- November 27, 2012
- St. Jacobi Church, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
- Facilitators: Drew and Becky
- Minutes: Dicey
- Meeting Structure Intro
- Meeting Agreements
- ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
- Working with FEMA & the City
- Accessing State Resources
- Needs & Concerns
- Politicization & Maintaining Autonomy
- Organizing to Prevent Displacement
- BAY RIDGE KITCHEN
- Overview: Establishment of New Kitchen
- Anticipating Orders & Working with Caterers
- Needs: Visibility & Volunteer Coordination
- Concerns: Sustainability
- Contact Info
- N27 NYCHA Action
- Potential D15 Action
- 11/28 Guerrilla Movie Premiere
- Needs: Make Actions Accessible
- CONEY ISLAND
- Relating to and Empowering the Community
- NYCHA v. Private Housing
- Cleanup & Construction Help
- Info to Disperse
- Rockaways: Working w. Communities & Medical Orgs
- Medical Dispatch
- STATEN ISLAND
- Olympia Hub
- Ongoing Cleanup & Canvassing
- Needs: Regular Volunteers, Medics, Housing
- INTEROCCUPY & SOCIAL MEDIA
- Social Media Strategy
- Occupy SMS
- Conference Calls
- Closing the Space
- Clean-up & Rehab
- Needs: New Space & Volunteer Retention
- BREEZY POINT
- Dire Need for Resources & Volunteers
- SHEEPSHEAD BAY
- Canvassing & Cleanup
- Concerns: Resident Health & Site Sustainability
- NEW JERSEY
- Matching Resources to Needs
- Need for Organizers
- CONSTRUCTION & CLEANOUT
- Cleanout Effort Status
- Respond & Rebuild Trainings
- Needs: Volunteers & Money
- 520 CLINTON
- Separating Volunteer Intake from Goods Distribution
- New Space & Responsible Phase-Out
- Get Distro Orders in by 4pm
- Transitioning into Community-Building Phase
- Battles with Developers
- Health & Displacement
- Media Presence
- Canvassing & Needs-Assessment
- Inter-Hub Communication
- Clinics & Canvassing
- Needs: Communication to Get Help Where Needed
- STORYLINE & MEDIA
- Gathering & Coordinating Media
- Regular Updates from Sites
- Keeping the Story Alive
- Community Pushback & Mistrust
- INCUBATION: Fundraising & Finances
- Emergency Funds
- Applying for Emergency Funds
- Participatory Budgeting
- More Incubation Team Bottomliners
- Resource Gatherings & Feedback
- Trainers Group
- Large Volunteer Groups
- Upcoming Trainings
- Risk & Safety Training
- Organizer & Community Engagement Training
- Concern: Standardizing Training
- RED HOOK
- ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Drew: “Hello everyone! My name is Drew; I’ll be facilitating tonight. I would ask that you find a space in the pews next to a piece of paper that has a location or role on it that you find an affinity towards, or that you are involved with. So if you’re in Red Hook, Red Hook’s over here; if you’re interested in the Bay Ridge kitchen, they’re sitting here. We are almost 45 minutes behind start time, so if we can settle ourselves, and become quiet and relaxed, we’ll get this started and… and have a really good time. Thank you.”
Someone: “I don’t think the people in the back heard any of that.”
Drew: “OK.” Gets on mic. “Ladies and gentlemen! Mic check!”
(Many voices: “Mic check!”)
Becky: “No, no, we’re actually just testing the mic.”
Someone: “All right, let’s get this party started. Let’s go.”
Becky: “All right, so, if you didn’t hear Drew’s announcement a minute ago, we’re asking that everybody — we have 20 different pieces of paper up around this room; some of them are locations, some of them are areas of work like kitchen or medical. Go find one that you have an affinity with, that you’ve been working with a lot, and try to sit near it.”
Meeting Structure Intro
Drew: “All right, while we’re all getting settled in, I’m just going to go over the general outline of how this meeting’s going to go. This came out of multiple discussions with a few different people, but unfortunately has been fairly rushed. So bear with us; we’re learning while we go, we’re building the ship while sailing… I’ll just jump right into it.
“So, around the room are pieces of paper that relate to locations and roles, and these pieces of paper all have 5 of the same questions on them: what has changed since last week, what are the two biggest things you are working on now — for the next week, and for the next month; what do you need to get these things accomplished; what are the two top needs in the area you’re working; do you have any concerns — political or otherwise?”
Becky: “Also, we have had people adding questions to some of them, so you may have some surprise ones that we don’t know about – to greet you when you get over there. And at the very bottom of the page — or on a piece of paper next to it – there is contact information. We’re working on interhub communication and trying to get better at talking to each other, so if you can put a central phone number that leads to your site, a Twitter account if you have one, email address for the site, and a Cel.ly loop if you have one — and if you want one of these and don’t have one, let us know — write it on the piece of paper, and we’ll help you get one set up for your area.”
Drew: “And try to explain the intention of the email, Cel.ly, cell phone, or phone number that you’re using. So once we’re — we’re going to go through introductions up here, and then we’re going to break out into these groups, and the people who have the answers to these questions are going to talk to each other. And we’re going to come back, and each — someone that is chosen from each of these pieces of paper is going to come up and give a three-minute reportback answering the questions that are up on the piece of paper. At three minutes, with 20 different groups, that’s one hour. We’re about 45 minutes behind schedule right now, so…. I’m sure you guys can do the math.”
Drew: “So, let’s jump into it. There’s meeting agreements that we tend to have in Occupy meetings and Becky’s going to go over some of those things.”
Becky: “So, the first thing is step up, step back; it’s the idea of letting — if you’re a voice that dominates generally, letting other people do some talking; hearing that other people have some really great things to say, and maybe that what you were going to say gets said anyway. And if you find yourself talking a lot, letting somebody else talk, and sort of self-facilitating in that. But also, if something’s not getting said, step up — get it done… and then step back, and see what happens.
“Another principle is WAIT — it’s an acronym for Why Am I Talking? If you’re just talking to hear yourself talk… you might be enjoying it, but chances are others around you are not. So, just think about, when you’re saying something, is there a really good reason for you to be saying it? Is it substantive, does it add something new that hasn’t been said, or are you just repeating yourself or repeating somebody else? Because we have a lot to talk about, we have a lot of people, and as much as we like hanging out with each other, we don’t really want to be here all night.
“And active listening, which means really hearing what other people are saying — really listening to them, and letting it sink in, and realizing — again, with the “Why am I talking?” — if you really hear what somebody is saying, then maybe you’ll realize that you don’t need to say it. And also something that is useful that a lot of people in this room know, but not everybody knows, are hand-signals. If you see people using hand-signals — like, we’re not really going to use them in this meeting, but if you see somebody [uptwinkling] that means they like it or they agree. If you see somebody [downtwinkling] that means they don’t like it; they disagree. I don’t know if there’s any — oh, If you want to say something, raise your hand; [one finger up] is a point of information and means you have something — a little sound byte that adds something. [A C in the air made with thumb and forefinger] is a clarifying question — if you have a question. So you might see those being used, so you’re not totally confused as to, like, why people are going like this.”
Drew: “And be sure to point any of those signals up towards us so we can deal with it, and if we don’t call on you immediately, we’ll — make sure that we make eye contact, and we’ll get to that. So what we’re going to do to start off is break out into discussions around these roles. Before we do that, I want an opportunity for everyone that had input in making this meeting happen, who kind of got it together and talked with Tammy or myself or anyone else involved in it — can you please stand up right now, so that people can see who was involved? You know, maybe who was outside last night talking about this meeting… stand up. No? It really wasn’t just me and Tim… oh, there’s some in the back. Excellent, yes. Thank you; thank you, everyone.”
Someone: “Thank you for doing that.”
“So, real quick, are there any questions about what we’re going to do tonight? Just raise your hand and yell it out — is anyone terribly confused and lost right now?”
“Good. Okay. I’m going to set a timer for 20 minutes, for everyone to group up and begin answering the questions. Your intention is to be able to send one person up here to give a three-minute presentation that answers the questions on the wall, and any other questions that you feel need to be answered that the community needs to know about. If you feel your group is too large; you can split — we can make room for that. So, let’s break out. If you don’t feel like you have a group to be in, feel free to sit with groups that you’re interested in.”
Tess asks Drew to name the breakouts.
Becky: “Locations: Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, Rockaways, Staten Island, Red Hook, Jacobi, Clinton, Bay Ridge kitchen, and Jersey.”
Drew: “Hold on — when we read these, can people raise their hand if they’re interested and we can just take that…? Okay.”
Becky: “Coney Island… Sheepshead Bay… Rockaways — woah there! Staten Island.” (Whoo, they shout.) “Red Hook. Jacobi. Clinton. Bay Ridge Kitchen. New Jersey.” “Yeah!” Applause for the NJ crew. “OK, now we have roles and categories not necessarily tied to locations — online communications, Interocc and social media; legal; reconstruction and cleanup; medical (physical and mental); canvassing; training; finance and benefits; housing; organizational relationships; actions; and Storyline/storytelling. All right — go to it!”
Tess: “OK, now what if you are sort of tied to a location, but you are also very much tied to one of these other sort-of meta…”
Drew: “Unless you can split yourself, you’re going to have to make a decision — wherever you think you can answer questions best and help spread information.”
Becky: “And if you figure out how to split yourself, please let us know.”
Josh: “Are we answering questions in these groups or talking to each other?”
Drew: “You’re answering the questions that are on the wall, and if some networking happens, great.”
[OK, we’re breaking out, be back in 20 minutes.]
Drew: “20 minutes starting nowww.”
Folks come up to him.
Drew: “15 minutes is the new time you have.”
Tess: “And please make sure to put your contact info on the piece of paper.” [8:26 -Ed.]
