Local cafe gets political

The Black Sheep, a long-standing cafe in downtown Amherst, bills itself as “a wonderful place to meet friends for coffee or lunch, eat dessert after a movie, or sit and work.”

However, over the past several months, The Black Sheep has taken on another role: that of a forum for political ideas.

The cafe now hosts free community dinners at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of every month.

The dinners feature speakers who discuss, in the words of cafe owner Nick Seamon, “what the hell is going on in Washington.”

Established in 1986, the Black Sheep has long been dedicated to political activism.

“It has been important to me for the last 30 years that The Black Sheep have a positive impact on the community,” said Mr. Seamon. “Now more than ever, I feel a responsibility to do what I can to fight the authoritarian regime in Washington.”

The event series first began on February 6, “in response to the political uproar regarding our new president,” said Mr. Seamon.

Attorney John Bonifaz, founder of Impeach Trump Now, led the discussion on how to force President Trump from office.

The event was a huge success, and the cafe was packed with eager community members looking for ways to get involved and enjoying the free food provided by the cafe.

ARHS senior Kendal Pittman attended the February event.

She said the dinner was great and the discussion “super informative and a way to build community.”

“So many ARHS students showed up and demonstrated that they care about current issues as well as our community,” she said.

ARHS senior Maya Spalding-Fecher also attended the event.

“It was wonderful seeing so many engaged citizens there.  I think John Bonifaz did a good job clearly explaining his campaign,” she said.

Although both felt the event was fun and informative overall, Spalding-Fecher hopes that in the future, “the speaker addresses the audience’s concerns a bit more thoroughly.”

Pitman added that she wished a portion of the evening had been devoted to a debate, but that it wasn’t a big concern.

Both Pittman and Spalding-Fecher said they would absolutely attend the dinners again and were “disappointed” to have missed the March 6 event featuring attorney Bill Newman, addressing the role of the American Civil Liberties Union and the importance of a free press.

The most recent dinner will took place on Monday April 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the cafe.

Mr. Seamon encouraged everyone to come and “talk about how we as ordinary citizens can organize for change in our community, state, and country.”

He said there are “positive actions that we can take to protect ourselves from the onslaught of ‘low information voters’.”

Above all, Seamon writes on his website, it is important to remember that “sunlight is the best antiseptic.”