SEIU Local 26, one of the feistier union locals in the nation, applauds the work of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, the OccupyMN crew, and a host of other people-powered groups of various creeds and disciplines in bringing a week of non-stop action, activism and education intended to make Minnesotans aware of what Wall Street’s doing to them, and how they can stop it.
We got a taste of it yesterday when, at 9:00 am sharp (we Midwesterners are early risers), Minnesota’s 99%, OccupyMN, came to start the occupation of the Hennepin County Government Plaza, now also known as The People’s Plaza, in downtown Minneapolis. They’re going to stay there for at least the next three months — yes, deep into the famed Minnesota winter. (Hey, if the Madison folks could camp outside without tents in mid-winter, we can too. Quality sleeping bags are a must.) You can watch the occupation live here and see what’s going on at any given moment. If you’re interested in helping them stick around, they have a list of needs posted here. Things may seem a bit quiet right now, but don’t be fooled — everyone’s just gathering their strength for the week to follow.
Monday features two big events. In the first, parents and neighborhood activists from Minnesota NOC, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, will gather at two o’ clock in the afternoon in front of an abandoned, foreclosed home at 1023 Newton Avenue North in Minneapolis. This house, now owned by Wells Fargo, will serve as the backdrop for the release of a study titled “THE IMPACT OF FORECLOSURES ON THE MINNEAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS.“ The study, written in partnership with Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, documents the impact of foreclosure on the enrollment and budget of the Minneapolis public schools. NOC activists will discuss their plans to ask the school board to move its banking from Wells Fargo to community banks. (Shades of the Fifth of November big-bank-for-community-bank swap Lisa Derrick mentioned the other day!) The second event, the Vigil for Good Jobs, starts at 4:00 PM under the Avenue SE Bridge on the West River Parkway.
Tuesday sees several happenings. At 11 am, there’s the “Super-Duper Committee: People’s vs. Bankers Budget” March led by TakeAction Minnesota. The march will go from Government Plaza to Wells Fargo bank in support of a People’s Budget rather than the expected budget cuts recommended by the “Super Committee.” TAC will ask the public to vote on which budget they support. If you want to see some hardcore democracy in action, check out the Minneapolis School Board Meeting at 5:00 pm over at the Minneapolis Public Schools District Office at 807 Broadway. Parents and community activists will ask the Minneapolis School Board to move its banking away from Wells Fargo and into community banks. They will rally outside the school board meeting at 5 pm and then testify at the board meeting beginning at 5:30. Finally, ISAIAH, non-profit coalition of 90 congregations from various faith traditions working in the Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Saint Cloud areas, is teaming up with the St. Paul City Council and a representative from the Mayor’s Office to hold a Housing Crisis Forum at 7:00 pm at St. James AME Church at 624 Central Avenue West in St. Paul. The forum will feature the release of a study showing that there is an affordable-housing crisis in St. Paul, and that neighborhoods with large numbers of low income and minority residents are being impacted at a far greater rate than other city neighborhoods. City Council members will be asked to take meaningful and concrete steps to begin combating the crisis by actively supporting a platform of policy initiatives around mediation, inclusionary zoning policies, and neighborhood stabilization.
Wednesday the 12th features a Rally to Stop Nursing Home Evictions, scheduled for 3:00 pm at the Dellwood Place Cerenity Care Center, located at 753 East 7th Street in St. Paul. This is one of two Cerenity care centers slated to be shut down in the coming months. The closing will displace residents who have lived in the community for years or decades—in some cases moving them far from family members. The rally will have caregivers and community supporters demanding that major banks and “the top 1%” pay their fair share of taxes to protect public services like quality care for our disabled and elderly. Contact Ryan Nagle at 651-587-3205 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Friday caps off the week — but not the occupation — with a March and Rally to Save the American Dream, starting at 3:00 pm from Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The marchers will go to the Wells Fargo Bank and tell Wells Fargo and Wall Street “Don’t Foreclose on the American Dream.” Marchers will call on the banks and super-rich to pay their fair share to create jobs and protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on the day “Super Committee” subcommittee reports are due. At Wells Fargo a marchers will ask for a meeting with Wells Fargo executives to discuss community concerns. March endorsers include: Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), ISAIAH, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), The Minnesota AFL-CIO, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, the Minnesota arm of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), TakeAction Minnesota, and the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1189. A concert will precede the rally beginning at 11:00 am in Peavey Park, with various musicians and spoken word artists.
As for next weekend, the planned happenings include the Festival for Justice Concert, Sunday, October 16th from 1:00 to 7:00 pm (with a rally from 1:00 to 2:00 pm) at the corner of Lake Street and 27th Avenue in Minneapolis. The concert supports CTUL, a workers-rights organization whose Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning has drawn attention to cleaning workers who sometimes cannot afford to buy groceries in the stores they clean. Artists include Guante, the Brass Kings, Grant Hart (yup, the artist formerly of Hüsker Dü) and more.
And that’s by no means the end of it. In fact, it’s just the beginning. There will be more to come.