Posted by Kara Collett, DOUGLASVILLE, GA -- The Seven Venue isn’t too far from Atlanta unless you were driving in our recent ‘Snowjam'. It’s a space for punk, hardcore, and metal shows. It attracts mostly teens and young adults. Many of the people who regularly attend the Seven regard it as a second home. It's a safe space where emerging and young adults can go and just be themselves. Many of the regulars have been out-cast in one way or another because of their beliefs, experiences, looks, or the type of music they like. At Seven people are free to be who they are and the result is a bond thick as blood. In fact, Tony Hart, the owner of the Seven, sees the mission of the venue as providing a positive environment for disenfranchised young people to enjoy themselves and form positive social networks.
I know that these photographs do not look like a Hardcore show, but that's because this was an acoustic event. Anyway, not too long ago, Seven became a target of imminent domain. For the past 20 years, the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) has been planning to widen Fairburn Road and create another Atlanta bypass. Seven is located in the direct path of this State planning initiative. After a few unsuccessful attempts to persuade the DOT, regular attenders and community residents took to grassroots action with a petition to DOT. From this grassroots action, the DOT agreed to reevaluate.
Well, at least for a little while anyway. But I believe our temporary success of this fairly small grassroots campaign shows that even those the government considers “unimportant” will be heard when they band together. No one would have ever believed that a bunch of teens and 20-somethings could actually influence the local government and then get the attention of the media through collective action. While I believe this campaign has been important, I also believe that since we got noticed this should encourage other young people to be active in their local government as well. Please act collectively for positive causes and believe your voices will be heard!
Kara Collett is a Sociology major at Georgia State University. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org