Drew: “Mic check!” “Mic check!”, everyone responds.
Drew: “All right; thank you very much everyone. If you can send the person who is going to be giving the reportback for your group up to the front here so they can speak into the mic. Let’s bring those people forward. If you’re giving a reportback, please come to the front.”
Somebody: “Come on! Don’t be shy; come up to the front. Come on and get on the mic like Jay-Z! That’s — come on! Come on, people! Let’s go.”
Drew: “All right, spectacular. Great.”
Becky: “I only see, like, seven people over here, and there are like 20 groups. So I think some more of you need to come over here to do reportbacks for your groups.”
Drew: “So, each group is going to have three minutes; what we’re going to do is — the reportback, any needs that they express, if you can raise your hand if you believe that you have information or some kind of experience… if you can fulfill those needs, there’s going to be someone coming around with a little stickypad. Write your information and the need that you can fulfill, and they are going to stick it to the pieces of paper, so afterwards anyone can go up there, get your contact information, and contact you about that need being fulfilled. So as the report back is happening, if there are needs that they are expressing that you can help with, raise your hand until someone comes around and gives you a little yellow stickypad, and write your contact information and what need you can help with on that stickypad, and then afterwards, collect that information from the pieces of paper. So, our first presenter is Susan from Organizational Relationships. All right, three minutes, Susan! Take it away.”
Working with FEMA & the City
Susan: “This is my first meeting, and I got enlisted to do this reportback, which I’m glad to do. This is from the organizational relationships group. On the first question, what we established was what’s different is that Occupy Sandy is — has now been at the table with other voluntary organizations and has met at the table with the Mayor of the City — I don’t have details on that; we didn’t have time, but apparently Occupy Sandy and the Mayor have been talking. And Occupy Sandy has been talking with FEMA as well as the Mayor. Also, has been meeting with and working with other NGOs and — just a lot of other community groups. So that’s one of the things that the group established is different over the last couple of weeks.
Accessing State Resources
The second question — I don’t remember what the question is, actually. What was the second question?”
Becky: “What are your ongoing projects?”
Susan: “OK. The answer — what was said was, figuring out how to request and accept resources from state, city, Fed sources. Because those are different than getting resources from community groups, church groups, individuals — you know, non-government — because the state, city, Feds — it all comes with strings and requirements. So while they have the most, they don’t like to give it, and when they give it, it’s with strings. And, so… figuring out how to request it and accept it without getting caught in their strings — that’s one of the needs. Coordinating, sharing data between projects and organizations is another need. OK. Third question — which… I have the answers, I don’t have the questions.”
Becky: “What do you need to get things accomplished?”
Needs & Concerns
Politicization, Resource-Sharing & Maintaining Autonomy
Susan: “What do you need to get things accomplished? Okay. Oh, dear. OK. Be careful not to get co-opted. We have to figure out how to get resources without strings. So it’s like the other one. OK. Fourth… two top needs. A central place for people involved with Occupy Sandy to request resources from those who have the resources. We need a formal structure for how to request and vet — i.e., you know, like, if people are giving us things and it’s from government sources, how are you going to make sure it’s really something that you want? And how to stay on top of what FEMA is really up to. And then fifth, some concerns — someone raised a concern that they saw an Occupy Sandy person in one instance proselytizing very heavily about a political line to people that weren’t really interested, and the concern was not to… you know, not to preach to people who don’t want to be preached to about your politics. Just, you know, do the disaster relief work. However, another concern is, how is Occupy Sandy going to do this disaster relief work and not lose its political direction, and be able to stay independent while also building allies but also be able to fight the people we’re supposed to be fighting?”
Someone: “Thank you for saying that. Thank you.”
Organizing to Prevent Displacement
Susan: “You’re welcome. Okay. And continue the political mobilizing and organizing against displacement that’s going to be going on — because they’re going to try and move poor people out of the areas and bring developers in. So, how is Occupy Sandy organizing the necessary structures and arenas to be able to stay on top of that and organize around that? And pressure the government to rebuild in a sustainable way for everyone no matter what their income. I think that sums it up.”
Drew: “Excellent, thank you Susan! All right, who’s next? Come on up. What’s your name, and the group that you’re reporting back from?”
BAY RIDGE KITCHEN
Overview: Establishment of New Kitchen
Emily: “I’m Emily, and I’m from the Bay Ridge Kitchen.”
Whoops and “yeah!”s from the audience.
Emily: “So, what has changed? Well, we exist, which is very exciting! Because kitchen was previously in a couple different locations, and now it’s all combined in the kitchen down on 99th Street. We served 5,000 people on Thanksgiving, which was really exciting. We are currently serving between 1000 and 2000 meals a day, and possibly more if we’re able to plan ahead. Our standing orders — like our repeated daily orders — are about 2500, which we are able to meet because we’re working with another kitchen that’s cooking about 800 meals a day for us.
Anticipating Orders & Working with Caterers
“So, our largest project is working on streamlining organization and communication, in terms of getting volunteers, drivers, and planning our food orders ahead of time. We’re also working to network with local kitchens and caterers to help get them involved as well. That’ll help us produce even more food.
Needs: Visibility & Volunteer Coordination
“Our ‘needs to complete’ on projects — first off, we need to exist on the website, because although we exist, we’re not existing electronically. And that’s providing issues with getting volunteers, so that’ll help us get volunteers and drivers. We’re also trying to organize in a way that empowers people to commit for a longer period of time, whether that be doing remote work in the morning — calling in, double-checking sites for standing orders, et cetera.
“We also need to create a systematic driver and volunteer outreach, because when we have numbers of volunteers that fluctuate a lot from day to day, that’s really hard for our kitchen to work with.”
“So our top two needs is really visibility, as I said before, with the website… and a commitment from volunteers.”
“Our concerns primarily deal with sustainability — sustainability for the kitchen, because we have to move in and out of the space about once a week for other events — sustainability for the volunteers, and how to support Occupy ideals. Because we want to be not just, you know, an extended soup kitchen, but — are — the needs of the communities change over time, and so we may go from cooking food to delivering food as they gain that capacity to cook for themselves. So we need to find a way that we can either be taking our produce… or how we can work with that.
“We are taking in supplies; our supplies needs change day-to-day, and they will be posted on the website once that gets up. But, for now, it’s always best to call our hotline, and then we’ll let you know what’s best for us.”
“And then one last point — we’re hoping to modify our kitchen hours starting a little bit earlier in the morning, and then including some after-work hours, from maybe six to 10. This is still pending work with our chefs and communication on that, but hopefully that will help us get more volunteers as well. That’s it, thanks!”
Someone: “What’s the address of the kitchen in case we want to volunteer?”
Emily: “It is 461 99th St; it’s on the corner of Fort Hamilton and 99th down in Bay Ridge.”
Someone: “And what’s the hotline number?”
Emily: “The hotline number is 347 465 7430.” [Someone left this email address in the liveminutes: firstname.lastname@example.org -Ed.]
Drew: “And remember, you can go around and look at the — the information for a lot of these sites — it’ll be on the wall. And this big yellow piece of paper has information about the Interoccupy website. When you’re giving your presentation, if you could pause and say the need — I heard that you had a need to get on — on the website. Can someone raise their hand who can facilitate solving that need?”
Someone from Interoccupy steps up to help them out.
Drew: “So — do you have a question?”
Josh: “Well, can — after… could you ask everybody to… offer contact information? Like a point person? How we…?”
Drew: “Yeah — please, at the end of your report back, give some contact information, and make sure that it’s up on the wall next to the piece of paper. Who’s our next — “
Becky: “We noticed that only Staten Island put their contact information and its purpose — like, what the intention behind, like, their phone number is. Like, what — who we’ll be reaching when we call that number. So, if you put up your contact information, you did half the thing. But we’d love it if you didthe rest of the thing, and if you didn’t put anything up there, please do — it’s really imperative that we be able to have really flawless communication between all the areas and all the places.”
N27 NYCHA Action
Elana: “Hi; I’m Elana, reporting back from actions. We basically just covered what’s changed in the last week and concerns, so we’ll stick to those. A couple of reportbacks from the last week:
“This morning, there was an action outside of the NYCHA headquarters to protest the rent credit that’s being delayed until January, and asking for NYCHA to give rent credit to people who lost power and basically had uninhabitable homes in December. So, that was apparently on the small side, but there’s some thoughts about follow-up, which kind of leads to the next point…
Elana: “There was a meeting last night of a bunch of community organizations including VOCAL, New York Communities for Change, 350.org, Community Voices Heard, and reps from all of the affected areas that Occupy Sandy is working with to think about planning a larger action. And December 15th was called out as a potential day. And all these representatives are going back to their organizations and sites to float this idea, but that’s also the day of the, like, NYCHA board meeting, if I’m correct, so that’s a big potential for action.
“Also, tomorrow night, there’s going to be a really exciting… okay — not the same day?”
Someone: “December Fifth is the NYCHA — “
Elana: “December Fifth! Oh, okay — I misheard that. December Fifth is the board meeting; December 15th is the day of a potential action of all these community groups.
11/28 Guerrilla Movie Premiere
“So, then, tomorrow night there’s going to be a really fun, exciting action-slash-guerrilla-movie-premiere that some of us from Occupy Sandy have been organizing to spotlight the connection between Occupy Sandy and the hurricane disaster and climate change, and to really say, you know, it’s great that we’re doing all this relief work, but if we don’t actually do something about climate change, this is going to happen again and again, and it’s our responsibility to start to connect those dots and really call out fossil fuel companies for the part that they play in creating disasters like this. So, this is tomorrow evening at 6:30 at a to-be-disclosed location in Manhattan that I can tell you is in some way related to a fossil fuel company. But we’ll be projecting this new film by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox onto the side of a building. We’ll have popcorn; you should bring hot drinks; we’ll have RMO playing, and it’ll just be a really good time. So if you are interested in coming to this, the way to get updated about the location is to text. If you want to get out your phones now or write it down, you can join a Celly loop. So text 23559, and in the body of the text it’s @climatecrime.”
