We’re at a Turning Point and We Need Your Guidance

sketch of the Collins House in downtown San Jose.
Collins House, owned by the Collins Foundation in downtown San Jose: 48 S. 7th Street.

The Collins Foundation Board and the Coordinating Council of the Peace & Justice Center invite you to attend a virtual Community Gathering on December 6, 2021, at 6 pm to discuss the future of the Collins House. This is an important conversation about a valuable community asset. We acknowledge that the current leadership of both bodies does not adequately represent the young diverse community that we aim to serve. So, we need to hear from you! 

In 1985, the former fraternity house at 48 S 7th St, San José was purchased as a home for the San Jose Peace Center. Its name, the Collins House, honored one of the Peace Center founders, Rev. George “Shorty” Collins and his wife Evelyn. 

The Collins Foundation was established as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to serve as the legal owner of the house and the fiscal sponsor for the Peace Center. In its almost 40-year history, the Collins House became a hub for organizing and educating on a range of peace and justice issues and provided office space not just for the Peace Center but also for other non-profits, mutual aid collectives, and a few small businesses. 

But at the onset of the Covid pandemic, we had to close the house to gatherings of every type except for the activities of the mutual aid groups such as South Bay Mutual Aid, Unhoused Response Group, Food Not Bombs, and Community Got Us that were providing essential food, water and supplies to unhoused communities and others impacted by this pandemic. As we speculate about when to open the house once again to (relatively) large gatherings, we run up against not just limits imposed by Covid and possible future pandemics but the limitations of the 110-year-old house itself. 

The upsurge in the Black Lives Matter movement and the formation of new local groups of activists for racial justice has brought to the fore an important question. How can we ensure that this property in the heart of downtown San Jose serves the need of our community? 

Register for the Community Gathering to Discuss the Future of the Collins House at https://bit.ly/CFInvite21. If you are unable to attend this meeting and want to contribute, please email michele@sanjosepeace.org to set up a meeting. 

Thank you,
Michele Mashburn

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