Community Rallies for Bookshop Centering Black, Femme, Nonbinary Narratives

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Asha Grant of Salt Eaters Bookshop

Note: This article first appeared on Los Angeleno and is shared with their permission in partnership with UncoverLA. You can subscribe for news and features from Los Angeleno here.

By Faith Petrie

Asha Grant had a duty to fulfill  it wasn't anything assigned by a boss or higher-up, but an internal one.

When Gov. Gavin Newsom implemented stay-at-home orders in March, businesses were immediately affected, and Grant's was no exception. She had been working on a business of her own since November 2019, a bookstore she would call The Salt Eaters Bookshop after the Toni Cade Bambara novel of the same name. She expected to table it until at least 2021.

Grant wanted her bookshop to center not only Black women but femmes and nonbinary people as well and to make their stories the focal point of her business. That's why when the deaths of Black women like Breonna Taylor and Oluwatoyin Salau made headlines, she had to act, and fast.

"If you're not safe in your own home, then where are you safe?" Grant says. "Even though I know that [Black women] are just constantly under the threat of violence just by merely existing, we still exist, and we're still outside, and we're still so brave. I wanted to be brave, too, and I wanted to create a space where I can do everything in my power to make sure that in this space, you're safe."

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