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BLEECKERVERSARY!

Three years at Bleecker St! <3 <3 <3

We're celebrating three years on Bleecker Street! It feels like only yesterday that we were visiting NYC from Kenya for our first big pop-up, and in a hasty whirlwind of excitement, decided to take a stroll down Bleecker Street "just to see" (and dream a little). We called all the FOR RENT signs one Sunday and were lucky enough that Nick, the broker for #363 answered our call! A few days later, we had a signed lease, a new shop and a much bigger family. We never could've imagined our incredible luck in stumbling upon the greatest landlords ever to have graced NYC.  We'll always remember when we met them that first year over Cuban food at our favorite spot on Christopher St. and they said to us, "We have one daughter, Katie, and now two more--you!" As if we hadn't already felt like part of the family, that first week when Arthur came downstairs with warm pork buns from his mom to welcome us, we knew we were home.

Many of you have met Paloma, who has worked with us since day one, after we interviewed her while all sitting on boxes in our empty store. We're so proud of her and the many other wonderful women who have passed through our doors and who we have the joy to continue to see grow.

Three years later, through snowstorms, countless tacos from Pedro at the Little Taco Shop around the corner, hosting so many of you who've traveled far and wide to visit, in the midst of a pandemic, we still can't think of where we would be, what we would be, without the family we've had the pleasure and honor to be a part of at 363 Bleecker. It's because of you that we get to keep our doors open, and we're so grateful for the opportunity. While we can never know what the future will bring, we're proud to be able to share it with you from our little perch on Bleecker Street!

WHAT WE'RE READING // Michaela Coel's Pressure Points by Durga Chew-Bose

If you haven't seen Michaela Coel's new show I May Destroy You, getting a subscription to HBO just to watch it is completely worth it. Deeply felt, brilliantly written and strikingly thoughtful this show is everything. This article and interview takes you into the mind of the show's creator, director and star and gives you a glimpse into the genius that is Michaela Coel.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Come Through with Rebecca Carroll

 

Join Rebecca Carroll, culture critic for WNYC, on this podcast where she hosts conversations about race, culture and identity with thinkers, artists, writer and politicians. We especially recommend listening to episode 9 with author Bassey Ikpi where they discuss the stigma that black women face when talking about mental health.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Baaba Maal

We love Baaba Maal, and this 2009 collaboration with New York-based Brazilian Girls brings a fresh sound to both of their work.  Each song on the album is totally different than the one before it, so it can be a little disorienting to listen to, but every one truly deserves to be heard.  (Hint--if you like Manu Chao, you might love this album!

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Voter Registration Drive ✨

Voter registration drive!

With less than two months until the elections and so much at stake, we decided that in addition to donating to voter registration efforts, we would like to step up and start a voter registration drive at our stores! 

If you're already registered, GREAT! If you're not sure about your registration, you can find out here! If you're not sure if you're going to vote, register anyways, so that you CAN!

While it's super easy to register online, sometimes it takes a nudge (socially distanced, of course), so pop by our shops and we'll help you get registered!

Your vote matters, and together we can take action to protect our democracy and create a humane, generous and equitable place for all of us!

WHAT WE'RE READING // A Litany for Survival: Giving birth as a black woman in America by Naomi Jackson

American women are more likely to die in childbirth than women in the rest of the developed world, and black women are three to four times more likely to die than white women, regardless of income or education. In New York City, black women are nearly twelve times as likely as white women to die during childbirth or in the postpartum months. In this essay, writer Naomi Jackson shares her experience and illuminates systemic biases in our healthcare system.

WHAT WE'RE READING // Read a Book! with Kara

This is not exactly a reading recommendation, but more of a book club recommendation! Kara Brown is a writer, pop culture critic, podcast host and reader. She just launched a book club where she selects a book each month, and at the end of the month hosts a conversation along with really cool writers! We just joined and hope you will, too!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Ethio-jazz

 

Best known for his nostalgic, smooth sound, Mahamoud Ahmed got his start in 1962 at the Arizona Club in Addis Ababa. When one of the singers for Haile Selassie's Imperial Bodyguard Band didn't show up, he offered to sub-in and has since become one of the most influential musicians within the Tizita tradition of Ethio-jazz.

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter Aug 11, 2020

Community Spotlight: Zuri farms!

If you, like us, are just REVELING in the bounty of summer and endless tomatoes and peaches, you'll also be as excited as we are to celebrate some of the incredible, inspiring women in our community who are building sustainable, ethical and inclusive food systems.

Shellie-Ann Kerns runs Bunkhouse Acres, a 20-acre homestead and designated tree farm in the Middle Satsop Valley, in the homelands of the Tsihalis Salishan people in western Washington. Through sustainable and regenerative land management techniques including permaculture, biodynamic farming and companion planting, Shellie-Ann is creating a farm that is connected to the history of land and an inclusive local farm network. Learn more about the farm and support Shellie-Ann's work here!

