Tag Archives: East Side Freedom Library

Meridel LeSueur’s words ring true at ESFL

A good civilization gives the greatest possible scope to the common passions and makes them intelligible among the great number of people ~ Meridel LeSueur

Meridel LeSueur would embrace the vision and endorse the vision of the East Side Freedom Library (ESFL).  She would no doubt have some helpful suggestions for programs and outreach strategies, but she would embrace the idea!

The feeling is mutual. The vision and words of Meridel resonate in the essence of ESFL In fact, the mission of ESFL is to “give the great possible scope to the common passions and make them intelligible among the great number of people.

Though Meridel died in 1996 her spirit lives, captured in her own words, in the memories of colleagues and in film/video – not to mention in the lives of those who felt her influence. Her spirit is needed at this hour.

To underscore that point, ESFL is sponsoring a Labor Movie Night, starring the spirit of Meridel.  My People Are My Home is a 45-minute creative documentary produced in 1976 by a Twin Cities women’s film collective.  The documentary follows the text of several of Meridel’s writings “woven with images of Midwestern people, especially working class women.  It fulfills Meridel’s vision of making “common passions…intelligible among the greatest number of people.”

Following the film there will be a discussion of the film and of the life and work of Meridel LeSeuer.  The discussion will be led by Neala Schleuning who has written about Lesueur, including for this MNOpedia entry (http://www.mnopedia.org/person/le-sueur-meridel-1900-1996)   Members of the women’s collective that created the film will be on hand to participate in the exchange of ideas.

The film showing and discussion are Tuesday, August 1, 7:00 p.m. at ESFL 1105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul 55106.   Free and open.

Summertime means time to read!

One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by ~~Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle

The recent post report notwithstanding, the F. Scott Fitzgerald international conference does not a summer make. When the dust has settled bibliophiles will continue book binge and reluctant readers won’t be able to resist the abundance of literary lures. What follows are hints of the possibilities.  Whether you’re a reader, a good listener, a browser or just choose to hang out with word lovers, you’ll want to keep your eyes and mind open to the possibilities!  The list here is sadly metro-centric and arbitrary – the idea is to suggest sources and inspire creative searches for bookish gatherings that may pop up in unexpected places.

Public libraries and local Friends of the Library are planning close-to-home programs for all ages.  The MELSA calendar is humungous and detailed, loaded with Bookawocky events for kids,  book discussions, music, house history, art, gardening, something for everyone.  Think reading options, varieties of content and the choice of format that fits the seeker’s fancy and device.

More than ever libraries have no monopoly on reading resources and events – the great good news is that book sales are rising, book groups, literary events of every fashion are everywhere – in coffee shops, places of worship, indie bookstores, parks, book festivals  and more.

Following are some bookish possibilities that suggest you’ll find books and reading – local writers reading their books, book art, book discussions, poets, historians, even Little Free Libraries — in unexpected places!  Troll the neighborhood to learn who’s reading or listening to what… consider your nosiness as a high-brow form of voyeurism.

A few events that might activate your literary inclinations:

June 16, 7-8:00 PM Victoria Houston (http://www.victoriahouston.com) The author will discuss her new book Dead Spider at Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, 604 W 26th Street, , Minneapolis. Doors open at 6:30.

June 17, 2 PM.  History Comes Alive: Emily O. Goodridge Grey.  Emily O. Goodridge Grey was an African American social activist, pioneer and abolitionist in Minnesota during the 19th century.  Hosmer Library. 347 E 36th St, Minneapolis  This is just one in a robust series of History Comes Alive programs, stories of African American men and women shaped not just Minnesota, but the entire nation. The series is developed by Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center.(https://www.facebook.com/MAAMCC/

June 17, 10 AM.  Joel Katz, author of From Footpaths to Freeways, Minneapolis Central Library.  Katzwill discuss the history of highway development in Hennepin County and around the state.  His talk will trace Minnesota’s road and street systems, how they developed in pre-statehood times in the 1840’s to today.  Katz will also talk about classifications, construction, maintenance, traffic control, safety congestion, bridges and the interstate system.  Sponsored by Friends of Minneapolis Central Library.

