The Palabras Bilingual Bookstore in Phoenix has received more than $6,000 from GoFundMe donations in an effort to keep the store operating over the summer.
Palabras is the only bilingual bookstore in Arizona committed to creating a safe space for people of color, LGBTQ, indigenous people and marginalized communities for the past five years.
“It’s not just a bookstore,” Raquel Denis said. “It really is a community space and a community resource.”
But the store halted in-person sales in March and switched to online orders and book deliveries due to the current coronavirus pandemic. They now offer in-person shopping by appointment only.
Owner Rosaura “Chawa” Magaña said the pandemic has impacted her store’s revenue because her shop relies heavily on events as the profit margin for selling books is slim.
The donation page was created May 12 on behalf of Magaña and her partner, Jeff Slim, to help cover expenses such as rent, water, electric and inventory costs.
As of Saturday, the local bookstore has received $6,000 of its $10,000 goal.
Magaña was surprised to see the page had received so much attention.
She said community members had reached out saying her bookstore was a space that is “crucial to building an inclusive environment for the city of Phoenix.”
Relief during time of need
The independent bookstore has continued to support the community throughout the pandemic by offering a virtual book club through Zoom and an open mic meeting where local people of color share poetry, storytelling, music and stand-up.
The bookstore also serves as a mutual aid drop-off location where they collect groceries, toiletries and supplies for those who need resources during this time.
“It’s not a transactional space,” said Ryan Greene, who was part of the fundraising effort alongside Denis. “It’s a space that’s about mutual support.”
How to support Palabras
In addition to the GoFundMe, Greene said people have supported Palabras in many other ways including donating directly to the bookstore and purchasing products at the store.
Contributions also can be sent through Venmo at the username @Palabras-bookstore.
Lastly, the campaign organizers asked that people send emotional support by sharing personal stories on social media of what Palabras means to them.
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