The Commons is a (future) social center in Lansing, Michigan that wants to see neighbors come together in mutual self-reliance. In our time of escalating social and environmental crises, we need to chart a course towa...
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What is The Commons?
The Commons is a (future) social center in Lansing, Michigan that wants to see neighbors come together in mutual self-reliance. In our time of escalating social and environmental crises, we need to chart a course towards a different future. The Commons wants to support the growth of the many formal and informal groups that are fighting racism, gender-based oppression, reliance on the police, greed, inequality, and all of the other forms of domination that exist in our society. Through hosting free educational events and sharing resources and community space, we seek to nurture our minds, our bodies, and our sense of connection to each other, increasing our collective capacity to fight for and build a better world.
The Commons wants to help facilitate the following types of programs to build mutual self-reliance:
Educational opportunities (film screenings, study groups, guest speakers)
Resource sharing (tools, space, wifi)
Fun and social gatherings
Collective action to better our lives and communities
We recognize that many tight networks already exist and have always been active in our neighborhoods. The Commons seeks to find creative ways to build connections with these existing networks in order to to expand our collective power, and also to foster connection among people who are isolated and lonely.
The Commons will be available for meetings, birthday parties, family reunions, and other events on a first-come, first-served basis through use of a shared calendar. The space will also have regular “open hours” where everyone is welcome to come in, use wifi, drink coffee, read in the library, and utilize a printer and other shared resources. All uses of The Commons will be free of charge.
Though The Commons aims for community engagement in a broad sense, there will be limits on what we will engage with.
We aren’t here to help for-profit enterprises. We’re not a business incubator.
No abuse, hateful speech, or disrespectful behavior. We center the safety of people from marginalized communities.
How You Can Help:
We hope a project like this could have a huge impact on Lansing. But, in order to make it a reality we’re going to need a lot of help. If these ideas resonate with you also, here’s how you can help achieve these goals with us:
Money! We have started fundraising already, but need a lot more than we have on hand right now. You can make a one-time donation or regular monthly contribution, organize a fundraiser, or share the link to our online fundraiser.
Help us find a space! We have a couple of ideas, but are interested in other fixer-uppers in the Lansing area.
Your volunteer hours and your skills (in the beginning, we need help especially related to construction, contracting, grant writing, photo documentation, etc)
Who We Are and Why We’re Doing This:
Presently, we are a team of Lansing-based folks (#LoveLansing) who have been excited over the last few years to watch a lively spike in grassroots political organizing beyond the limits of electoral politics. We’ve also noticed some limitations to the movements we’re already connected with—limitations of capacity. A shared public space will help our movements grow, encourage collaboration among various groups, and make it easier for strangers to connect with each other.
We’ve seen the transformative effect that a physical space like this has had in other communities. The Commons hopes to provide a similar platform for individuals and diverse networks of people to connect, invent new ways to care for each other and ourselves, share resources and skills, bounce ideas off each other, and spark an exponential growth in inspiration, action, and solidarity in our neighborhood. We hope to become collectively stronger and more resilient in fighting for our lives against police and ICE violence, income inequality, racism, and other forms of supremacy. Beyond just surviving we hope to thrive and reclaim the lives we want to live.
To get in touch with questions or anything else, here’s links to our
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