A chirping cricket signals that her three minutes are up.
Elana: “OK, that’s my time!”
Concerns: Action Accessibility
Elana: “Really quick, just concerns; we talked some about just making sure that these actions are accessible to community members and really not just, like, relying on people who have the good fortune to be able to come out to protest, so… that’s something we’re going to be focused on moving forward.”
Drew: “Thank you very much! Ah, next?”
Becky: “Coney Island!”
Relating to and Empowering the Community
Eric: “Hello, I’m Eric; I’m out in Coney Island. Yay. Okay, so Coney Island is unique in the sense that it is one of the more densely-populated areas that Occupy Sandy’s been helping out in. Mutual aiding in, whatever you want to call it. So basically what we’ve been dealing with now is a real problem I think that exists in a lot of communities, which is how to responsibly empower the community so that mutual aid is practiced, and not charity or dependence. That’s kind of a general point. And then the other thing is really how to balance the communal needs that existed prior to the storm with the newfound and compounding disaster needs, and the resources that city, state, volunteer organizations, and community organizations have. So, I’ve noticed that Occupy has definitely kind of been the almost, like, filter between all those at this point — in Coney Island, and perhaps in many other places.”
NYCHA v. Private Housing
“Another interesting dynamic for Coney Island is the NYCHA housing and the private housing. Two very separate needs — very related needs, but, you know, if you have a building with 1250 people and a home, obviously there’s different needs, as I mentioned. With that being said, not only is there the dynamic of the buildings versus the private homes, there’s also, kind of, internal communities within those homes and buildings. So, there’s a large-scale, and mostly elderly, Russian population in Coney Island and, I believe, Sheepshead Bay, which needs to be interfaced with, and we don’t have enough translators at this point, or really in-roads with the community. There’s also a large Chinese community as well; same problems.
Cleanup & Construction Help
“Also, mold and cleanup. I know there’s been a great effort in a couple of the other areas — in the Rockaways, in Staten Island, to do that. And Coney Island, unfortunately, is just getting off the ground. So I think whomever’s been doing that can hopefully network with the guys out in Coney, because we really need it, and people have been living with the mold for, you know, close to a month… or a month at this point.”
Info to Disperse
“Lastly, just the — kind of, dispersal of information has kind of been non-existent out in Coney Island — that’s legal rights that people have… you know, obviously, information about rallies, like we just heard about in terms of NYCHA, and otherwise. So anyone who does printing and graphic design — yeah, that’s it. I’m done. I’m done early. Thank you.”
Becky: “Done, one minute early! Woo!”
Drew suggests he ask the group for help with translation.
Eric: “Translators. Who can help out?”
Some back-and-forth around who can speak Russian.
Becky: “Next, we have medical.”
Drew: “Oh, I forgot to do this — if you are working or involved at all with whoever is coming to speak, can you please stand up, just so the room can see you and maybe connect with you later? Medical? Is there anyone doing medical? Stand up? Excellent, thank you.”
Rockaways: Working w. Communities & Medical Orgs
Margaret Mary: “Okay, so I’m Margaret Mary; I’m doing medical. I’m primarily now located at the Rockaways. Beforehand, I was doing dispatch and other things like that. I can speak primarily to what we’re doing at the Rockaways, which is building relationships with Mt. Sinai as well as the Global Health Initiative, and we’re also working to build relationships with community organizers. We’ve been doing things such as — we just started a meeting with the community, and asking what do they want and what do they need from us. We’re moving away from providing immediate care as clinics open into forming relationships with the clinics and with people who want care, and trying to figure out what they want, and trying to work as advocates for that need, such as creating a fund so that we can get things like P100 masks, which people have been requesting, and infant masks, and pediatric masks that people have been asking for — not just N95 masks — and trying to get funding to cover the $45 pay that folks have to pay for to go see folks at Father Adobo’s clinic, in order to be seen. So that’s primarily what we’re doing; we’re trying to create more community meetings and work more with folks, and try to escalate and work into being patient advocates. And, you know… that’s one minute?”
Drew: “You’ve got plenty of time.”
Becky: “Hello — I guess I’m talking about medical dispatch. We have been talking about how it’s starting to become sort of obsolete, especially as we’re losing Jacobi at the end of this week, and we’ve been working out of this space. It’s moving out to the sites more. We’ll still be answering email, but we’ll start moving away from taking as many phone calls, and we’re not going to have somebody on dispatch all day, because it’s starting to feel like a waste of time and there’s better stuff that us medics can be out doing. So, just trying to put the word out there that that’s a thing that’s happening. It’s sort of going to be a phase-out; it’s not just going to stop. But we’re going to lessen promoting the number as a thing.”
OK, next, Staten Island.
George: “What up? This is Staten Island.”
George: “Everybody at Staten Island, stand up real quick — do the thing. At 1128 this week, the church we were working with has decided to — because our capacity has just grown way more than we have the people for. So our site is now open at 1128 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday — so, it’s closed Tuesday / Thursday — from 11 to 4:30pm. That’s always subject to change; as we get more people, we can better serve the community; we’ll be doing that and getting more community members involved. Make the Road and the American Red Cross have moved in with us — Make The Road is now in the same building as we are in, canvassing the Hispanic community, getting to undocumented needs, and the American Red Cross is in the gymnasium right next to the facility that we’re in. I see a point of information over there, is that what’s happening?”
Someone: “No — can you just enunciate?”
George: “Oh, my bad. All right. Yeah, so…”
George: “That’s cool, all right. It’s whatever. Uh-huh. So, Make the Road has just moved into the building that we’re in; the American Red Cross is in the building next door. I’m not entirely sure what the Red Cross is doing there, but they’re there. We’re trying to figure that out.”
Ongoing Cleanup & Canvassing
“We’ve gutted a lot of the houses in our neighborhood, and a lot of the electricity is coming back up, but the mold issue is — we’re in crisis mode with that; we need experienced mold remediation folks to come to Staten Island, give trainings and the like. Let’s see, what else is here? We need — we’re working on getting heaters and doctors; we need that right now — it dropped like 20 degrees this past week, so it’s not — it’s a very bad look for people out there. We’re trying desperately to coordinate with all the sites in Staten Island, and I know people have been aggravated with 1128 especially, and Staten Island in general — we’re sorry about that. 1128 Olympia Boulevard. We’ve started using Mappler, this amazing app that can — you can set the parameters for, and input the data and it will show the residencies that you’re going to on the map and what their needs are, so we’re trying to do that, to better utilize our canvassing data.”
Needs: Regular Volunteers, Medics, Housing
“What we need is dedicated volunteers that can show up regularly, doctors, and heaters in the immediate term. Let’s see… a lot of housing; there’s been a lot of displaced folks; FEMA’s not getting vouchers to anyone right now. They think they’re working with the city on that, and that’s not happening. Getting folks into short-term housing right now is a desperate, desperate need.”
“And if I’m forgetting anything — I think we’re good.” Crickets chirping. “Oh, I think I’m out of time, so it’s whatever.”
Drew: “All right, nice. Thank you. Who is next? Excellent?”
INTEROCCUPY & SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media Strategy
Susanna: “Hello everybody! Can you hear me? My name’s Susanna; I’m reporting for Interoccupy and social media. So, the big thing with that is it would be very helpful if there was a roster of folks working on social media; it’s hard to know who’s doing what; a bunch of people signed into the same Twitter accounts — who’s tweeting? Who’s dealing with the reportbacks on tweets and whatnot? So there was hope to make sort of, like, a Google group. If you’re interested in being — and having a conference call to talk about the social media strategy and communication going forward, if you’re interested in getting involved with that, you can talk to Jackrabbit tonight. Or if you are on the Google Doc that has a list of social media people, you’ll get an email about it, and hopefully this week there’ll be a big conference call about it.”
“Additionally, there was talk about cutting down the number of Twitter accounts that we have, because there’s a whole bunch, and maybe get a little redundant and confusing to use. So, that will also be discussed on this impending conference call. People are encouraged to use OccupySMS, which you can get to at OccupySMS.org; it’s a way to sort of do mutual aid — like, you don’t have to go to a distribution center. Someone can be like, “I need my basement pumped,” and then someone with a pump can go there. It’s sort of a cool system like that.”
“There are, on Monday and Thursdays at 9pm, coordinating people conference calls that everyone is encouraged to join. The information seems to be on that yellow placard, so look at that. And then, very quickly, I don’t know how many people know about Sahana, which is this new system that we’re trying to implement about… sort of dealing with requests and then fulfilling requests for needs and supplies. We’re working on doing — get training set up for that; different documents and whatnot, but it should — the way that it’s set up is you can easily just type in a request for supplies and then a request for volunteers, and then those can be filled and they can be tracked. So, trying to streamline that process, and it creates one centralized database that everyone can see in the different hubs and distribution centers.”
Drew: “Cool. Thank you very much! Next!”
Closing the Space
Lauren: “Hi, I’m Lauren; I’m from Jacobi. Can everyone from Jacobi please stand up and show your faces? You lovely people. There they are!” Cheers. “Lovely. Thank you Jacobi.
“So, what’s changed for us since we last spoke? We have less volunteers, less supplies, and less dispatches coming through our doors. And just as a reminder that — the space we have will be closing on Friday. We’ve made a decision as a space to stop accepting donations at the end of day Wednesday. All of this will be distributed on social media, but that means on Thursday and Friday Jacobi will not be accepting donations. If donations come in, then we’ll try to send them directly out to the affected sites, or redirect them.
