Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Missoula's Peace Center

I reported yesterday on my trip to Missoula, and on the ways the Montana city has created several amenities that we here in Hillsdale have often discussed but not yet implemented.

Another Missoula institution merits mentioning, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center.

The center is just south of the Higgins Street Bridge in a cluster of "alternative businesses." A fair trade shop is in the store's front, and a private, subscription lending library is to the rear of the space.

Rankin, a native Montanan, was a suffragette and the first woman member of Congress. She voted against this nation’s declarations of war in both world wars. In the case of World War II, hers was the solitary vote in opposition. She cast it in full knowledge that it would ensure she would not be re-elected.

In Hillsdale, we have a small cadre of peace activists, and some of us have talked of forming a membership lending library with a quiet, comfortable reading room.

Entering the Rankin Peace Center, you wander through the cheery, colorful shop. It is stocked with exotic musical instruments, peace books, radiant textiles, pottery, reed baskets, peace buttons and inexpensive, handmade jewelry. Most of the offerings are from other parts of the world.

The small library, reached through a doorway, is focused on peace, social justice and sustainability, and is a serene, comfortable haven. It is also suitable for small meetings. Along one wall is a kitchenette.

In Hillsdale, we could create such a center in the space we will be using for our community book sale (this Sunday, 10 to 3). Our focus could be on community building.

As you look at these photographs of the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center library and the shop, imagine what it would be like to have a place like this in Hillsdale.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home