What is Lantern?
You may have noticed that over the last few months Lantern Books has been staging monthly events that at first blush appear to have little to do with our publishing programs. Last year we showed a film on and then discussed the appalling conditions in California’s youth prisons
. In February, we explored the issue of street harassment
. In March, we’ll be looking at the future of food
, and in April, we’ll be examining the topic of disability rights
. Why do we do this? After all, these events are free, and we don’t sell our books at the events.
Well, apart from increased visibility for our publishing company, such programs do something that we feel is very important: they widen the circle of people in the community. So much of our activist world is atomized into cliques who consider their issues paramount and either have little concern or understanding of anyone else’s interests or, worse, belittle and work against them. God knows, animal advocates have some familiarity with that situation.
Ever since I began Satya
back in 1994, I have been trying to draw the connections between the environmental, animal advocacy, vegetarian, and social justice communities—convinced not only that there is more that unites us than divides us, but that until we see the bigger picture in which we are all situated than meaningful change will not happen. These monthly events are Lantern’s effort to extend that circle even wider. We don’t expect to change the world overnight; we don’t anticipate that activists will suddenly join the dots and everyone will just get along. We do hope, however, that a few of us will have our consciousness raised and our insights honed and the larger community grow a little deeper, and a little wider.
And that’s what Lantern’s ultimately about—fostering depth of knowledge and breadth of community. That’s why we have our forum and why we have these blogs. We’re so ready to bracket people—“Oh, he’s a vegan,” “Oh, she’s a Republican,” “Oh, he lives in Secaucus”—as though such statements really say anything meaningful about what a person’s motivations or what they ultimately care about. (In fact, these statements may say more about our judgmentalism than anything else.) So, come along to an event if you can, or contribute to our forum, and join in the conversation. And, if you’d like to buy some of our books in the process, that would be swell.