Important Upcoming Meetings:
· Meeting on Monday @ Food For Thought Books, 5:00-5:45pm, discuss strategy for Tuesday Racism in Schools meeting
· Town Hall Meeting on Monday @ Town Hall, 6:30pm: Discuss the substance of the anti-secure communities legislation
April 10th, NYC, March for Trayvon
April 28th, Hartford, National Day of Action Against the War on Women
April 21-22, Syracuse, Protest Military Drones
April 14th, Brattleboro, Bernie Sanders/VT Yankee
April 14th, Amherst, 99% Spring Non-Violent Direct Action Training,
Springfield Trayvon Rally, March 31st–1500-2000 people, diverse crowd, really well organized/mobilized, many speakers emphasized this is the start of things–follow up with Alliance for Black Professionals about mobilizing strategy (Jean)
Poverty Rally, April 2nd–Michael Ann/ARISE very appreciative of solidarity that Occupy Amherst showed, unclear if much forethought has been put into organizing strategy for an actual campaign, fun to cause a ruckus inside the mayor’s office
Van Payment for Springfield–was Bob expecting reimbursement?
Bank of America Action–4 people passed out flyers
GA Structure Proposal Discussion:
Decided this would be a discussion, not a decision making session at this point.
Jared emphasizes personal motivation for creating proposal to meet much less frequently as a full GA–has felt frustrated and like we haven’t accomplished a great deal as Occupy Amherst. Meeting less frequently frees up energy to do work in working groups and with other people. Sees work as the outreach we do, feels we will figure out our purpose by doing things together.
Debra came to similar conclusions about meeting less frequently as a GA, but differently about our accomplishments as Occupy Amherst. Recalls the very fast planning of the Western Mass GA, the rapid mobilization for the Amherst schools racism and poverty rally, also believes we have created networks with each other and increased our involvement with other causes through coming to OA. Proposes a once monthly GA, with weekly, 30 minute “huddles” to meet up, share information, and talk about current events.
Gary fears the group will fall apart if we don’t keep meeting weekly. Sees Jared’s concerns/frustrations as having a personal solution: he can just come less often
Paul–Has a time quota for Occupy Amherst, would rather be in working groups than GA, perhaps we meet two times a month
Gracie–emphasizes that some people like process, some people don’t, prefers to meet for less time each month
Roger–understands time constraints, likes the community that has formed, fears for it if we meet once a month. Believes all of us come with different goals, and we come here because we hope to find other people that support our individual goals. Doesn’t see need for one common purpose
Liana–is premature to talk about changing structure because we still don’t have purpose
Lani–feels that goals will be established once we begin doing things–supports Jared’s proposal for more work/action in working groups
Jared–emphasizes that we should see our changes in terms of absolutes. Making changes to our structure is a learning and experimentation process. Proposes that whatever we do, we are the ones who decide whether it works for us or not, so we shouldn’t be so afraid of changing some.
Beth–we are still working on self-definition so we need to distinguish ourselves, we should allow new people to have testimonials in GA
Amy–proposes we discuss her email proposal about the three different purposes for Occupy Amherst next week
Working Group Report Backs:
End Corporate Rule
· Has attended talks in Northampton and is joining forces with a group to pass the 28th amendment
· On May 15th Paul Cienfuegos is coming to Amherst–this guy proposes towns defy federal and state laws to see what happens–Roger is working to create a 1 day workshop with him
· You can listen to his radio pieces on alternate radio from the OA website (End Corporate Rule working group Resource link)
· WG is also working with Shays 2
Merge Outreach & Inclusivity WG Proposal (Beth)
· Questions from the group about what outreach actually means–does it mean publicity only or is it related to establishing relationships with people or both?
· Need for new Outreach WG point person (nobody volunteers)
· General consensus by group that they would like to see a more fleshed out proposal by Beth before considering changing the working groups and to hear more from the Inclusivity and Outreach WGs
· Must we artificially “advertise” for Occupy Amherst or let it grow organically through the work we do?
Racism in Amherst Schools: Planning
· Meeting with various administrators on Tuesday, April 10th @ 8:00am in Amherst Middle School.
· Emphasis that this is about larger fights against institutional racism in the schools as a whole
· Michael Hayes–Principal of Middle school–comments in newspaper makes him seem like hopeful ally, but he is possibly leaving on sabbatical next year
· Now that Hayes has found out the community will be at the meeting, he has tried to contact the Vicki (pseudonym) to meet individually before Tuesday
· Lani emphasizes the tone she and Vicki talked about going in there: give the administrators the benefit of the doubt, that we’re ready to work together with them, but that we don’t feel what they are doing is adequate and believe instead we should do x, y, and z, alternatives.
· General enthusiasm for the idea of eventually taking control of school board to fix end racism in the schools
· Jean reports that at “Achievement Gap” talk, after she questioned the speaker about the problematic nature of the achievement gap and talked about the racism her children faced in the schools, other women came forward and spoke about the experiences their children also had.
· Questions that came up
o Do the parents of the white boy know the incident with Vicki’s son was about racist remarks their son made?
o How will the school deal with it in lieu of the fact that is was an incident of racism?
o How many people will come to the meeting on Tuesday? (10-15)
o Will there be discussion of how to resolve this incident?
o What are the problems with the system they’re claiming to be implementing?
o Who are all the stakeholders in this situation?
o Will other parents whose children have faced racism be present? Outreach needed
· School demographics don’t reflect Amherst Demographics–50% white, but Amherst is 80% white–this is b/c white students tend to be wealthier and are being sent to private schools
· Look into support group called RADAR
o A topic has been set, which provides more structure than before, but is not totally structured: Local Implications of Trayvon Martin–Racism in Amherst
o Nobody took on responsibility for organizing for it
o Tension in group between making it an event to outreach and grow Occupy Amherst and for it to be a conversation for people in Occupy Amherst themselves–both purposes in initial proposal
o Ben suggests the need for public events to inject radical ideas into broader public discourse
o Janna suggests having a working group dedicated to organize and facilitate and publicize Sunday conversations, just to make sure someone is there to guide it slightly. Would be very light commitment
o Again, Jared emphasizes this is a learning process, first time informed second time which now informs the third time.
o Is this Conversation part of movement building or not–do we use it to pull in lots of new people or more for ourselves and a few other people we might want to come? 3-5pm, April 15th, Unitarian Universalist Church
Amy is Facilitating Next Week