June 12, 2020
Over the last week we have taken some time to reflect on ways to be more effective allies. To start off, we want to make this perfectly clear: Black Lives Matter. BookPeople condemns white supremacy and the police brutality that has long targeted the Black community. We stand with those who are out in our streets, speaking out and fighting for Black lives. Systemic racism is not a matter of opinion, it is fact.
We believe that one of our roles as a community bookstore is to provide access to books and educational resources that will inspire and enact change. However, there's always room to be better, to speak louder, and to do more. We are 100% committed to doing the work, to listen, to learn, to take action.
We have opened the dialogue internally between leadership and staff members in order to create a roadmap for ourselves. We have compiled specific action points to take moving forward, both in the immediate future and in envisioning BookPeople's long term commitments. We are committing to consistently use our platform to elevate Black voices. We are committing to actively and consistently provide BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) authors and illustrators with the visibility they deserve and rarely receive, and continue to build an inclusive, safe, and welcoming space where booksellers and our community of readers can come together to discover, listen, engage, and learn.
As time goes on, we will continue to identify more ways our bookstore can make a positive, lasting impact within our own business and in our community. The conversation does not end here. This is just the first step.
Our commitments include:
- Build permanent featured spaces in our store, website, and subscription programs to consistently highlight and uplift BIPOC voices.
- Implement mandatory courses on implicit bias for all staff.
- Open a dialogue with our whole staff to make BookPeople a safer and more open workplace for all.
- Create and foster more safe communication structures that make it viable for employees to speak up.
- Regularly work with more schools in our local districts to put books into the hands of as many young readers as we can possibly reach.
- Seek out and foster more community partnerships and use our resources and platform to support local organizations engaged in the fight against systemic racism and social injustice.
- Request a wider selection of advance reading copies from Own Voices authors by leveraging our existing relationships that we have in the book world.
- Work to diversify our events calendar, providing a platform for more Black authors and voices from marginalized communities. We invite you to attend these events and support the authors' work.
- Commit to reading and reviewing more books by BIPOC owned publishers and other small presses that amplify marginalized voices.
We invite you to hold us accountable, and join us in these efforts to better our community.
We have also gathered a list of resources recommended by our staff and leaders in the community below. We hope the resources provided will help you discover new authors and illustrators, bring about important questions, encourage necessary conversations, and turn reading into action.
We'll say it again, and say it louder: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
BookPeople Reading Lists
- Antiracist Reading for Adults
- Antiracist Reading for Teens
- Antiracist Reading for Young Readers
- Recommended Reading on Policing
- Recommended Reading on Protesting
Resources from the Book Community
- From Duende District & The Word, the first annual BIPOC Bookseller Award. More info & nomination form here.
- Audiobooks from Libro.FM
- FREE Listening to Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi
- Decolonize Your Mind, from Duende District via Bookshop.org
Businesses & Organizations to Support
- Black Lives Matter
- A List of Black-Owned Bookstores, including Austin's Black Pearl Books, from Libro.FM
- The Official Justice for Breonna Taylor Fund
- Black Visions Collective
- The Okra Project
- The Trevor Project
- We Need Diverse Books
- LGBTQ Freedom Fund
- Trans Women of Color Collective
Austin Businesses & Organizations to Support
- A List of Austin Black-Owned Businesses, from Austin Monthly
- A List of Black Austin-Based Artists to Support on Bandcamp, from the Austin Chronicle
- Austin Justice Coalition
- Austin Area Urban League
- NAACP - Austin Chapter
- African American Youth Harvest Foundation
- Six Square
- George Washington Carver Museum, Culture, and Genealogy Center
- City of Austin Budget Survey
- Out Youth
Petitions to Sign
Book Clubs, Podcast, & Other Media
- Well-Read Black Girl
- WRBG Book Club @ BookPeople, hosted by Ona & Chaun - NOTE: This is a space intended for BIPOC.
- STAMPED Virtual Book Club with authors Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X Kendi, with Loyalty Bookstore owner Hannah Oliver Depp
- Listen to NPR's Code Switch
- Austin Justice Coalition's Virtual Book Club
- Antiracism Resources
- About Race (podcast)
- The Diversity Gap (podcast)
- Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (podcast)
- Momentum: A Race Forward (podcast)
Register to Vote: https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/
This conversation does not end here. Follow us on social media @bookpeople or sign up for our newsletter to follow our live updates.