A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis., is donating at least 10% of its sales this upcoming holiday weekend, July 5-7, to RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), an organization working to help detained refugees, including children, at the U.S.-Mexico border. At the same time, the bookstore is launching an initiative calling on indie bookstores, publishers, authors and readers to donate to RAICES.
In an open letter to other booksellers, asking them to donate 5%-20% of sales this coming weekend, Gretchen Treu, co-owner and co-manager of A Room of One's Own, explained: "We booksellers are watching the horrors at the border and are feeling small and admittedly helpless. But we are neither of these things. We are part of an engaged, active, caring literary community of booklovers. We are involved in our local schools, business associations, and artistic communities. We have community leaders like Denise Chávez of Casa Camino Real Book Store and Art Gallery [in Las Cruces, N.Mex.], who has spearheaded the 'Libros Para el Viaje' book drive for refugee families. We are involved in our local and national communities. We are integral cultural institutions and have an opportunity, an obligation, to assert what a culture of words and books and imaging has given us--the ability to see and form a better future."
Called #Bookstores Against Borders, the initiative is also aimed at "the literary community at large," and participants are asked to share the initiative's link with friends and family and networks, to tweet about it and to talk about it "to make sure these injustices don't go unseen."