Saturday, January 19, 2013

A table disappears, food appears


Now this is a mystery...we’re preparing for a meeting and notice the meeting table we keep in the sanctuary, the one  saw the course on miracles people around last night is missing. We look around the periphery of the sanctuary. Check jane’s office. Upstairs, downstairs, the medical office....nowhere. How does a meeting table just up and disappear? Walk  out of the building and down the street? 

Stephen found a woman locked in the upstairs bathroom before we opened the doors. Said she was a displaced Sandy person. What?

Our friends from the National Movement Against Sweatshops and  Sweatshop Free Upper Westside have come to meet with Hope and I. There are victories to celebrate...recent court decisions have sided with the worker against Saigon Grill and also Domino's. There are fears that Saigon Grill may try to go chapter 11 to avoid the fines. We need to get the word out further about the Domino's boycott.  My favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant Gabriela’s has made stellar process in increasing pay and expanding workers' rights. Cuban Chinese Flor de Mayo as well. This quiet community based campaign is building strength. And they know that we are completely with the idea that we do not want to speak for  anyone but to work with people to  help them speak for themslves.  That's what organizing is about.  

We also talk about how to handle conflicts and resolve issues without casting people into the outer darkness, which Hope and I have seen too much of over 40 years. Ideological disputes break friendships and decades go by before they're healed. As we make a new world, we have to be better....

Stephen has been hustling searching for the missing table and doing meeting set up. The agenda of projects to do is growing. 

Marc is hard at work repairing some scratches and chips on the Beckstein.

Henry is back. He gives me an unlimited metro card. Well, that’s different. But soon enough, he needs nutriment, which you can’t get at WSCAH. I tell him I've got no money. And then he says, but you do have a credit card...and the very audaciousness of that winds me up in the CVS drugstore across the street. 

Cara and Anna are becoming a two punch cleaning duo. Getting to know each other. Comparing stories. One sweeps, the other holds the dust pan. Anna’s help enables Cara to upgrade today’s cleaning from a half-assed to a full-assed job, as she put it. They  go all the way down Amsterdam and arid the corner down 86th Street.

As Danielle and I overhear their conversation, I feel like I’m in a long running performance art piece. I’m looking for Andy Kaufman to show up any minute. A man comes in seeking rental assistance. Before I can refer him to Gale Brewers office, Anna has joined in and opened her mental Rolodex (wait is that passe? Should I say, search engine?) and has given him a full review of every possible nearby resource and how it get there.  

Anna has her intelligence and keen eye, a sardonic sense of humor and a love of humanity that can only bring pain. Cara shares that love along with creativity, a dancer’s grace,  passion and drama. What I see is how so many are joining in to try and pick up the pieces left scattered by Teddy’s death. There’s something very affirming about that.

Our friends from Dzieci have come in to talk about their upcoming 24 hour marathon theatrics/spiritual workshop. The lost their original space and have moved the gentrified to West-Park. I a so drawn to participating...They have brought a case of wine as a gift. We also talk about the fact that this is a highly gentrified neighborhood. But it also still has supportive housing SRO’s, an AIDS residence two blocks away, public housing projects two blocks t the north. The city, the neighborhood would just as soon they stay invisible. y dream is that West-Par ca be a place where the two populations can meet and encounter one another and see that as good. Those who could be invisible have found an unequivocal welcome at West-Park. A home. But how do we attract the other part of the neighborhood as well? those who could actually providing  the money  to keep us open alive and growing? Remembering that Isis is  from Tulsa, I invoke  up my mentor Father Dan Allen and Neighbor for Neighbor again. How could create a space where people would feel honored to take part? I keep feeling that Dzieci is part of the answer to hat question. So we begin to develop a conversation about creating a passion play that could do that.  Time is short, but....

Fresh cooked beef and vegetables has appeared on the steps. Warm and delicious looking. Cara brings it in, finds the right utensils and begins serving people who come by.

I need to take a walk. Clear my head. See if RL is in his office 

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