In the lovely city of Milwaukee lies an amazing feminist bookstore called Broad Vocabulary. I had the pleasure of visiting the store this summer, on a fundraising trip for Bitch. It was truly one of my highlights: I love bookstores, I love feminist bookstores, and I especially love feminist radical bookstores like Broad Vocabulary.
I guess I can't say I was too surprised when I heard the news yesterday that they might be closing -- feminist bookstores (and independent bookstores more generally) are closing left and right these days, the most recent one being Word Is Out in Colorado.
been to Salt Lake City before, so I was excited to check it out. After
a long drive in from Denver, I was even more excited to be greeted by a
plate of vegan cookies, freshly-baked by our host, Courtney Maguire
(thanks, Courtney!). Courtney is one of the folks involved with the Female Empwerment Movement (FEM),
a new(ish) feminist group created in response to the high rates of
sexual violence in Salt Lake. FEM also helped organize and get the word
out of the evening's events, and I'm grateful.
I'm also grateful to Angela Brown, Meghann Griggs, and the rest of the folks at SLUG magazine,
who responded almost immediately to our call for assistance in helping
put together the discussion and fundraiser in Salt Lake. SLUG was
founded in 1989 and remains Utah's oldest alternative paper.
Amazon Bookstore in Minneapolis has announced that they'll be closing their doors at the end of June. Founded in 1970 on the front porch of a women's housing cooperative, Amazon is one of the oldest feminist bookstores in this country. It's a different verse of the same sad song of the difficulty in sustaining projects committed to independent/social justice work, thought,
Here in Northeast Portland is a place called In Other Words Women's Books and Resources, a nonprofit bookstore founded in 1993. I've only lived in Portland for a year, so most of what I know I've learned from talking to people and reading news articles, like this.
A few nights ago I went to a screening of a short documentary called Moving In: A nonprofit feminist bookstore and the politics of place. The documentary, created by Dawn Jones (who's on the board of Bitch; photographed below), examines the bookstore's 2006 move, which resulted from being economically displaced from their original neighborhood, to a historically African-American neighborhood. The film is fantastic; you should see it if you have the opportunity.