Clean-up & Rehab
“The biggest things that we’re working on are finding a new space — obviously is high in our mind — and leaving the space, this space, in good condition… to make sure that we give really, like, a great sort of — a gesture of gratitude to this space for the amazing generosity that they’ve shown us. And also, retaining our volunteer base from Jacobi — there are a lot of people that call this space their home, and we want to make sure that we respect that and also redirect their volunteer efforts to new spaces.
Needs: Clean-up, New Space & Volunteer Retention
“Our needs… when we are doing rehab on the space, we’re going to need volunteers to come in and do some work with us. We need a place to put our supplies and donations — i.e. a new space of some kind. And we are hoping to schedule a volunteer weekend after we’ve moved out of this space, so that we can work in this space as a thank-you and really, like… we’ve put a lot of wear-and-tear on this space, which is very old, and I think a lot of the sort of coordinating folk at Jacobi are working on figuring out exactly how we can give back to this community, because they’ve really been amazing. So obviously, our other needs are figuring out how to keep Jacobi volunteers around and staying in communication with volunteers.
“Our two top needs are finding a space and rehabilitating this space. It’s very redundant, because we have very essential needs. Also, keeping our volunteers. So, that’s what it is.
“I think we have… a concern about losing volunteers who identify as a part of our community, and our other concern is people forgetting about what’s going on here, and that coupled with us also moving out of this space having some kind of big impact on this effort — in terms of bringing in volunteers, in terms of keeping the volunteers we have, and in terms of keeping the people who’ve been affected by Sandy in the consciousness of New York. I think we’re all kind of, like, in business as usual. A lot of people are going back to business as usual. And so I think our big concern, as a Jacobi community, is making sure that even as we transition out of this space, we keep the sense of community and the sense of solidarity with the victims of Sandy and making sure that our volunteers and coordinators stay engaged.
“Oh — I just had one more thing, which is that we had a question come up about what to do with additional stuff, other than take it to the Salvation Army, and we learned that the Seventh Day Adventists are around and any site that we’re associated with can schedule pickups with them to take away clothes, or any other unwanted… things that aren’t useful for our people. And that was our info.”
Drew: “Thank you! All right. Who’s next?”
Becky: “We now have Breezy Point.”
Dire Need for Resources & Volunteers
Miles: “Okay. What has changed since last week? I don’t think I’ve ever had an update from Breezy to the whole community, but… what has changed since last week? It is cold, and raining — we don’t have enough gear. I could answer all the other four questions in one: resources. I need manpower and supplies, really bad.
“The biggest things we’re working on: okay, so I just became a volunteer firefighter, officially. So I want to try to use that to our advantage as much as we can; I’d like, maybe, some help trying to figure out how best to do that. Because I can now walk into government buildings and demand respect.
“Like, I had a meeting with OEM yesterday… I — I’m talking to the Department of Health, the Red Cross. I can — we can get herbs dispatched now. So, basically, what I need is for more people and — we’re really short on resources down there. Like… yeah.”
Drew prompts him to give contact info.
Miles: “Give them my phone number? No, I don’t want to do that.”
Luke: “Are there other people from Breezy Point here?”
Miles: “No, I’m — yeah, right there… amazing folks. I’d like to talk to some more individual people after. I really need to get these things together more. I think I’m done for a minute; I’ll speak again in a little…”
Drew: “So, if you want to talk about Breezy Point, or have any information on how to get more resources, talk to this gentlemen. And can the two other people who work with Breezy please stand up, just real quick, so folks can see them? Thank you. Thank you all.”
Becky: “Basically they’re really overwhelmed with a really intense disaster area, and not enough people and not enough supplies, so… I was just talking to Miles during our breakout, and this is the first that I’ve really heard much about them, so I know that we haven’t been giving them much attention ourselves, at least not from what I’ve heard, and I generally hear a lot about what’s going on. So that’s a really important thing for us to pay attention to, I think, and… start figuring out with you.”
Drew: “All right, who’s next on the reportbacks?”
Miles: “Sorry guys, I’ve been in Breezy all day and I’m a little tired.”
Someone: “Thank you, Miles.”
Gelsey: “Hello! My name’s Gelsey, I’m from Sheepshead Bay, pop-up recovery. So, for those of you who don’t know, we’re on a corner outside in Sheepshead, and we’ve managed to keep going for the last three-and-a-half weeks and help a lot of different people within the community. We arrived a week after the storm, so the need was pretty great, and we’ve been focusing mostly on triage, with supplies and clean-up. A lot of the houses we’ve been helping have been under, like, 12 feet of water at one point. So we’re moving now into — so, what has changed. We’re moving now into less triage, less giving supplies, but needing more clean-up help, more debris removal, definitely moving into demo and mold remediation or mold treatment — helping with that kind of stuff. Yeah, we kind of — things like that get a little lax during the week, mostly because we’re short on volunteers — as I think everybody is — and then we try and organize really big ramp-up efforts for cleaning and removal, over the weekends.”
Canvassing & Cleanup
“Let’s see — the biggest thing we’re working on is — there’s, like, two halves — there’s the advocacy and canvassing part — so basically outreach with other community organizations; we’ve had some really great interactions with Bay Improvement Group lately, and then, also, the other half is debris removal, demo, and mold. We just really need a lot of help getting that going and finished — and also just contractor bags. Who can ever have enough of those?
“What do we need to accomplish… we need to continue working on debris and removal and mold. We’re really very concerned about a lot of people who can’t leave their houses being caught there, and their health and their safety. A lot of families who need to be placed in housing — we’ve been working with a lot of other different sites and other community organizers who’ve been doing clean-up and supplies and stuff like that, and it’s just — It’s overwhelming at points. So, we need help with that.
“Top two needs in the area is: women and manpower; we need volunteers — we need consistent volunteers. We have a serious lack of consistency and just, like, flow during the week. A lot of us who are coordinating the site have full-time jobs and can only do coordination remotely and it’s just so hard to make sure that we’re still there. And we’ve all been doing such a great job.
“And then, the other need is just debris and mold demo. It’s kind of redundant. And canvassing — so just sending people out, and organizing that way.
Concerns: Resident Health & Site Sustainability
“What we’re most concerned about right now, like I said before, is the mold becoming unmanageable and the health and safety of our residents in the community. We’re really afraid of the sustainability of the site, as it is outdoors, and this is the East Coast, with weather. And so — you know, we’re working on that. And then also support with volunteers — just having people come out — it’s a lot to ask folks to stand outside all day. And then, advocacy for everybody who needs it.
“That’s it. Thank you.”
Drew: “Thank you. Our next reportback — New Jersey!”
Matching Resources to Needs
Larry: “Hi everybody! My name’s Larry; I’m from Philly, and I work with Jersey, and I’m standing in New York. Interstate solidarity. Okay, so… I think that atnswering the four questions would be a bit superfluous for me, and I apologize to the folks who organized the meeting for that, but I’m esssentially just going to try to convey a lot of information to you at one time and then ask the folks that are here from New Jersey to fill in the gaps for me.
“I know there are a few people here, and people have done this before — these folks in Jersey really deserve this, too. If you’ve worked in Jersey, can you stand up please? You deserve acknowledgement.”
“These folks have been working really, really hard. Okay, so… the first question was, where are we that we weren’t two weeks ago? We’ve — this. This is the answer to that question. We have developed our kind of communication infrastructure that we’ve kind of built over the past year with Interoccupy, using email addresses, Cel.ly loops, the Civi system and the Sahana system. The whole point of the project is since there’s an entire state that we’ve got to cover, we’ve got to really kind of solidify the network of resources and people, and making sure that they’re getting matched. So far that’s been done in a kind of analog way, because we’ve been trying to put these pieces into place so that they can be kind of set off at a moment’s notice. That’s going to happen very, very soon, as… the person who mentioned Sahana earlier.
“So essentially what we — the basis of what we’ve been doing is — we have a community needs registry that’s on the page for Occupy Sandy NJ. So, OccupySandyNJ.org — the first link is a community needs registry. And by the way, it’s the same site as Occupy Sandy; just different links. There’s no us, you here — this is all we. I just want to kind of throw that out there on the table.”
“And so, that community needs registry, that people can… either community members can input their data directly, or canvassers who go out… oh, dear.” Time’s up! “Okay — or canvassers who go out and have a paper form that correlates directly to the questions on the website can enter it too. What we’re doing — data is going into the Civi system, and then now we’re going to go into Sahana, too, to make sure we’re connecting needs to resources directly. So, essentially, we’re doing dispatch and coordination from afar. Because… one of the other questions — what’s your biggest inhibition? — Is that we’ve got a state.
Need for Organizers
“There are about eight to 10 things that would qualify as what we’d call a hub, which we use for distro and volunteer muster points. We have a work day every Saturday, and it’s kind of a lot of the same things that people have been saying about consistent volunteers. I’ve got to say, our biggest need — and this is where you come in — is we need organizers. If you identify yourself as an organizer… we need probably two people for every one of our sites, so that we can make sure that the community is having the information conveyed the way it needs to, and vice-versa. We want to make sure those lines of communication are open, and we can’t do that unless we are organized ourselves. We have resources, we’ve got the tools; now we just need the people.
“The only other thing I would say is this — is I have 40 copies of this [document]. This is pretty much how Jersey has been working — the communications structure and the volunteer canvass program. If you identify yourself as an organizer, I would love to give you this, so that way you know how to plug into Jersey; we can open those lines of communication, and do those backwards and forwards. So, I’m going to — just find me after; I’ve got a big pink scarf and a commie hat, and I’d love to give you this. Thanks everybody so much — you all — this is the second time you all have changed the world. Great job.”
