One year ago, Gretchen Treu became the co-owner of Madison, Wisconsin Bookstore, A Room of One’s Own. Today, instead of celebrating her one year milestone, Treu is reaching out to indie bookstore owners across the country to support her Bookstores Against Borders fund.
Treu began the use of this campaign and hashtag after seeing video footage and photographs that revealed the horrifying truth of what is going on inside Border Patrol custody centers. Far from being “safe and sanitary” like the law requires, Treu decided she could no longer sit back and “keep doing what I’ve already been doing.” Instead she has sent out an email to several independently owned bookstores across the country asking them to donate a percentage of sales to Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, who has been providing low-to-no-cost legal services to those detained by ICE at the border.
In these emails, Treu 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.” This fundraising campaign is set to take place this holiday weekend, July 5th through July 7th, and more than twenty booksellers have already pledged their support.
A Room of One’s Own, which has been raising funds for a while, has already contributed $564 to RAICES, and joining them this weekend are 21 indies and the Independent Publisher Caucus. The IPC is donating books from five indie presses to book-lovers who make donations to RAICES. A reader can get a “surprise” book for a $10 contribution or six titles with swag for $75 in contributions.
Gretchen Treu asks those booksellers interested in joining #BookstoresAgainstBorders to sign up through Classy.com. She also asks that if you cannot join in the fight financially to help raise awareness by sharing the hashtag and her story.
How can you help? By simply buying books and contributing to the fund. Online sales will count towards what gets donated, so even if you find yourself several states away from a participating indie, you can still help make that impact. You can also ask your local booksellers if they will be getting involved, and tell them why it is important.