June 17, 3 PM. David Sedaris and Ariel Levy, Common Good Books.  The authors will read and sign their new books:  Sedaris’ Theft by Finding and Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply. http://www.commongoodbooks.com/event/common-good-books-hosts-david-sedaris-ariel-lev

June 21. All day. Book it to the parks!  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of MPR the Minneapolis Foundation is donating 50 Little Free Libraries to Minneapolis Parks.  Local writers will be reading from their children’s books at city parks throughout the day.  For a full list of parks and readings check here: https://www.minneapolisfoundation.org/bookit/

June 25, Open Mic Night at Coffee House Northeast, 2852 Johnson in Northeast Minneapolis– 5:45-8:30 PM.  This is one of countless  summertime open mic possibilities –  For a full list of Open Mic events check here: http://openmikes.org/calendar/MN

June 16 7 PM.  Heid E. Erdrich Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis. Learn more about Heid Erdrich here:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/heid-e-erdrich 

June 17, 2 PM David Housewright, What the Dead Leave Behind.(https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rosemary-simpson/what-dead-leave-behind/) Valley Bookseller, Stillwater. 

June 22, 7 PM. East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul. Norah Murphy reads from her book White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A MemoirThe story of the author’s ancestors’ maple grove, home of Dakota, Ojibwe and Ho-Chunk who were dispossessed when the Irish arrived, the story of the author’s search for the connections between the contested land and the communities who call it home.  Part of the ESFL’s monthly “Women from the Center Reading Series.”

Friday, June 22, 7 PM Kevin Kuhn: Do you realize? A Novel.  Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis https://www.evensi.us/kevin-kuhndo-you-realize-a-novel-eat-my-words-bookstore/212898374

+ + +

You get the idea — These are June happenings only.  During the summer months Minnesotans will take part in these and a zillion other book/reading/word events.  To know what’s happening in your community,  keep checking these current – and complementary – calendars.  Each posts literary happenings set in bookstores, parks, coffee shops and wherever people who dare to share ideas gather.

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge;

it is thinking that makes what we read ours. John Locke

Escaping Anxiety This Summer of Our Discontent

By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something about the world.  Umberto Eco


In this summer of our discontent we have a sense that control has been wrested from our hands.  One way to be sure that we are not reduced by the situation in which we find ourselves is to explore our options – especially ideas and events that expand our thinking beyond the harsh reality of the day.  Here are just of few of the creative mind-refreshing events happening this summer – the tip of a mighty learning iceberg (which, unlike physical icebergs, is not melting as a result of human stupidity.) Clearly the major institutions have promoted grand events, exhibits, openings and more.  Following are just a just a very few of the initiatives with a bookish connection that may be slipping through the promotional cracks.  There’s no intent to be inclusive, simply to suggest that readers be on the lookout for escape routes from anxiety!

The 2017 Book Art Biennial.  “Shout Out: Community Intervention, Independent Publishing, and Alternative Distribution” is the theme of this biennial event.  Expect programming that “encourages people of all disciplines and skill levels to amplify individual and collective voice through grassroots artistic practice.” The centerpiece of the Book Art Biennial is the presentation of the MCBA Prize, a unique award that showcases and honors the best artists’ books in the world. The winner will be announced at a gala and awards ceremony the evening of Saturday, July 22. (http://www.mnbookarts.org/biennial)

Registration is open through June 11 for exhibitors at the Thirteenth Annual Twin Cities Zine Fest set for September 24 2017.   The Free For All Zine Lounge is now open through August 13 at Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Avenue South.  Sponsored by the Twin Cities Zine Fest (http://tczinefest.org)

A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. June 12 (7:00 PM – 8:30 PM) Minneapolis Central Library. IBé, Bao Phi and Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria as they read their essays from the timely book, “A Good Time for the Truth.” This collection from 16 local writers features reflective essays on life as a person of color in Minnesota. Q&A will follow the reading hosted by the editor Sun Yung Shin. Registration is encouraged and can be done here. (https://www.facebook.com/events/1761221477450326/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%223%22%2C%22ref_newsfeed_story_type%22%3A%22regular%22%2C%22feed_story_type%22%3A%22117%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D)

The East Side Freedom Library continues its monthly collaboration with A Greener Read Bookstore.  On June 16th the theme is “Storytelling through Vinyl and Film” Gather at 5:00 at the Bookstore, 506 Kenny Road in St. Paul, for happy hour and listening to music.  Focus will be on South African “kwaito” music, a blend of traditional South African forms and hip hop. ESFL will also continue their Women from the Center Reading Series, featuring the work of Midwest writers from diverse communities who support one another as they “write their truths.   Writers on the fourth Thursdays of the summer months include these:   June 22: Norah Murphy (White Birth, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir), July 27: Marcie Rendon (Murder on the Red River), August 24: Carolyn Holbrook (Earth Angels).  In fact, ESFL sponsors a robust summer programs overflowing with ideas and energy. ESFL is at 1105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul 55106. Check the full schedule here: (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org)

