Friday, July 19, 2024

I have been going to events at the Democracy Center since the mid 2000s – almost the entire lifetime of the space. I’ve been to thought-provoking discussion events; I’ve been to left-of-center book fairs; I’ve been to experimental arts events; I’ve been to drag story times with my kid; I’ve been to a variety of music shows; and when the zine library was in the building, I went there to read zines. I’ve even used the space to host a number of my own cultural and discussion events. 

So with that said, I hope you’re understand that I really mean that I’ve seen the space up close, and experienced it fully. And I’d like to just point out a couple things that seem particularly important, to me at least.

  • Due to rising costs, community and creative spaces are dropping like flies in the Boston area. But we as a city need physical and noncommercial space to meet, mingle and share ideas. If the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it’s that being separated by screens will only lead to more anger, resentment and misunderstanding. The Democracy Center has always provided this kind of beneficial community space to meet and share ideas.
  • In a city where rents for event spaces, offices and creative spaces are going through the stratosphere, the Democracy Center has always been a welcoming, affordable space. This is important because we need noncommercial space to be inclusive – for attendees and organizers. The Democracy Center has always been a place that people could scrape a small amount of cash together and rent for a few hours or for a weekend for an amazing event geared toward their own community group.

As you know, the sudden closing announcement has left the community bewildered and frantically trying to understand what to do next. My hope is that the organization that owns the Democracy Center doesn’t really understand how unique the space is, or how important it’s become to the Boston area.

Tim Devin, Summer Street, Somerville