Part 3: My Business and Racial Justice
Posted on June 24 2020
Part 3 of exploring how my business will SHOW UP to promote racial justice will be detailed over many posts, this being the first. I will never be 'done' with this and will work to continually be transparent about how I am doing the work in my business to be antiracist. This post is more about what I am not doing and instead encouraging you to do if you haven't already.
One of my first thoughts when brainstorming about how my business can support change, promote racial justice, and donate to those doing the work was to sell books either written by Black authors and/or featuring Black children as the main characters. I would sell the books at MSRP and donate 100% of the profits to an established organization doing the work that promotes Black lives. But, the more I investigated this avenue, I feel that bringing in books centers my business in an area where I do not have authority/experience. Instead, I would rather use my voice to promote Black-owned bookstores whose livelihoods and expertise are founded on multi-cultural children’s literature.
Barn Chic Boutique is an online apparel and accessories shop; should I have a brick and mortar storefront, I see greater value in offering books, but at this time, literature is not a part of my online brand. I am sticking to what I know best and am referring you to the experts in this field. Please visit and shop with the bookstores below. I am still donating funds and was encouraged to stay in my lane and just “cut the check” as stated by the wise Sonya Renee Taylor. (Her IG TV channel is so good – please visit and support her!).
Ashay by the Bay in Vallejo, CA has a terrific selection for culturally relevant books and has a featured collection for the baby-3 / pre-school age group. You can access that collection and purchase the books here, and follow them on IG.
A powerful activist, educator, and author from whom I have learned much is Rachel Cargle. She has an independent bookshop in Akron, OH – Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre. Their website states:
"Elizabeth's Bookshop & Writing Centre is an innovative literacy center designed to amplify and celebrate marginalized voices. Our catalog highlights, promotes, amplifies, celebrates, and honors the work of writers who are often excluded from traditional cultural, social and academic canons. Through curated collections of own voices' narratives, Elizabeth's seeks to educate and re-shape the lens of readers as they they see themselves and how they view the world.
Founded by Akron native, Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, Elizabeth's is a manifestation of her passions as an activist and author. Equal parts bookshop and writing center, Elizabeth's is committed to contributing to Akron's vibrant economic resurgence as a safe gathering space rooted in the values of community, curiosity, justice, and joy.
A percentage of all sales from Elizabeth's will go to The Loveland Foundation to support their mission of making mental healthcare accessible for Black women and girls." - https://bookshop.org/shop/Elizabeths
She created The Loveland Foundation to support healing and opportunity within communities of color, especially Black women and girls. Barn Chic Boutique is donating to The Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund and working to set up a donation matching campaign. Stay tuned!
The Multicultural Children’s Bookstore in Richmond, CA offers online storytime every Wednesday at 2pm PST and also has links to previous books read on their YouTube channel. They have an online shop with a baby-3 book collection and you can follow them on IG here. Their collections offer books about children with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and children of color.
These are just 4 of the many options for supporting independent Black-owned businesses who feature BIPOC authors writing about the BIPOC experience. Please support them. I soon will write about the books that our kids are loving and I would love to hear what books your family recommends.