On Wednesday, June 21, Minneapolis parks will open more than 50 new Little Free Libraries  a gift from the Minneapolis Foundation to local families in honor of Minnesota Public Radio’s 50th anniversary. MPR hosts, local authors, and other guest readers will celebrate by reading children’s books at story times in parks all over the city, from sunrise to sunset on summer’s longest day. Book It to the Parks!  (http://www.minneapolisfoundation.org/bookit/)

Silverwood Park, in the far Northeast corner of Hennepin County, is one of the mighty county’s lesser known havens for creative expression of every sort.  Focus is on the talents of local and emerging artists. Silverwood Onstage is the summer series of amphitheater programs that include Wednesday night concerts, movies and a mixed bag of performances. For details on the diverse selections click here:   (https://www.threeriversparks.org/page/silverwood-onstage)

If you’re not already in a book group, you might want to join one of the several sponsored by the Minnesota Women’s Press.  To learn more, click here:  http://womenspress.com/main.asp?SectionID=10&SubSectionID=36&ArticleID=38&TM=62697.43

When’s the last time you reached out to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar bookstore?  Here are some possibilities that will welcome you with open tomes:   (https://www.newpages.com/independent-bookstores/minnesota-bookstores)

My favorite indie, Eat My Words, is moving up the road a piece this summer – still in Northeast Minneapolis.  More in a related blog post.   Meanwhile, the EMW calendar indicates more, not fewer, events.  Proprietor Scott VanKoughnett  confirms that event attendees will not be asked to tote armloads of books to the new site.  Click here for an interview with EMW Scott  VanKoughnett::  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tumRr08qkrc)

Traveling this summer?  The American Writers Museum, the gift of retired executive Malcolm O’Hagan and other donors, opened May 16 in Chicago.  (http://americanwritersmuseum.org)

Closer to home, you might want to check out the SoMN, a network of southern Minnesota history museums.  (http://www.exploreminnesota.com/travel-ideas/5-must-see-museums-in-southern-minnesota/)

For the motherlode of ideas for summer escapes explore with the editors of Explore Minnesota their “bucket list” of possibilities!       (http://www.exploreminnesota.com/travel-ideas/your-2017-minnesota-bucket-list/)

Ideas that Bloom in the Spring, Tra La!

A good idea will keep you awake during the morning, but a great idea will keep you awake during the night.   Marilyn Vos Savant 

Much like – no doubt inspired by – the tulips and daffodils that grace the city boulevards and country roadsides, ideas bloom in Spring.  These are just a very few of the ideas that have been germinating during these spring-like days and evenings.

The idea in this brief is to suggest a smattering of less-publicized events that share the rich pollen of ideas and information that may “keep you awake during the night.”  Opportunities to explore good ideas are blooming everywhere these days – take time to smell the roses!

Events:

Programs at Eat My Words! Bookshop on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month of May.  1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events?view=calendar&month=May-2017

  • May 6 – 3 pm – Anne Marie Mershon: You Must Only to Love Them: Lessons Learned in Turkey.
  • May 12, 7:00 PM – Nora Murphy, White Birch, Red Hawthorn.
  • May 13 – Howard A.W. Cargon, Howard A.W Caron. Lily Pond: Forged Alliance, 3:00 PM
  • May 19, Meet the author: Connie Claire Szarke, Moon. – 5:00 PM
  • May 26, Kathleen Novak: Do Not Find Me, 7:00 PM
  • May 27 – Poetry performance with Sharon Chmielarz and Larry Schug, 3:00 PM

Ongoing during May  –  A sampler of a busy month sponsored by East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul.

  • May 9, 7:00 pm – Nativism and Resistance-Then and Now. Dr. Peter  Rachleff
  • May 15, 7:00 pm Racism in our Hometown: The story of the Arthur and Edith Lee Family. Presented by the APWU Solidarity Kids Theater. East Side Freedom Library.
  • May 16, 7:00 PM, 100 Years at the Library. Greg Gaut, Bill Lindeke, and Billie Young.  St Anthony Park Library, 2245 Como Avenue, St. Paul.
  • May 18, 6:00 PM, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids. William Jones, Yuichiro Onishi, James Robinson. Rondo Community Outreach Library, 461 North Dale Street, St Paul.
  • May 21, 10:30 AM. Payne Avenue Walking Tour & Library Celebration with Peter Rachleff.  Registration required http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/historic-payne-avenue-walking-tour/