Drew: “Thank you, thank you. Who’s next?”
CONSTRUCTION & CLEANOUT
Cleanout Effort Status
Andy: “Hey big room! All right, so — I’m Andy, and I do some of the construction and cleanup stuff — specifically, though, in the Rockaways with hopes of expanding out of that area. And I just also want to throw out the fact that there are a lot of cleanup operations in other locations outside of the Rockaways. I hear Staten Island has pretty much cleaned up its own borough. So, to go from there — all right, what has changed since last week? We’re definitely starting to do a lot more mold remediation, which means we’ve got a lot of the drywall out, and now we’re starting this process of really, like, treating the wood, sanding, adding the solution to it, and then painting over. Just because I have some ears here — if you see people putting bleach all over their houses, tell them that doesn’t work very well, and that they should think about using vinegar, Borax, and hydrogen peroxide mixed together, and that would work better. That’s just a really — and in general, we’re fighting rumors like crazy about mold and it’s an uphill battle.
Respond & Rebuild Trainings
“So, what’s the largest project you’re working on? I mean, I guess it’s the project — I don’t really know how to answer that question. We’re called Respond and Rebuild, we’re at 74th and Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways and we run volunteer crews out of that space daily, and we also do trainings — mold trainings, team leader trainings. There’s two trainings in the Rockaways on Saturday, one at Beach 100 and one at Beach 38. So, come on down.”
Someone: “What time?”
Andy: “I’m not exactly sure. I will — It’s going to — I’ll write — “
Someone: “Will it be on the website?”
Andy: “Yeah, it will. And it’ll also be up on that — I’ll put the information right here. You’ll be able to query our website.
Needs: Volunteers & Money
“So, what do you need to be able to complete your projects? Man, a lot of people have been saying, like, they need volunteers — shit, we need volunteers, too. But, so, I’ll go with the positive here — it’s, like, if we need volunteers, then we’re doing a lot of volunteer outreach. Like, we’re approaching schools, we’re approaching church groups, we’re doing things like this — like, using the web tools we have to seek out volunteers. There are volunteers out there, and if you don’t have a lot of volunteers, you should probably think about your volunteer outreach strategy. Because that’s going to be a constant need and it’s going to go down no matter what. So, what else…?
“What do we need for our projects? Oh, yeah — so I said, yeah, volunteers, mold removal, and — oh yeah, the thing we need for our projects is money, to build houses. Okay, so…” Time’s up, and the crickets start chirping. “Oh, crap. So, two things I need to complete my project — I need people to begin to switch their mindset a little bit from, like, direct relief, to start thinking about what it means to, like, take on these swaths of, like, empty houses — thinking about how to be political a little bit when it comes to thinking about how to force — force where, like, the money goes and really digging into that sort of mindset, more than just, like, making meals and getting your hands dirty. Like, we need that very much.
“And what are concerns? It’s getting cold; homeowners are putting their drywall up over moldy beams, so that’s a big concern of ours.”
Drew: “Thank you.”
Easton: “All right. 520! Can 520 stand up? Awesome. What has changed since last week? It’s been quiet; we’ve had a lot less volunteers, a lot less cars coming through; we’ve also been working on streamlining, kind of, dispatch with these box trucks we’ve got and also these vans we’ve got.
Separating Volunteer Intake from Goods Distribution
“And big thing — we discovered that we need to basically separate out the three main functions of the space — there’s communications, there’s volunteer orientation and intake and dispatch, which I kind of lump together, and then there’s intake and distribution of goods. We need to separate the volunteer intake / dispatch side of things from the distribution of goods. There’s been a lot of issues with — just basically our capacity to deal with those two things in the same space. There’s been security issues, all sorts of things, and the church has asked us to make changes. So, considering the convenience of our space, and how close it is to trains, I think that the obvious answer is to find a new place for distribution. So, we are going to be trying to do that by Saturday — and indeed, we need to do that by Saturday.
New Space & Responsible Phase-Out
“So, ‘what are the two biggest things you’re working on?’ The two biggest things we’re working on: definitely finding new space, like Jacobi. And I would say the other one is to find a way to responsibly phase out of the space that we’re in, so making sure that we can clean up after ourselves, and also not just one day cut off and say goodbye, but put the information out there with enough time.
“What do you need to get these things accomplished? We need to meet with other folks who are looking at new spaces. So if actually any people who have been looking at new warehousing and distribution kind of places could raise their hand right now? I think that there’s some people who have been working on that. OK, great. Maybe we could try to meet at the end of this meeting. That would be really good.
Get Distro Orders in by 4pm
“Other needs we have is we need sites that we are distributing goods to try to get their orders in by 4pm the day before, so that we can figure out how to get our box trucks out there in a really organized fashion, so we can do big drop-offs and just load up the trucks the night before.
“And, we have no concerns.” Laughter.
Drew: “Al right, thank you. And I will point to a corner of this room at the end for people who want to work on space and congregate and chat with each other. So, next up!”
Transitioning into Community-Building Phase
Tamara: “Hi guys. I’m here from Rockaways!” Cheering. “Okay, so I’m kind of doing this the way we need to get the information out. Our biggest thing right now is transitioning to the next phase; that’s a big job. There’s a lot going on there, and the needs haven’t been met yet that existed before. So, we’re working on stuff like political education, distribution, community needs, political action. We’re trying to set up a community council structure with the people who live there, so that they can be as big a part of the aiding of their community as they need to be. We’ve involving the residents in everything.
Battles with Developers
“And we’re working on picking our future battles in terms of developers, disaster capitalism, and the Rockaway pipeline. To that end, there are families in the Rockaways who’ve been stuck in Manhattan at their emergency housing. They just did their own public action today; we sent a couple of folks down there who met with them and made contact with them. And — I don’t know; Sean, did that guy come tonight, or no?”
Sean: “No, not yet.”
Tamara: “Okay. But we — we are in touch with those guys. And, I mean, it speaks to the broader problem in the Rockaways, which is that people think it’s over. And it’s not over; it’s in fact getting worse in a lot of ways. And that takes me to health and displacement.
Health & Displacement
“So part of what we’re facing are dire immediate needs — people’s prescriptions running out that can’t be refilled; people needing to get to doctor’s appointments, that now people don’t realize that it’s still tough for people to get to their doctor’s appointments. We’re in a health crisis right now out there right now — it’s really cold. It’s really, really cold. And just because people have electricity, it does not mean that they have heat. It does mean that people stop looking at them, though. And so one of the other health crises that we’re dealing with is mold remediation, and a big problem with that is that the housing buildings — the public housing buildings — also need mold remediation. Where do you put people who live in public housing when they have to get their houses redone?
“So we have a temp. housing crisis. AKA, there is none. And what there is is not effective. They have people stuck in Manhattan; their kids are in school. How are they supposed to deal with that? If they have a job, how are they supposed to deal with that? We have businesses out there that are opening up that haven’t done their mold remediation. They couldn’t have done the mold remediation, because we’re only four weeks in. So, how could they possibility have cleaned out their businesses right now? But they’re opening, and they’re serving food, and they’re seeing the public. Yeah — they don’t know it’s there. They cleaned the walls! Come on, they bleached their walls, guys. It’s cool.
“Okay, so our needs — we — I think the biggest need right now is the publicity that there is an ongoing need.”
Someone: “Right on. Right on.”
Tamara: “We need tools; we need masks; we need a lack of misinformation — we need to clarify the misinformation. less misinformation.
“One thing we were just talking about over there in the group is that, you know, we’re in the Rockaways. Like — and we’re not on social media, and we know we have awesome people here doing social media, and doing media. And we need someone to be watching the media — the stories that are going out. And I don’t mean the stories that are coming out here — I mean the stories that are coming out other places. We need someone to kind of report back to us and be like, “Hey, we just saw this on the news. Is that a bunch of shit, or is that real?” Because I’m going to tell you: a lot of times, it’s not real. The problems are not solved, and the happy little button that the news puts on it at the end is not true, necessarily. So I think that actually if someone could start monitoring our media presence in terms of what the media is saying and what they’re putting out there, that would say words about what information we need to be putting out there.
Canvassing & Needs-Assessment
“We are currently assessing our new needs through canvassing, because at this point we don’t know what we need. I mean, we know the needs we addressed, and we know what the needs are going to be that are coming up, but we don’t necessarily know who applies to whatever. We don’t know that they’ve been fixed; we don’t know that they’ve not been fixed. And we don’t know who is still stuck. So, that’s what we’re at now.
“We’re working with a bunch of organizations, community-wide — the Rockaways have sort of come together on a lot of fronts. That includes all of our Rockaway hubs, and includes the community hubs; that includes outside organizations who want to help the Rockaways. It’s — it’s not fixed, at all. It’s a mess. And part of that, now — the problem is that, as everyone is saying, volunteers are dwindling. New York Cares is stepping in in a couple ways in the Rockaways, and I think that what they can offer, as an organization, is volunteers, and it might not be a bad idea to use them for their volunteers, which they can provide on multiple fronts. They’re really good at that; that’s what they do. That’s what New York Cares does.
“And on specifically nitty-gritty stuff: we’re working on volunteer and resident waiver forms. In terms of the information that’s been passed around; in terms of what people are doing; what people know about, in terms of volunteers. And volunteers that do come out — do they know that they’re going to deal with mold? Do they know how dangerous mold is? Do the residents know how dangerous mold is? That’s something we can really provide to people that are out there.
“Clothes-washing is a big deal. It’s silly, it’s small, but it’s so major right now.
“And then, communication between hubs, which is kind of a big deal for us right now. I think that’s it.”
Drew: “Thank you very much. Next, Legal?”
