Greetings from the Taala Hooghan Infoshop Collective & Outta Your Backpack Media,
Flagstaff’s community info and action resource center, Taala Hooghan Infoshop & Youth Media Arts Center, is moving… again! After 4 months of not being able to publicly open the doors of the downtown location, we have found an awesome new space on Second St. in Sunnyside!
As some of you already know, when we signed the lease on the downtown location we thought we’d be able to open right away, but the city shut the entire building down. Everyone renting a space in the warehouse was prevented from opening due to the property owner not getting the necessary permits to do construction on the building. You may recall that Flagstaff’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) was our neighbor for a moment until the situation got to be too frustrating for them.
While we tried to work with the owner and await the city’s decisions on permits, we have also kept an eye out for possible other locations in the event that we would not be able to open or if the process would take too long. The two main reasons for why we have made the final decision to move are:
1) We were never given a clear timeframe for when we could be open (and after 4 months we’re very tired of waiting); and 2) We found an amazing space on the east side that is more accessible (financially and otherwise) to us as a collective.
There were initial issues in the community that moved us to open our doors on the Sunnyside two years ago that we feel important to restate as we now move back:
1. There are not as many opportunities for community empowerment and positive activities/space for youth on the east side.
2. The downtown privilege dynamic. Folks in downtown and close proximity to the university have access to a lot of resources that just aren’t available on the east side.
We also want to take this as an opportunity for us to advocate for community support. Not only for Taala Hooghan and Outta Your Backpack Media, but for all community based projects that are working towards empowerment and justice.
Too many times we hear groans of how developed Flagstaff and the surrounding areas are becoming but we see little pro-action to build and support the alternatives. We witnessed and participated in the resistance to big box development and saw that energy potential. We have witnessed the Wildfire Infoshop, the Hive Project, Railtown Infoshop, Aradia (albeit a bookstore bussiness, Aradia was a powerful community resource) and the very very few other truly community based and oriented projects. We’ve also seen other projects (and people) without spaces attacked and forced out of state controlled so-called “community centers” for their political affinities or “otherness”. This is exemplified with the ongoing harassment (which has resulted in multiple arrests) of volunteers with Food Not Bombs Flagstaff who are merely trying to address one of our primary issues here in Flagstaff, hunger. We see the deeper, systemic roots in the anti-homeless actions that the City of Flagstaff continues to take and unaddressed police abuse that is all to familiar to those who are bestowed by the state and its agents. We also have seen it with criminalization of youth at Heritage Square and most severely with the ICE raids that shook our neighborhoods fourteen months ago.
So when(and how) do we build and support the alternatives? Taala Hooghan Infoshop is not an office, we are not businesses, and we’re certainly not politicians. We are not non-profit, we are anti-profit. We are a community resource and we have a vision for a more just, healthy, and sustainable community. We don’t have illusions that everyone shares this same vision either.
After being open for two years in Sunnyside we felt torn to move. It was great seeing new faces in the downtown area and we certainly hope you’re not strangers once again.
We hope that everyone’s interests in supporting community empowerment projects such as Taala Hooghan Infoshop & Outta Your Backpack Media aren’t dependent upon location, but rather the deeper vision of pro-actively building a more healthy, just, and sustainable community.
We look forward to seeing you at our volunteer meetings, shows, film screenings, media workshops, skill-shares and more in the years to come!
Please join us at our next volunteer meeting this Friday (Feb. 6th at 5PM @ the downtown location (11 S. Mikes Pike).
If you can’t make tomorrow’s meeting and would like to get further involved, please email email@example.com. We will also be around the downtown location throughout the next week, cleaning and moving everything back to the east side. Please stop by in the afternoon to help us in this process!
Taala Hooghan Infoshop Collective & OYBMedia