In a wired world, we too easily mistake electronic connections for community. Building the deep connections that come with real community takes more than email and web pages. The connections that can sustain us in our personal and political lives are nurtured in face-to-face conversation and collective efforts to build a better world. Places and spaces for this work are crucial.
Several progressive groups in Austin have come together to purchase and renovate a community center that can provide a building and grounds for this work. 5604 Manor began as a collaborative venture of the Workers Defense Project, Third Coast Activist Resource Center, and Third Coast Workers for Cooperation. Committed to expanding real democracy and economic justice in a sustainable world, these groups hoped to find a building centrally located that could provide office space for non-profit groups, a large room for cultural and educational events, and a spacious outdoor area for gardening and socializing. We found all of those at 5604 Manor Road in East Austin.
One central goal of the project is to create a truly multi-racial/ethnic/cultural center where we can transcend the divisions that so commonly undermine creative collaborations. While we continue to read, study, and analyze the problems created by unjust systems, it’s essential to progressive politics that we come together in collective effort toward mutual goals. Community is an experience, not just an idea. We make community by coming together in solidarity, not to ignore our differences but to deepen our understanding of each other.