Clinics & Canvassing
Joseph: “Hi, this is Joseph, reporting for legal. Guys who are working on legal — there’s just a few in the back in the room — can you stand up? OK, Thanks.
“So, what’s changed? This week there have been more clinics; they’ve been experimenting with canvassing door-to-door. And critically, what’s changed is we actually have a few more volunteers this week — just a few. But what that means is we’re now able to work on assigning point people for legal to specific communities. Not every community immediately — we’re working, sort of, initially off of a couple. But we’re going to have point people for Coney Island, Staten Island, and for a couple of locations in the Rockaways.
“What that allows us to do is to give more targeted attention, instead of just relying on clinics. So, that’s what’s changed.”
Needs: Communication to Get Help Where Needed
“And what do we need? We need your eyes and your ears, so if there are legal needs that are unmet, we won’t know about them unless we hear from you, unless we hear from canvassing. So my message to you guys is, you don’t need to be a legal expert — I’m certainly not a legal expert — but if you see an issue which is around — you know, FEMA, or insurance, or unemployment, or any court stuff, or insurance or housing — any issue that feels like a legal issue, — drop us an email: email@example.com. We’re going to have point people really soon, but we can get back to you fairly quickly, and we can find a way of getting help to you if we hear what that need is. So, that’s pretty much our top needs.
“Our concern is just that right now, there’s loads of people on the ground; that makes us more effective than some other organizations offering legal care, and we kind of want to make the most of that. So, we want to make the most of this — this movement, and this community, to get help where it’s needed. Because oftentimes, you know, the people who are coming to the clinics — they’re the people who can get out of the house, and they’re the people who can help themselves. There are lots of people who can’t come to the clinics who need help, so please — send us an email, and we will work out a way to get help to those communities. And that’s it — anything from the back of the room? Okay, that’s it for Legal.”
Becky: “All right. Storyline? You’re next.”
STORYLINE & MEDIA
Marisa: “OK, hi! I’m Marisa — “
Luke: “I’m Luke.”
Gathering & Coordinating Media
Marisa: “So, there was a Storylines/storytelling card up, and so we basically met to talk about media and telling stories and Livestream, video, photo, written, whatever you have — independent media. And… so, I don’t know if — so, people have been shooting, and people have been taking photos — you all have smartphones, right? Well, not everyone. But a lot of people have phones that can take pictures, and you can post them, and you can spread them, and that’s been happening, and that’s great. But it hasn’t really been in any kind of organized way. Like, we haven’t met as a media group or coordinated. So basically, that’s what we talked about.”
Regular Updates from Sites
Luke: “One thing — one of my needs is, I’ve been looking for a long time, and I’ve been trying to get volunteers who can do regular updates from the sites — just take out your smartphone, shoot it, we’ll put it up somewhere, just so that we have this constant presence. We’re also talking about doing a series of small instructive documentaries — videos, I shouldn’t say documentaries — but on subjects such as mold remediation or, you know, very frequently asked questions, so that we can just refer people to these things — take a look at this, instructions, et cetera. What else?”
Collaboration with Volunteers
Marisa: “Let’s see — what do we need to complete projects? So, mainly we need collaboration with all of you. So let us know if you have an event or action, or if there’s a particular issue, if you find someone that has a really amazing story that needs to get out, please contact us. Our listserv is firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us after this is over.
Keeping the Story Alive
“And yeah, I guess concerns — concerns are that — the mainstream media is going to forget about this. People are going to think that this is all over, that the relief is done, that there isn’t anything else going on. So we need to remind them that there are all of these problems that are persisting — that people still, you know, don’t have electricity, don’t have heat. You know, dealing with mold; housing issues — the displacement. All of this. These are ongoing concerns, and so we need to make sure that we produce our own media and do counter-narrative so that it gets out — so the stories get out.”
Community Pushback & Mistrust
Luke: “And another concern — we’ve been getting a lot of pushback from groups who are out there who are maybe a little bit protective of their projects and protective of the people that they’ve built connections with — and built these relationships with. We are not vultures. We are on your side; I don’t — we don’t make any money from this. We are doing this to get the message out there. So, yeah.”
Marisa: “And there’s also — there’s a lot of projects going on. Storyline is actually a particular project, so we met about livestream and media, but Storyline is its own project, and they’re collecting audio and written testimonies, oral history accounts, and mapping them, so you should check that out too. They have a website.”
Drew: “Thank you very much. All right, we have just a few more to get through, and then stuff happens.”
INCUBATION: Fundraising & Finances
Daniele: “Well, I would hate to delay stuff from happening. Okay — I’m Daniele, hi!”
Devin: “I’m Devin.”
Daniele: “And we are from the Incubation Team, which is currently on the wall as Fundraising and Benefits, but we do a lot more than that. So I know there’s been a lot of misinformation and conjecture floating around, so I’m going to answer the questions that people wrote on our board. Specifically: how much have you raised; what is it for; where is it going?
“So, my theory with fundraising — my theory with money and work — is that the money only makes sense if the money follows the work. Otherwise, there’s no point. So, really, what you have to decide is, what are the goals of the work? And so, with recovery work, there’s four steps: there’s direct aid — which is food, and heat, and medical attention so people don’t die; there’s cleanup, there’s rebuilding, and then there’s step four, which is a little more abstract, which is building sustainable communities and building deep ties into those communities. So the only way it makes sense to use any of our resources is to support that work.
“So basically, what we’ve decided is that we want to leverage the in-kind donations as much as we can. The hurricane honeymoon, as we can all see, is already starting to end, so as long as we can get in-kind donations of stuff and services and space, we really want to use that as much as possible.
“So the way we’ve been using the money so far is there’s an emergency fund for each location, and for regions, as regions are getting developed and as we’re finding point people in regions. Emergency funds cover things that are, like, emergencies — so, like, if we get 400 pounds of meat at 10pm donated, you might need to put it on ice. So, things like that — interim stuff.”
Devin: “And if you’re at a site and you don’t know have a clear point person — you don’t know who your point person is for getting these emergency funds — then you should email us at email@example.com.”
Daniele: “Yeah. So the way we’re basically structuring it is, there are these emergency funds, which are kind of, like, money to tide us over when the donations don’t fit. So, like, we got propane heaters but no propane one day. We bought propane. Things like that.
“Then… what we’re really building to is bringing the money to the communities, doing participatory budgeting with the communities, so they’re deciding what they want to build. Instead of the government deciding for them, we’re giving them an opportunity to decide, and we want to help leverage other resources — other…”
Applying for Emergency Funds
Devin: “Well, the basic gist is that there’s the emergency fund, which has been done hopefully at — site-by-site — people have been getting the resources that they need. If they haven’t been getting the resources that they need, they should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And then we’ll figure out where your point person is if they’re not there, and then we’ll try to solve the problem. The second — that’s the emergency phase.
“The next phase is the projects phase, where, basically, people submit projects through a form that you can find at occupysandy.org/donate. Under the donate link there, there is more information about the Occupy Sandy NYC fund, and there you’ll find Apply for Support as a button. There’s a form. The form gives us information. We need more ‘us’ so that we can process more information, so we can allocate funds in a way that isn’t terrible, because money is a problem.
“But, anyway. So, the next — the final phase in all this is that we’re working with people who have deployed successful participatory budget programs around the city. There have been eight city councilmen who have used their discretionary spending to incubate participatory budgeting, where the community leads the budgeting process. And that’s something that we feel is an extremely high priority. If we can use the attention and the resources that this whole event has created to put participatory budgeting in the spotlight, to create communities — to help incubate community-led initiatives to do budgeting, then the flood of resources that’s going to come into these communities will actually — there’s a chance that more of that will get community — will be budgeted by the community and will be directed at the community, as opposed to the powerbrokers that usually capitalize on this experience.”
More Incubation Team Bottomliners
Daniele: “So, where we are right now: we’re working on process-writing, and we’re working on our documentation. Once we get all of our documentation solid and awesome, we’re going to put it online, so you can see it — so you can see what’s being spent all the time.
“So, things that we could use — we could use more bottomliners, we could use grantwriters, we could use people who want to work on, like, a resource-gathering group. We could use, probably, some more people who are interested in working with benefits. We could use people who want to go to these benefits — people are just doing benefits. They’re like, “We want to donate to Occupy Sandy! Can you send people to table?” If you’d like to table, please come and see me at the end of this; we’d love to send you somewhere to table.”
Resource Gatherings & Feedback
Devin: “And one last thing — we’re really hoping to create what we are considering calling ‘resource gatherings’, where we bring projects that are interested in getting resources; that are interested in getting support, to an event, and we bring a bunch of people with resources — not just, like, money as resources, but technical resources, with skills — and creating, like, mixer events where people pitch their projects, and where there’s a good amount of time and shelter, so that people want to come to these events, see what the projects are about, and really — and work with those projects to continue them going forward.
“The last thing is, like, we — I don’t think — like, we need to do a better job, and we need more people to get involved in the process to do that. And, like, people who are interested should email us at email@example.com. We need more feedback, the more the better.”
Daniele: “Okay, and then I have one, one last thing — sorry. If you have a big donor who wants to give you some awkward amount of stuff or has a question about getting a receipt, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. And then I have one request for everyone in this community — we’re here; I’m at Jacobi, like, every day; I will be here after the meeting. If you have questions, if you have concerns — do not tweet them! Do not tell reporters — come and just come talk to us! We’re here, this is our community; the money follows the work, and that is it. Thank you.”