May 6 – Researching the History of Your Minneapolis Home.  10:30-11:30, Minneapolis Central Library Special Collections. https://mclib.bibliocommons.com/events

May 7 – In Her Own Voice, Selected Works of Grace Flandrau, edited by Georgia Ray. 4:00 PM, Commodore Bar and Restaurant, St Paul. http://www.twincities.com/2017/05/01/in-her-own-voice-book-looks-at-importance-of-st-pauls-grace-flandrau/

May 11, 7:00 PM – Writers Read, The Coffee Shop Northeast, 2852 John St, NE, Minneapolis.  All writers/readers, every genre www.thecoffeeshopne.com

May 20, Noon-4:00 PM – Minneapolis International Festival, Boom Island Park, 724 Sibley Street NE, Minneapolis.  Music, dance, cultural exhibits. (http://millcitytimes.com/news/minneapolis-international-festival-set-for-may-20-at-boom-is.html)

 

May 25, 7:00 PM. Black Memory and Imagination An Intergenerational Conversation on Archiving Black Arts Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408. Sponsored by Friends of the U of M Libraries https://www.continuum.umn.edu/event/black-memory-imagination/

Exhibits:

Protest Publishing and Art: From the Copy Machine to the Internet.  U of M Wilson Library.  Through May 19.

The Anatomy of a Hospital: The Buildings of The Swedish Hospital, St. Barnabus Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center.  Minneapolis Central Library, through May 30. http://hclib.tumblr.com/post/159346669813/the-anatomy-of-a-hospital-the-buildings-of-st

We Watch the Stream, sponsored by the Mississippi Watershed Management Office, Stormwater Park and Learning Center, 2522 Marshall St, NE, Minneapolis.   Through June 23.

Understand that these ideas offer just a sniff of a garden of good ideas that are waiting to “keep you awake on a hot summer night when you cannot sleep!”

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt 

 

 

 

 

 

Kudos to East Side Freedom Library!

Over the months we have shared any number of posts about the East Side Freedom Library, including this introduction.  (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/east-side-freedom-library-gives-new-life-to-carnegie-library-st-paul-neighborhood/)

Still, this is the most celebratory.

The ESFL has just been named recipient of the John Sessions Memorial Award, sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees AFL-CIO, and administered by the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association.  The award recognizes “a library or library system which has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and by doing so has brought recognition to the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States.”

John Sessions, in whose memory the Award is given, was with the AFL-CIO and  co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups.

Quoting from the announcement, the award reflects “multiple letters from local and regional labor unions [that] glowingly attest to the Library’s leadership in

  • raising awareness of the centrality of workers, immigrants, and the labor movement to the past, present and future of the East Side, Twin Cities, and Minnesota,
  • being a valuable resource and reliable ally, a place where diverse audiences assemble, hold conversations and explore shared concerns
  • an important extension of local labor movement, and
  • most notably, “a partner”

The John Sessions Memorial Award will be presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on Sunday, June 25.

Previous local recipients of the John Sessions Award include The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library (2003) and Hennepin County Library (1990).

Much more about the East Side Freedom Library at their website http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/ — or, better yet, plan a visit or participate in one of their robust agenda of timely programs!

PHOTO:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzx6aY5WD4LgOGgwOFF4WVZldVU/view?ts=5969733e

 

 

Latest Plans for MLK Day 2017

Though we have yet to drop the crystal ball announcing the new year or to officially launch the new regime, this season more than most it seems wise to plan ahead for Martin Luther King Day, set for Monday, January 16, 2017. The message of hope that MLK shared with the world is needed at this hour.

One way to think ahead is to recall the contributions and leadership of MLK. And a way to do this is to immerse oneself in the era and to reflect on the issues is to listen to or read the words of MLK here: The I Have a Dream Speech (1963) http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm or to read the Letter from Birmingham Jail: https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf

The story of the long struggle to establish the MLK Holiday was is a saga in itself. Many articles have been written about that history – for a brief chronology look to the MLK Center’s website: http://www.thekingcenter.org/making-king-holiday

In weeks to come schools and libraries, nonprofits, the faith and academic communities and corporations will all be announcing plans for celebrating the life, work and words of Martin Luther King.  To learn about more about local MLK Day happenings follow the website and FaceBook sponsored by the Governor’s Council on the Martin Luther King Celebration: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=state%20of%20minnesota%20governor’s%20council%20on%20the%20mlk%20day%20celebration%20photos

Because plans are in-the-making keep on clicking during the next couple of weeks.

