We left Cincinnati on Wednesday morning to head towards Bloomington, Indiana for an early afternoon workshop and discussion. Bloomington has a rich history of being a pocket of radicalism in the Midwest, and the community is still going strong today. Boxcar Books and Community Center, a volunteer-run community space and radical bookstore, graciously hosted our workshop. In addition to providing space, radical literature and activist information for the Bloomington community, Boxcar is also the home of the Pages to Prisoners Project. Pages to Prisoners is an all-volunteer effort to encourage self-education behind bars and provide free reading materials to prisoners across the United States.
The Bloomington community stimulated a really thoughtful discussion surrounding long-term prisoner support and solidarity, state repression, and organizing in spite of corporate and state opposition. The conversation was insightful and critical, and highlighted many of the gaps in our current approach to prisoner support and solidarity against repression. Many agreed that we need a more holistic and strategic approach to provide long-term care for those that experience incarceration and trauma induced by the state, and an understanding that we must continuously organize, form coalitions, and adapt to the changing circumstances of repression in order to sustain healthy and resilient movements.
From Bloomington we left for Peoria, Illinois to join a vegan potluck and discussion hosted by Peoria Area Voice for Animals and the Peoria Area Peace Network. Peoria is home to longtime network of anti-war, peace, and international solidarity activists who are getting active for animals. We had very fruitful discussions about corporate pressure campaigns and the importance of building strategy with clear, attainable goals in mind. We also ate some awesome food prepared by the hosts and other guests.
Keep an eye on Peoria. The folks in the room had a lot to share, and some have been involved in a long history of resistance to state violence and repression. We are excited to see what kind of animal activism comes out of the area next!