July 3, 2019
Wisconsin bookstore to donate a percentage of Fourth of July sales to RAICES
by Ryan Harrington
A Room of One’s Own—an indie bookstore in Madison, WI that has been at it since the 70s—will be celebrating the long Fourth of July weekend by donating a portion of its holiday sales to Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).
RAICES offers access to the legal services desperately needed by those being held in the inhumane conditions of U.S. Border Patrol detention centers, which are often, and fairly, compared to concentration camps.
The bookstore’s owner, Gretchen Treu, is hoping to spark a chain of similar campaigns with fundraising initiative: #bookstoresagainstborders.
As Claire Kirch writes for Publishers Weekly:
In an email sent to booksellers Thursday evening, Treu in her position as coordinator for #BookstoresAgainstBorders wrote, “We are doing this not only to raise more money for this vital organization but to show the country we are more than just places of business, we are members of our communities in ways that go far beyond the transactional.” #BookstoresAgainstBorders suggests that indies commit to donating 5-15% of sales during the holiday weekend to RAICES under the auspices of #BookstoresAgainstBorders, but any amount is sufficient. Bookstores wanting to participate are guided to create an account on Classy.com and also their own fundraiser page, which will be a subset of #BookstoresAgainstBorders’ account. Participating bookstores can thus personalize their fundraising appeals.
And the campaign has caught on, with 21 indies (and growing!) joining up.
In a world where other booksellers (well, if we can give Amazon the dignity of that title) are actually aiding ICE in their ghoulish mission—this campaign feels especially vital.
Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.