Some activities are already well set and posted. The day begins with a Youth Rally and March beginning at the State Capitol at 9:00 on Monday, January 16. The March will lead to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts for a program on civil rights, social justice and social consciousness.   Keynote speaker is Caroline Wanga, Chief Diversity Officer and VP of Diversity and Inclusion at Target Corporation.

Across the river hundreds of folks will gather for the annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast. Keynote speaker this year is Myrlie Evers-Williams, a journalist and civil rights activist. Evers-Williams, who was married to murdered civil rights activist Medgar Evers, chaired the NAACP from 1995-1998. She also wrote of her experience during the struggle for civil rights in several books including For Us, The Living and, Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I was Meant to Be.

The MLK Day Breakfast has been sponsored for over a quarter century by The General Mills Foundation and The United Negro College Fund. The event is carried live on TPT/Channel 2 and replayed several times during MLK Day and again on following Sundays. Check TPT for specifics.

In recent times there has been a push to promote the idea of community service as an important aspect of MLK Day. To learn more about service opportunities, check with the Corporation for National Service.

And yet, all of these are examples of what others are doing, things people can attend. The reason to post this reminder at the start of the new year is to get readers thinking about taking the initiative locally. A challenge today is to generate ideas, to engage community not only in mega-events but also in local discussions of the message of Dr. King and the history of civil rights, voting rights, human rights. The challenge is to examine how we are doing in 2017.

A wise friend made me understand many years ago that MLK is one national holiday that is devoted not to family or parades or patriotism. It is instead a day for people to gather within their own circles, to get to know each other, to plan to work together to do what needs to be done in memory of Dr. King. To honor Dr. King we reach out within our local circle to understand, to collaborate, and to create a better community. In the spirit of MLK Day we are charged share ideas and energy with neighbors, co-workers, fellow-worshipers or learners, people we don’t even know yet – to work to create a common vision of a just society that recognizes and honors the rights of all.

 

NOTE – added event:  the East Side Freedom Library will sponsor a special screening on the evening of MLK Day — a screening of the recent documentary “Love and Solidarity.” (2014)  The film explores  nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Reverend James Lawson.  Lawson provided strategic guidance during his work with MLK in southern struggles for civil rights, including the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968.  Lawson continued his  work in support of nonviolent protest  in Los Angeles where he organized community and and worker coalitions that played a role in the LA labor movement of that era.

NOTE – added event:  Love Hope Rise 2017 brings energy and ideas to this community’s Martin Luther King remembrance with a Solidarity March set for Saturday, January 14. In the spirit of the community celebration sponsors extend a special welcome to families with children and first-time demonstrators.

 

Theme of the Solidarity March is the basic principle of “treating others as you want to be treated.” There will be an indoor pre-march program, sign-making on the positive values of justice dignity, equality, freedom, stewardship and peace.

Check the Facebook event page to keep up with details and developments. https://www.facebook.com/Love-Hope-Rise-2017-Coalition-421588658172703/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

The East Side Freedom Library, co-sponsor of the March, will join the Love Hope Rise solidarity march as its regular Solidarity Saturday initiative.

 

 

Heeding the clarion call to civil conversation

The process of really being with other people in a safe, supportive situation can actually change who we think we are . . .. And as we grow closer to the essence of who we are, we tend to take more responsibility for our neighbors and our planet. ~ Bill Kauth

We’ve heard the clarion call. We have wounds to heal – the healing process demands civil conversation, open exchange of ideas, values, differences and fissures in our community. Now what?

A priority must be to locate or create safe gathering places for community members to gather, share opposing opinions, to listen, to share life experiences, to own our strengths and admit our weaknesses. We need spaces in which Individuals feel safe to be honest about their values, needs, hopes, fears and innermost struggles. And we need “prompts” that create common ground for civil discourse.

Minnesotans share a proud legacy of lively discourse. Our forebears believed in – and seemingly enjoyed – dialogue. We can learn them — from our American Indian ancestors who shared their thoughts around the community fire, from immigrants gathered in country school houses, church basements, the Grange, the firehouse or Main Street eatery.

Today many of us live in urban neighborhoods, high rises, far-flung suburbs. We commute to work, learn, shop or connect with distant friends and family members. We communicate by email, text, twitter, even by POTS. We exchange information and ideas not face-to-face but by “devices” with no relationship to place or neighborhood or physical community.

