Space. Every community needs it. In Michigan City, Indiana, two Iraq veterans turned anti-war activists have been focusing their energy on creating a vibrant, all-inclusive safe place for community members to gather, share ideas, create projects, and display their work. Vince Emanuele and Sergio Kochergin call it PARC – Politics Art Roots Culture.
If you’re an activist, organizer, artist, musician, or just someone that wants to engage with your community, this is the place to do it. Every town in America needs a place just like PARC. We all need places to share our ideas, speak to each other face-to-face, create projects together, and collect ideas on moving forward. Having a space to do this is what changes society.
If you’re an activist-organizer reading this, where was the last place you had a meeting? At a coffee shop? At a church? Somewhere in a place that you couldn’t call yours? Yeah, me too. I’m also tired of buying coffee in order to have a place to sit down with my friends.
This relatively simple idea of creating a non-consumerist space to organize is absolutely vital for communities to have in order to make the serious changes that we all need. We need to listen to each other’s poetry, listen to each other’s ideas, watch films together, organize workshops and provide educational events for the public. We also need places where we can just hang out together. Some of the best ideas come from leisure time with like-minded people.
The first time I heard about PARC was through an article Vince wrote and I had to see this place with my own two eyes. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Michigan City to interview the creators of PARC. I wanted to learn everything I can from the visit in hopes of inspiring other organizers to create their own non-consumerist spaces in their hometowns. Hopefully, after watching this 10 minute video, everyone will be inspired to create their own version of PARC.