Brown Sugar Cafe & Books, a Black-owned bookstore and cafe that will open next month in Katy, Tex., was vandalized with racist graffiti over the weekend. Store owner Raven White told ABC13 she discovered the graffiti on Saturday, and it must have been spray-painted on the back wall of the building late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
"I rounded the corner and I was in complete shock," White said. "I was devastated."
The graffiti, which was quickly painted over, amounted to "thousands of dollars worth of damage" and included the name of a student at Thornton Middle School, located behind the school. While White doesn't know for certain if a student from the school wrote the graffiti, she did speak to the school's principal. She hopes to help the culprit rather than have them punished, and said she and the principal "agreed there are other things that we could do collectively as a community, with the middle school and the bookstore, that would just incite change."
"It actually is a hate crime that could have potentially come from a child," White said. "We need to have people in place to help our children and the community feel different than what they expressed on our back wall."
White's event plans for the store include programs for children, teens and adults that teach inclusivity and respect for other cultures. Though shocking, the graffiti confirms "that the programs that we have in place and being right here in this community, we are at the right place at the right time."
Brown Sugar Cafe & Books will sell fiction and nonfiction for all ages, with an emphasis on Black authors and voices. A life-long reader and youth literacy advocate, White decided to open a bookstore and cafe of her own after founding a successful tax business.