An unusual project anywhere in the U.S., the center and its DIY idealism were almost freakishly so in South Florida. Environmental and immigrant rights groups met and planned there. Reading groups studied the roots of racism. Discussion groups mulled gender and power. Tutoring was offered to neighborhood children. Prisoner outreach included shows of prisoner art. Films were screened. Yoga was practiced. Sometimes folks just got together and danced.
The Night Heron's core was a lending library, with shelves full of labor history, feminist thought, environmental tracts, anarchist and Marxist theory -- not the kind of stuff found at the airport book shop. It reflected the center's avowedly radical philosophy, which set on edge the teeth of many of Lake Worth's more mainstream residents. They'll be relieved to see the center disappear, no doubt. (But you can't kill the word: the library will live on, as will the center's co-tenant, the radical environmental journal Earth First!, both at locations TBA.)
The center's demise has several causes. The activists' energies have become dispersed, with informal collectives grown up around local land trusts and individually owned spaces. Funding has always been erratic. Faced with the need to renew their lease in November or carry on elsewhere, by other means, the Night Heron's core group decided it was simply time to move on.
A better world is possible, the center's people believe, and for a few hours yesterday at the Monkeywrench Cafe--and a good many more throughout the utopian project's three years--that dream was brought to life. The Night Heron will soon be just a memory, but the dream lives on.
[The Night Heron will not go quietly into that good night. A full slate of events is set for the next two weeks: A clear-out/clean-up pitch-in (volunteers now sought) is set for Friday, October 12, a yard sale/bake sale/craft sale/car wash (to benefit Earth First!) for Sat. October 13, and--ringing the curtain down with a barbaric yawp--the End of the World Dance Party on Sat. Oct. 20.
Address: 1307 Central Terrace, Lake Worth. Call: 561-249-2071.
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