We are SISTER (Stroud in Internationalist Solidarity Together for Earth Repairs) - and we have reclaimed the Old County Library building in Stroud's Town Centre to create a powerful community site to challenge mis-education, host events, and connect. We are in a cost of living crisis and facing the climate crisis with this being the hottest summer since records began. Meanwhile the government is passing bills to make peaceful protest illegal. Our county coucil (the owners of this property) are failing to effectively address any of these issues, so we need to come together as a community and organise, like people have done many times before to solve their problems!
This building has been standing empty, we're bringing the energy to make something beautiful of it - sign on to show your support for the project!
Who is SISTER?
We are a group of local young people, teachers and parents who have decided that buildings like this shouldn’t stand empty while there is a cost of living crisis, our public servies have been obliterated and our education system is failing us. We have reclaimed this space in service of the community!
SISTER stands for Stroud in Internationalist Solidarity Together for Earth Repair and is part of a network of communities across the UK and wider world who are supporting each other to create positive change, liberate education and resist colonialism - communities who are demonstrating how education can be taken back into the hands of the people to address the issues we find ourselves facing. Please find out more about the Planet Repairs Action Learning Educational Revolution (PRALER) on the instagram @praler_news - and drop in and ask questions!
What is the space being used for?
The space is being used for running educational sessions (workshops, film screenings, crafts etc) and community events. There's skillshares, talks, socials and meals for anyone to come along to, with many generations involved! It's all about bringing people together, organising to change things for the better and learning from and working with other communities and projects who are doing this very successfully.
This has been demonstrated by communities such as the Otomi who occupied the National Institute for Indigenous Peoples in Mexico as it has been infringing their rights- and they turned it into a community organising centre. They used one part of the building as a craft space, making Lele Rebelde dolls- a symbol of resistance and their traditions, as well as a way to raise money. Last year we raised money to bring one of these dolls to Stroud! Please find out more about the work of the Otomi and other communities of resistance @praler_news, and come into the space to learn more.
We’re also supporting the School is a Crime Scene campaign - a local youth-led community campaign to challenge the (mis)education system - saying we can't keep letting our young people go through schools that are killing their imagination, teaching obedience over curiosity and still telling the majority of people they're stupid! We've got to reclaim our schools for education that helps us actually solve our problems, that lifts people up and empowers us all to build a better world - you can find out more about the campaign @schoolisacrimescene
Why occupy a building?
Lots of things have been won by people protesting – its how we have everything from weekends off to the trees in Stratford Park. Squatting (legally occupying a building) has been used by many people to fight for what is right - just look at what the Stroud Rooftop protests of the 70s did to preserve our heritage buildings! This energy is what we need when our community faces so many issues and the government is not solving problems for us, instead making it harder and harder to protest.
So, sign on to show your support and to tell the council that community spaces and projects should be encouraged! Much love.