Becky: “Hey everybody! I know this is really long; and you’re going to start getting a little low-energy. So, I just want to take a minute, not talking, but just stand up a minute and stretch. You all look like you could use it; you’ve been sitting for a long time. And I just request that the rest of the people talking — and stand up slowly, instead of too fast. If you need to go get a drink of water — this is a report from the Volunteer Wellness — while you’re stretching, Volunteer Wellness status. Remember to eat real food; if you’re thinking back on the day, and you’re like, “Well, I had a granola bar earlier” — that doesn’t cut it. Drink water! Drink a lot of water. Stay hydrated. And also, try, try, try to get some sleep. If you’re going on three hours every day, you’re not going to be at your most effective. So, like, we love you all; you’re doing amazing work, please take care of yourselves.
“All right. Sit on down, let’s get back to these.”
Needs in the Rockaways
Dennis: “Hey, what’s up? I’m Dennis. And I’ve been a native New Yorker my whole life — I’m from Brooklyn; I spent every day of every summer of my life in Rockaway. My family’s from Staten Island; I live here in Brooklyn; I do my grocery shopping at Fairway in Red Hook. So this is… what you see — some of you people that might not be from around here — what you see is happening to me. What you’re trying to help is happening to me.
“I’ve been on the ground in Rockaway since Day One, doing the best I can — I’m just a kid from Brooklyn; I’m not a politician, I don’t have a lot of money. I’m you. Okay? Occupy Wall Street was a great movement; you coined the phrase “one-percenter”, and it’s fantastic. And Occupy Sandy has been warming people up to the Occupy movement. Where people may not have necessarily loved everybody so much before, they see the warm side and they — and they see that, and they love — they love everybody at Occupy for that. And so do I.
“And… I hear people talking about working with the Mayor now, and working with this, and — that’s great. I’ve been working with the Mayor since the first week, and I’ve been working with the Governor since the first week. I call Washington every day. And I’m still on the ground doing rescue missions every day. More than a month after Sandy — more than a month — I’m doing critical rescue missions tonight. Okay? We need immediate temporary housing, and we need a simultaneous program of reconstruction for the homes in Rockaway, so that they’re habitable for the residents there.
“This one-percenter, Bloomberg, that runs this city, is smart enough — believe it — and powerful enough to have a clear vision of what that beachfront property 20 miles from City Hall should look like. His vision does not include NYCHA housing; it does not include Section 8 housing. It does not include what costs the city money in some places.”
Someone: “Preach, preach!”
Dennis: “It includes resorts that funnel money into the city in a number of different directions.”
Someone: “Tell it.”
Dennis: “Okay? I’ve been working with people in Washington who are dedicated to empowering the community leaders that have grown organically through this disaster to decide — for the community to decide what the future of Rockaway is going to be — not for anyone else to do that. And I’ve been working every day, and I’m really, really close with people like Jerry, that Greg knows so very well at St. Gertrudes, and Prince Brown on 19th Street at Cornega, and all the way through the Rockaway, to Michelle Cortez at Veggie Island — and to Sal at Yana — people from all walks of life, who are gathering together for the community — for the community’s sake — and going to City Hall on Friday morning at 9:00. Because a minute and a half on local news is not enough coverage. When I talk to people in Amsterdam, my friends in California and Florida, and they say to me, ‘Wow, we looked at your Facebook wall; we had no idea it was that bad,’ and I tell them what I’ve been doing, and they just don’t know, it’s because the TV and the radio are keeping it unclear what’s going on on the ground down there. And we need support on Friday morning at City Hall so that it’s something newsworthy enough that the world will know about.”
Cheers and applause!
Cover-up of Deaths in Breezy Point
Miles: “Speaking of the news covering things up — the other day, I sent out my friend who’s a photographer — one of my good friends — out to around Breezy Point, while we were — I was working with my teams. And he took a lot of great photos and got out a lot of good information, but one thing in particular everybody, I think, should know.
“He met a woman who lived in one of those houses that burnt down, and she was there after… well, basically — there’s no easy way to put this… a lot, a lot more people died out there than the news is saying. The news maybe said 10 people died in Breezy. My friend…
A heavy sigh.
“She didn’t even want to give us this photo; my friend had to beg her for this photo. She had a film photograph of roughly 70 bodies on the beach in Breezy Point. And this kind of thing needs to get out there; I’m hearing similar things from Staten Island. Basically, what happened was.. as you know, the ocean came in. And then… it receded. And then a couple of days after that, all these bodies started washing up on the beach. And just in this photo — I don’t know all together, but just this photo alone, there was roughly 70.”
Miles’ voice has become very quiet. Someone shouts: “We can’t hear you.”
The number rings for a second.
Miles: “Yeah. I could use some help gathering more information about this; we need to blow the lid off this, as it seems to be a trend. I have a photo of the photo; the photo was taken on film, and my friend had to beg her to take a digital picture of this photo. And I’m having trouble finding this woman again, because her house was burned down and she’s been relocated. But I’m sure more people must know about this. I mean, she was there, there was… we even just got a couple more bodies wash up onto the beach the other day. Yeah, if anybody would like to help get to the bottom of this, let me know.”
You could hear a pin drop in this room right now.
Drew: “Yeah, that just points out how important the work we’re doing is. So, let’s continue with reportbacks. You’re up.”
Next reportback. Sam: “Wow, everyone looks super dazed. OK, I’ll try and be really brief and go back to the other format, before. So what’s changed, and what are we working on? So — sorry, this is training — anyone from training, can you stand? Okay. Actually, I’d like to say, anyone in this room who’s doing anything important, please raise your hand — that’s everybody; raise your hand. Okay. If it’s important enough that someone needs to be able to do it even if you’re not there that day, please raise your hand. Yes, everybody. No, don’t look at me. That means that you need to be part of this training conversation.
“It doesn’t mean you need to come to extra meetings, and it doesn’t mean you need to, like, consider yourself one of the trainers, or whatever that means, but one of the projects of one of the iterations of the training working group is trying to map: what work is getting done, what work needs trainings in order to be able to do it — so, one of the roles and tasks associated with that work, so more people can do it. So a lot of what I’ve been hearing is we really need people to — we need that written down somewhere, so that when someone comes in, or we have a large volunteer group, we can say, these are the tasks, and here’s how we train them, so someone else can take it over and have some ownership of that. Also, know what’s required of them. So that’s a project that’s been worked on. Adam, who just left, is working on that, but come see me about that.
“Other things — so training, at the beginning, was covering things like orientations for people who identified as volunteers coming through here and also 520; there still are orientation trainings happening at these sites; there were canvass trainings for awhile that were separate — one of the things that’s changed is that now a lot of the canvass training is folded into the orientation training. They’re also happening much less frequently, as we have less people.
Large Volunteer Groups
“One of the requests associated with that is that if people who are in comms are getting, you know, “I have a group of 100 people who want to come and volunteer” — please get that information to someone who’s doing the orientation training, so they can schedule those orientation traings and be more efficient with that time and what those people might be able to do. That would be Damien at 520 you can speak to, and Rachel is not here right now, but you can talk to me about Jacobi. Though maybe Damien is just the right person to talk to in general about that.”
Risk & Safety Training
“Upcoming trainings: Friday, 7pm at 520, there’s a risk and safety training — people will be talking about vaccinations, about tetanus and flu shots, environmental contaminants, equipment, and needs. That’s coming from some of the folks who’ve been working out in Rockaways. And that again — 7 pm at 520 — people who are going to be wanting to do that kind of work — oh no…” Crickets chirping tell her her time is up. “Okay, really fast — really fast. So, yeah, that is an upcoming training.”
Organizer & Community Engagement Training
“Another piece of the training universe is that the other piece of training that’s coming up now, rather than mostly dealing with people who are identifying as volunteers who are coming in to be sent out, there’s now a project going to places in, you know, starting in the Rockaways, but hopefully we’ll be able to spread to Coney Island, Staten Island, and other places where people are doing work and engaging with people who either are community members or people who are doing work in those sites who want to stay connected to those communities and running… whatever seems to be appropriate. So, one of the things that’s starting up in the Rockaways particularly is organizer training — some political education, but mostly things like how to organize the group that you’re working with so that it’s sustainable. Things like that. And that’s happening with one-on-ones, and that’s growing. The next meeting for people who are going to be doing that work is… we have a Doodle about that, but again, come see me if you’re interested in doing that kind of on-the-ground ongoing work.
Concern: Standardizing Training
“And… sorry — oh, some concerns. One of the concerns is that there is no standard training or any kind of standardization across people going out canvassing, or the kind of sensitivity and anti-oppression training that we were trying to give. That’s been hugely problematic. We don’t have that standardized across our own network; we certainly don’t have any kind of standardization or power over that in terms of Red Cross, FEMA, and the city. However, one of the things that we’re trying to do is coordinate with them so that they stop — I’m sorry — being assholes at the door. But so that we have some communication with them about what they’re doing.
“One of the concerns about that is that as we abstract and as we scale, losing some of the humanity that is really central to the work that we do and some of the kind of trainings that we do. And… I’ll drop the mic.”
Drew: “Thank you!”
Drew: “So, we just have three more. We have Red Hook — is anyone from Red Hook here prepared to give a… any kind of report back? Is anyone from canvassing prepared to give any kind of reportback?”
Yoni: “I didn’t do a Red Hook breakout, because there wasn’t one, but we had a Red Hook meeting earlier this morning.”
Drew: “All right, keep it brief.”
Becky: “If you know what’s going on, it’s…”
Drew: “Yeah. If you have the information, you…”
Yoni: “So, this past week in Red Hook, there has been a lot of sustainable organizing. There’s still a need of volunteers. If you have volunteers, contact me or talk to me after this. This morning, we had a meeting regarding the New York City Housing Authority. In the meeting that they had yesterday, it was tenants that met with NYCHA, and they discussed a lot of the demands. A lot of those demands will be met — like, there will be concessions on the rent subsidies — that appears to be what it will be.
