With the help of strangers, this Black woman will be able to fulfill her dreams of creating a safe space for other book lovers in her community.
As a young girl, finding books written for girls who look like her by Black women authors was not an easy feat for Asha Grant.
“When I was growing up, reading was a really huge part of how I got to understand myself,” Grant told NBC Los Angeles. “There’s a huge disservice that our entire community gets when there is an entire group of people who are missing from that narrative.”
Fast-forwarding to adulthood, Grant used her passion to change this narrative by helping to provide books written by Black women for those in her community through her participation with The Free Black Women’s Library in LA.
Grant would haul hundreds and hundreds of books penned by Black women around in her car. The organization eventually led to her idea of creating a bookshop catered to the same cause — providing people in her home city of Inglewood with not only books written by Black authors but sharing those stories created about Black women and non-binary people.
With the perfect location in mind, Grant was well on her way to make this happen and then, like many others, Miss Rona came through and shook up her plans.
“I was like there is no way I can do this,” Grant said, according to NBC Los Angeles. “This is something I’m going to have to put off.”
Thank heavens for a change in perspective, because instead, Grant decided to create a GoFundMe to bring her bookshop vision to life. Aiming for the stars, she set a goal to raise $65,000.
In a week tops, Grant exceeded her goal which she says was thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement. To date, she has been able to raise $83,000, reports NBC Los Angeles.
Named after one of her favorite novels, Salt Eaters Bookshop now has a store located in Inglewood along with a mural volunteered by a local artist. Interior designer Grace Min offered her services to help Grant make the inside of her shop look amazing at no cost.
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“I’ve been describing it as a resting ground for us to just put down our things,” Grant said.
Set to open in February, just in time for Black History Month, Grant’s hope is that her bookshop provides a space filled with books, authors, and characters that become familiar to everyone who visits.
“We all benefit from learning and being exposed to the stories of people that don’t look like us,” she said.
To be a part of the Salt Eaters Bookshop community, click here.