SOUTHERN WOMAN’S BOOKSTORE: A FEMINIST, ANTIRACIST, LGBTQ BOOKSTORE REDEFINING “SOUTHERN” FOR MARGINALIZED PEOPLE
(Activists currently fundraising to open Southern Woman’s Bookstore—Left to right: Daisy Salinas, Darci McFarland, and Patience Osume)
Every night when I lay in bed, I imagine the powerful ways in which Southern Woman’s Bookstore & Community Center could offer a literary, artistic, and cultural safe space for women, people of color, queer people, transgender folks, immigrants, Muslims, and more.
The South desperately needs more safe spaces for us. We are aware that the “South” or Southern U.S, geographically located in the southeast of the United States, has several negative connotations. The following illustrate 11 of these.
- The word “Southern” takes us back to the horrifying history of the American South— of the subjugation and enslavement of Black Americans and the removal and murder of Native Americans, (which also occurred in the North).
- “Southern” takes us back to the Confederacy, the seven slave states in the South whose economy and politics was based on slavery.
- “Southern” takes us back to Jim Crow segregation, lynchings, horrific discrimination of people of color on social, political, and economic levels.
- “Southern” makes us think of the new New Jim Crow segregation that continues today in this country, especially in the South.
- “Southern” makes us think of the criminalization and incarceration of people of color.
- “Southern” makes us think of the women in the South who do not have access to reproductive resources.
- “Southern” makes us think of the sexual and domestic violence that disproportionately affects those living in the South.
- “Southern” makes us think of the undocumented immigrants who are shot at the border, criminalized, sexually assaulted, separated from their families, and deported.
- “Southern” makes us think of hate crimes and institutional homophobia & transphobia being committed again queer, trans*, and gender non-conforming people.
- “Southern” makes us think of the hostile anti-Muslim attacks on Islamic centers and Mosques and others acts of discrimination against Muslims.
- “Southern” makes us think of the conservative lawmakers that reinforce discrimination and inequality against marginalized people in both overt and covert ways.
This list of what might cross our minds when we hear the word “Southern” is not all encompassing and does not end here.
But what if our home is located in a red Southern state? What can we do to change our generation from repeating mistakes of the past that have occurred and continue to occur in the South?
Living in the South is not a monolith. Many of us are not conservative, and are instead radically building ways to resist oppression within a geographic location that desperately needs a social transformation.
We believe that Southern Woman’s Bookstore and Community Center can begin a dialogue for change by redefining “Southern” for marginalized people living in the South who are fighting against bigotry and enacting social change on various levels.
Considering that the racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, transphobic, and Islamaphobic Southern laws and Southern lawmakers that exist do not reflect our beliefs, Southern communities can be transformed into places that challenge the status quo and reflect our own stories. For us, Southern Woman’s Bookstore offers this possibility.
Supporting our vision of opening Southern Woman’s Bookstore will help make a positive difference to the North Texas community, because we would provide a safe space where we can educate and empower one another via diverse books & zines, powerful art, and important activist causes.
To learn more, check out Southern Woman’s Bookstore’s first zine here or here. You can also visit our website and “like” us on facebook.
Please consider taking part in the creation of a literary and activist safe space by donating here.
In Solidarity Always,
We would be forever grateful if you could signal boost this project!