And yet, as social beings, we have not lost our need for tangible space in which human beings who may not know each other gather, learn, share, discuss, debate. As Bill Kauth writes, that’s how change – even progress – happens. The supportive environment Kauth describes frees us to think, grow and “take on the responsibility for our neighbors and our planet.”

And so I asked myself, what and where are the gathering places? Because we are told to “write what we know” I have looked to my Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood, not as a neighborhood booster but to offer examples of how one unique community gathers and shares in some of the safe spaces that foster open dialog.

Like every neighborhood, Northeast Minneapolis is unique. The character of Northeast is founded by generations of immigrants, strengthened now by artists who share with ethnic minorities a propensity to “see life steadily and see it whole.”   Creative, committed visionaries who live and work in Northeast have felt both a need and great possibilities. They have dared to create those safe havens – and that has made all the difference.

My passion for the past few years has been to identify and shine a light on leaders – often unsung – who have built a community rich with oases that answer the people’s thirst to communicate. I’ve shared many of the stories on this blog and, more recently, in my work on the Voices of Northeast video project. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/voices-of-northeast-minneapolis-captured-and-shared-on-video/

The joy of it all is that, through Poking and Voices it’s been possible to share some, not yet all, of the gathering places that provide the fertile ground in which healing discourse thrives.

Eat My Words Bookstore (http://eatmywords.com) hosts a rich program of speakers and events on a wide range of topics; the unique bookstore also publishes a great email newsletter. Learn more here https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words/ or view this interview with bookstore proprietor Scott VomKorghnett https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tumRr08qkrc (sound quality not good)

The story of Poken Sword (www.poken.sword.org) is best told by those who provide the space and plan the programs. Christine Jaspers, the mind behind Poken Sword, (http://www.pokensword.com) and Dean Hawthorne, proprietor of 2001: A Space (http://2001aspace.com) share the story of their collaboration in this recent Voices interview – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6by48NS1V4&feature=youtu.be)

Coffeehouse Northeast (http://www.thecoffeeshopne.com) comes alive on “Open Mic” night – Don’t miss the post-election conversation next Sunday, November 13, 5:45-8:30 p.m. The Coffeehouse also hosts “Writers Read”, a series of readings by local authors organized by local poet Janaya Martin (http://www.mynortheaster.com/wp-content/news-archives/161102Northeaster/ – see page 6)

The American Craft Council Library Salon Series offers another opportunity for open discussion. This post from last year’s series describes the nature and purpose of the series. The Fall 2016 series is just completed with a conversation on the “Art of Participation” led by Peter Haakon Thompson and Sam Gould. (https://craftcouncil.org/post/five-questions-sam-gould-and-peter-haakon-thompson)

The Water Bar (water-bar.org) on Central Avenue was temporarily morphed into a pop-up poll during the election; they’re returned this week to offer safe space for public discussion of environmental issues. Next on the schedule is “Serve water”, two days of storytelling set for next week, November 14-15. Learn more about the Water Bar here: https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/drinking-and-thinking-water-in-northeast-minneapolis/ or in this more recent article in the TC Daily Planet http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/place-based-art-project-water-bar-addresses-disparities-in-drinking-water-access/

This is but a sample of Northeast Minneapolis settings in which neighbors who may not know each other can feel free to exchange ideas and opinions, including opposing opinions. Watch for more unique hot spots in future blogs or in postings or cablecasts of Voices videos. You’re welcome to drop in to any of these conversations – check the websites for updates.

If you think more clearly or just feel more at home in St. Paul, you’ll want to check out the East Side Freedom Library, the phoenix-like model of creating a supportive gathering spot in what was once a proud Carnegie Library in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/east-side-freedom-library-gives-new-life-to-carnegie-library-st-paul-neighborhood/

News flash  from East Side Freedom Library: http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/?u=f55ad6b17cb0d2b50ad86b2ce&id=6e9a158e8d&e=

Most important, start seeing your own neighborhood, building or complex through the safe haven lens. No doubt you will discover pockets of conversation on issues ranging from social justice to climate change to GMO’s. Dare to join the conversation. Should your community lack spaces that foster discourse, spot the spots that show promise, pair up with an activist neighbor or local organization to create a convivial gathering spot tailored to your unique setting.

We’ve heard the clarion call – it’s  time to get up and do what needs to be done.

* * *

The difficulty of carrying on a leisure-oriented tradition of culture in a work-oriented society is enough in itself  to keep the present crisis in our culture unresolved. ~ Clement Greenberg