What an unbelievable privilege it’s been to get to know Frances Crowe from years of attending her Friday Night Movies and discussion at the old firehouse on Masonic Street in Northampton!
The Friday night movie has become a habit for me. Each week, Frances shows a movie about some critical issue that we should be concerned about—global warming, the trashing of our seas, sustainable farming, inequality all over the earth, drones. There probably isn’t an issue she hasn’t covered. Some nights barely anyone shows up, and some nights the place is packed.
The point is, Frances has made it her mission to educate and motivate folks around the Valley to get involved in fighting for a better world.
Frances is a woman of great courage who, in her nineties, isn’t afraid to get arrested trying to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Frances got her start with activism teaching young men how to become conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War.
Friday nights are not only for movies, but for discussions led by activists involved in the issue presented, for meeting other activists, and for learning what events are taking place in the community.
Sadly, the Frances Crowe Community Room is being sold, and Frances has to find a new venue. I know that she and her fellow activists are scrambling around trying to find a new location.
I hope and pray that an organization, college, or nearby church whose members value education and involvement will step forward and provide such a space.
Maybe the Woodstar Cafe [which is in the process of buying the first floor of the old firehouse from the Media Education Foundation, according to MEF’s Sut Jhally] will see this as an asset and keep the space for her and for other community events. I always see movie viewers hanging around the coffee shop beforehand, and they always buy Woodstar bread.
What a tragedy it would be to lose this treasure! With the way things are going in this world, we need her and her movies more than ever.•