“So, this morning, we had a press conference to keep the pressure on NYCHA. There was a lot of things that I personally wouldn’t have done, but it was different efforts that the tenants were doing. So it’s really important that Occupy Sandy as a separate entity continues to support them in their decisions and to, you know, be there as an ally in solidarity with them.”
Drew: “Okay, thank you very much. Housing or canvassing?”
Larry: “I can talk about canvassing in Jersey.”
Drew: “Canvassing in Jer– is there someone from canvassing that can — did anyone meet regarding canvassing to answer questions?”
Sounds like not this week.
Drew: “OK, I think what that means is that the reportbacks are done, unless there’s anyone that can report back on something that was not covered. If you raise your hand…”
Question on Volunteer Database
Someone: “This is more of a suggestion I was having in the reportback.”
Someone: “Apologies if I’m talking out of turn or being an asshole, but it seems like a lot of what I hear today is we all need volunteers. Correct?”
Affirmations from the meeting.
Someone: “A little bit? I know that everyone who has been volunteering here and in Clinton signed up on a big database — or signed up online. We have a database of how many thousands of people right now? I don’t know where this database is, but I think it would be — not to be rude, but I just don’t. It would be cool if whoever’s in charge can maybe talk to all the different coordinators around this room and say, “Hey, here’s the database if you guys want to pull form it.” We have people who say, “I’ve been working in the Rockaways,” “I can cook,” “I’m an electrician.” It would be a really good thing to have. offer it to people. I don’t know if it makes sense or if it’s a stupid idea, or what. So I don’t know who’s in charge of that; I’d help.”
Tess: “Drew, why don’t you explain the CRM?”
Drew: “Oh, okay. Yes. We have thousands and thousands of volunteers in a constituent relationship management system, which just means we have a list of email addresses of people and we know information about their skills and their availability. There are calls on Mondays and Thursdays at 9pm, and that would be an excellent time to get more information about that stuff — information about those calls is on these yellow signs.”
Tammy can answer the question.
Drew: “Oh, I’m sorry. And yes — you can answer the question.”
Answer on Volunteer Database
Tammy: “All right. So, we have a database of about 14,000 volunteers. We have all sorts of information. If you need a query about — so, you can do a query, like, if you want to know all the volunteers that have food preparation experience, we have that information in the database. And then we can send targeted emails to them. So, I — how do you do it? I think the best thing to do is to email email@example.com and you say, “Hey, I’m just a volunteer, and I want an email sent to volunteers with these specific skills,” and they’ll send you back either a spreadsheet with all the email addresses and phone numbers so you can contact them yourselves, or you can ask them to send an email. Either way.”
“And every — so, here’s the other specific information. Every day, pretty much every day, we send regular emails to that list of 14,000 people.”
Jackrabbit: “Yeah, every night they go out to the group.”
Tammy: “Every night. And if you want to add anything to that email that goes out — any specific information: go here, do this, we really need volunteers who can do this, contact me — there’s a hub. It’s Interoccupy.net/sandycoord. And there’s a bunch of useful links there — links for how to get stuff on the registry, links for how to get stuff up on the website, and also links for information you want to go out in that newsletter. So, anything you want to go out in that newsletter, go to that website — interoccupy.net/sandycoord. You should all know that — if there’s one thing you need to know, it’s that, because it has — all the organizing info is there. It has a roster of all the phone numbers and email addresses that are put in there. Everything you need to organize with each other is there, including a link to get information into the volunteer newsletter. Thank you; I’m done.”
Need for Inter-Hub Communications
Becky: “Alright; I’m going to make the quickest reportback of the evening — this is for what I’m terming Intra-occupy, which is, like, within Occupy Sandy or connecting the hubs. We need better communication between the hubs. I think we’ve been alluding to it with the asking for your contact information. Some of us are trying to find a car; we need a car that we can take to every single one of the sites in the coming days and check in with everybody in person — where they’re at, get pictures, get needs, get their contact information, get them set up with Google Voice numbers if they don’t already have one. What we need are: your cooperation when we come, any addresses you know of hubs, and your contact information now, if that is possible — and a car. Thanks.”
Drew: “Okay. I know — thank you, guys, for bearing with everything. So, we have a very special guest: Peter Yarrow is here. And he would like to sing a song. Would everyone — is everyone okay with having Peter come up? Okay, so I’m going to hand it over to Peter, and I’m going to stand in the back, and if you have any announcements, I’m going to take those announcements in. And after Peter is done…. Peter from Peter, Paul and Mary — “
Someone: “That’s right.” Applause; Peter strums his guitar.
Drew: “I’ll be in the back if you have any announcements you’d like me to say on the mic when we come back.”
Sing-a-Long with Pete Yarrow
Drew asks if folks are OK with having Peter, from Peter Paul and Mary, come up. He’s doing to the thing and then announcements when we come back. Well, this is a twist!
“There’s no easy walk to freedom / keep on waking and you shall be free / that’s how we’re going to make history,” Peter and friend have everyone in the pews singing. “Freedom for all, free at last, free at last.”
Wow, big applause!
Peter: “On October 4th, last year, right at the beginning of OWS, I came down with my daughter Bethany, her daughter — 4 and a half years old — to Occupy Wall Street, and then Christopher, Bethany’s brother came down, and subsequently I was at Occupy Denver, Occupy DC — and that — that whole movement… stood on the shoulders of the civil rights movement, when people realized in this country that it was ordinary human beings, not just powerful and wealthy people, who could change history. That’s when it became very apparent, in that movement. And singing was very important in it, because people were allowed to know that their hearts were bound together.
“What you are doing here is really transformational; it’s extraordinary — in fact, my daughter Bethany went out and saw what was going on in the Rockaways and it broke her heart. That’s what she has been doing with her life since then. I was across the ocean at the time… and when I just got back, I said I wanted to see what was going on. And I haven’t been out there, but I’ve seen you, and I must say, this is the long struggle — this is the road to freedom, what I’ve heard from you, that you are taking this matter into your own hands. It will not be the case that the established corporate interests or even the interests of the government will lead the way.
“It just has to come, on a person-by-person basis, the way you’re creating it. It is very hard — it is no easy walk, to successful alteration of the direction of a country — this country that has, to a certain degree, lost its heart. I sang in 63 with Paul and Mary… and we worked together through the anti-war movement, and it was the people that stopped it. So you should know that what you’re doing is extraordinary work.
“For Bethany to see what you’re doing is a great inspiration to me, and to hear me now with your humility, and you’re just walking, and that will set you free in the most profound of senses. I want to tell you that I visited Katrina about 3 years ago, and they did not have Occupy Katrina. And I visited houses that still were there, in the 7th and 9th wars, with a tic-tac-toe and a number in the left-hand corner with a number of people that died, and it’s still that way, and a number of people have not been able to return. And that will not happen because of what you’re doing. But it would happen if you were not doing it. It’s very challenging, because it’s not just a moment of recovery, as you know.
“It’s a matter of thinking about what is going to happen in the future, because of dramatic, radical climate change, and how to make sure that, as you have so powerfully said, the community itself rises up, as you said, and stays together. Because that is the bulwark of what must happen if we are to rescue our country form where it is going. So I salute you. I’m so proud to see that you are doing this. You are — you’re saving lives, you’re saving our country, you’re saving our ethic, you’re saving hearts. and your voices are important, too. When you — you do need a moment to sing together and be together and manifest your caring for one another, and that’s why the music is so good. So, I want to sing one another song for a moment, and then Bethany, who’s really been on the front lines with this, to speak. I know — I have the opportunity because of my history, but I’m not there — I haven’t been there, I was across the ocean, in Asia, but I’m back now, so I’m honored to be with you.”
Applause. Another song now, I think. “This one is good because you get to make up verses.”
Ahh — “We shall not / we shall not be moved…” He stops. “You don’t know the words — you just didn’t grow up with it. You’re just not pinkos, that’s all.” He starts to teach us the words. Becky: “We do know it!” Peter: “Oh, that’s OK — you know it.” But others don’t, so he continues amid some disorder — “Just like the tree — mic check!” Laughs and applause, everyone now repeating: “Just like the tree / that’s standing by the water / we shall not be moved.” This is pretty hilarious.
“Young and old together” “WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!” shouts everyone who is now dancing in the aisle, hilariously much more like a punk refrain than Peter’s croon.
“Listen Mayor Bloomberg — WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!” At this, everyone forms a human wall facing the altar, evoking familiar forms of struggle we know we will need to return to some time probably quite soon:
Some more great words from Peter that I can add in later from the recording.
Drew: “Thanks for sticking around; I have a few final announcements, and then we’re free to go. If you’re interested in helping plan the next meeting, which will be here next Tuesday, same time — same awesome long meeting — if you’re interested in building a process for making these meetings, please come up to the front of the stage after I’m done with these few little housekeeping announcements. If you are interested in space — finding space — please go into the back corner over there and talk to each other — Jacobi, 520 Clinton, Stan — Stan’s going to help you all a lot, he’s awesome.”
Becky: “Tomorrow night, there are a couple of things going on — first, the awesome guerilla screening of a film about Occupy Sandy and climate change at an undisclosed location, and I hear rumors that the Illuminator’s back in gear, which is super exciting. Followed by, 9pm at the Bell House, there’s a volunteer appreciation party — we’ve had a venue generously donated to us, live entertainment — I’m trying to find someone to fulfill volunteer needs such as haircuts, that have been asked a lot about. It’s going to be an amazing opportunity to interact with each other at a setting that is not a meeting.”
Drew: “OK, and lastly, the minutes for tonight’s meeting — pull out your pen and paper, people — I have a URL for you. These minutes, that will be up in the next couple of days, are at bit.ly/osapm112712. I’m just going to call meeting adjourned — thank you, everyone!”
Whew that was meta. OK that’s it. Thanks y’all.