help with this. b. People’s Institute Trainers—focus on anti-racism. Great trainings but also don’t want to/can’t be the only ones doing it. c. Need for more people who can commit to doing trainings. Perhaps forming a group just for people interested in TRAININGS: from Anti Racism Allies, People’s Institute, Safer Spaces, POC working group, Queering OWS, and folks P6, P8 and P9 are in touch with. d. Possibility of an Anti Oppression cluster? Jen will be at Safer Spaces meeting tonight and will check in. e. Follow up on the Full 99% trainings by People’s Institute Trainers from Oct. 25th will be on Thurs. 11/3. Another person not at meeting, P7, and P9 will be there and will report back. 9. Endorsement/Group Structure Discussion: a. Can we endorse The Movement for Justice in El Barrio event without clear accountability structure in place? How to check in with folks we are supposedly accountable to without this? How to go forward without template for decision-making? b. When starting group we said we wanted to be accountable to many groups not just the POC working group. c. How is decision to endorse an event different than making decision to table? d. P1 suggests we endorse the event as Anti-Racism Allies, not as an official working group. We consense on endorsing event this way. e. We haven’t announced ourselves at GA. Discussion of why wait vs. why not? Waiting on feedback from POC Working Group re: points of unity, ways to be accountable to you, things to do, and how to have point person