trip inspires center and shop for activists
When Natasha Bancroft participated in a rally in Washington against
the World Bank last fall, she was happy to find a quiet space, where
she could take a break from the turmoil. A nearby church had turned
part of its building into a welcome center for the demonstrators.
When Bancroft returned from the rally, this idea of meeting place stayed
with her. And after much planning, on Friday, Aug. 8, the information
center and community meeting space, Brighter Days Infoshop, will open
its doors. Organized by Bancroft and friends, the Brighter Days Infoshop
will be run by members of Direct Action, a group supporting social change
through creative and radical political action. The shop is at 1914 E.
Michigan Ave., near Clemens Street, on Lansing’s east side.
Days Infoshop,” operated by Direct Action, opens this week
at 1914 E. Michigan Ave. (From left) Infoshop volunteers Quinn Ostrom,
Anton Bollen, and the shop’s director Natasha Bancroft.
said infoshops cooperatively run spaces, oriented towards social liberation
and the cultivation of revolutionary thought and education. She said
the Lansing infoshop was modeled after the Chicago-based “Azone,”
which also provides information on the concept of infoshops on its Web
The 1999 Everett High School graduate, who works at nearby Theio’s
Restaurant, said that Brighter Days Infoshop aims to fill a gap by providing
community activists with a much needed permanent meeting place to exchange
ideas. Bancroft said Direct Action has been meeting at the Michigan
State University Union but wasn’t able to store any files or books
On Aug. 12 Direct Action plans to hold its first weekly meeting in the
new building. Bancroft said that in addition to a small library that
will be open to the public, Direct Action will also have an office area
for files and administrative work and a backroom suited for art projects
and classes on anything from stained glass, to the history of democracy
In the last year Bancroft, who lives in an apartment above the center,
has built a collection of 300 books ranging in subject from sociology
and popular culture to anti-consumerism. The infoshop will lend and
sell books, focusing on topics such as the prison system, racism, political
dissent, and anti-capitalism. The 25-year-old director said she wants
to offer literature that mainstream bookstores don’t carry. “You
might be able to order these books from Barnes & Noble, but who
wants to buy from them anyway, when you can get them cheaper through
us?” she said.
Brighter Days Infoshop
is located at 1914 E. Michigan Ave. It will open on Aug. 8. Regular
hours are noon-8 p.m. The Infoshop is looking for new members.
If interested, contact Natasha Bancroft at (517) 980.0468 or send
her an e-mail to TashaBean138@aol.com
will also sell T-shirts, buttons, stickers, magazines and locally made
jewelry and art. Other funding will come from a monthly $25 membership
fee for voting members of the collective, who will in return receive
free admission to events, and a 10 percent discount on merchandise.
Non-voting members pay $5. Anton Bollen, a MSU freshman, said they hope
more Lansing residents will chip in money, so they can guarantee the
survival of the project. Infoshop volunteers have distributed fliers
in Lansing’s Eastside neighborhood to inform residents about the
Quinn Ostrom, an Eastern High School senior and infoshop volunteer,
said the shop will not only serve as a resource center, but will also
host guest lectures, open mikes and concerts. The 17-year-old East Lansing
resident pointed out that except for nearby MAC’s Bar, which offers
Sunday afternoon shows to under age audiences, Lansing has virtually
no all-ages venues.
Bancroft, Ostrom and Bollen said that donations would be appreciated
to make their dream of a community center become a reality. They’re
also searching for office equipment, including computer supplies, bookshelves,
chairs, couches, filing cabinets, a stereo and posters.
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