Lizy Bryant is a queer, Black, emerging land steward born and raised in Minnesota. She is currently fundraising to buy 25 acres of land and farming infrastructure an hour outside of the Twin Cities, which will be converted into an agricultural and artistic resource for Black Minnesotans and their families. When fully operative, this land will function as a farm, a gathering place, a learning facility, and a generative nexus for wellness and creativity. If you'd like to support Lizy's work, please follow the link here!

Dalila Boclin is the Director of Programs at FRESHFARM, a nonprofit based in DC that focuses on building a better food system by connecting the dots between sustainable agriculture and food access. If you live in DC, Maryland, or Virginia, maybe you've visited one of their 33 farmers markets, or seen their FoodPrints programs at DC's elementary schools. Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, FRESHFARM has provided 100% fresh, locally produced food to over 9,7000 residents of the area, supporting both vulnerable urban communities as well as dozens of family farms during this critical time.

WHAT WE'RE READING // Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

In her mid-twenties and unsure about what to do with her life, Emira finds a job baby-sitting for the Chamberlain family. A confrontation at a local supermarket while watching the Chamberlain's toddler sets off a vortex of events that bring us into the complexity of race, gender, economic status and transactional relationships. This novel is so engrossing that you won't be able to do anything else until you finish it, so make some time and enjoy!

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Interview with Isabel Wilkerson

Ever since reading her definitive history on the Great Migration, Warmth of the Other Suns, I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Isabel Wilkerson's next work. Her new book, Caste, was just released, and this interview is the perfect amuse bouche for those of us eagerly checking our mailboxes waiting for her new book to arrive!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Syli Authentic

In addition to a fantastic sound, what's so incredible about the Guinean band Syli Authentic is that the members were all students, ranging in age from just 14-16.  The sound is rich and complex; it's a happy reminder that young people are truly capable of amazing things.

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter Aug 4, 2020

Community Spotlight: Zuri writes!

We're big readers and it is an endless delight that we get to fill our libraries with the thoughtful, inspiring work of authors from within our Zuri community! If you're a writer, send us a message so we can be sure to add your work to our library!

Grace Talusan's first book, The Body Papers,  is a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, a Must-Read for the Massachusetts Book Awards, a Foreword INDIES Finalist, and winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. It recently came out in paperback, and we can't recommend it enough!

Edwidge Danticat is the author of many books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection and Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist. Her memoir, Brother, I'm Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Her most recent book, Everything Inside, is a stunning must-read!

Audrey Ferber is fixture at the Writer's Grotto in SF, and her short stories have appeared in Fiction International, The Cimarron Review, The AWP Writer’s Chronicle, Literary Mama, the anthologies VIRTUALLY NOW, Eating Our Hearts Out, The Intricate Weave, and elsewhere. She was also one of our earliest supporters in SF, where she modeled our dresses in the SF Chronicle, and we're excited to share her newest work, here!

 

 

 

JULY GIVING UPDATE // Equal Justice Initiative

Thanks to your mask purchases, we are so proud that we were able to make a donation of $7,200 to the Equal Justice Initiative for the month of July. That brings the total contribution that we've made to EJI in the last two months to $15,930! We couldn't be prouder that we have been able to make this impact together, as a community! 

As we near the elections in November, we would like to direct our focus towards voter registration. For the month of August, we will be donating to the Voter Participation Center, which has a really smart and effective approach for getting the Rising American Electorate (young people, people of color, and single women) registered and voting through methodically tested mail programs, which are particularly important in the context of the pandemic. Voter registrations are way down in 2020 due to COVID-19, and now, more than ever, we are committed to making sure that all voices are heard and represented in our government.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Richard II at the Public Theater

Whether you're a Shakespeare fan or just love live performance, this radio broadcast is for you! Starring Andre Holland and developed in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, this performance feels contemporary and resonant.

WHAT WE'RE READING // So Brutal a Death by Edwidge Danticat

In this essay reflecting on George Floyd's killing, Edwidge Danticat writes about the immigrant experience and global solidarity. "In the agony of his final moments, while crying out for his mama, water, and breath, George Floyd reached out to and became all of us. He has joined a vast community of people, across the globe, who see echoes of the injustices and the inequalities of their own societies in his American story, and recognize their own torment in his suffering."

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE

Ambrose Akinmusire is a trumpeter, composer and bandleader whose music both transcends and redefines his instrument's place in jazz.  He's been known for pitting contemporary classical music against deconstructed hip-hop, finding beauty in the fusing of two extremes. The next time you need to clear your mind, think of this album as your reset button; it'll change the course of your day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter July 28, 2020

Market Days

We usually travel monthly to the markets to source fabric for our clothing, and throughout the month are in touch with vendors to see what's new (in the market and in their lives!). While we aren't able to go to the markets now, we're revisiting photos from a recent trip to Dar es Salaam, and some of the fabrics may look familiar!

Meet Emmy! She always has the most wonderful prints, especially in the crackle batik style, and we're so excited to share Verdant and Cornucopia with you, both sourced from her!

 

 

 

Lunch is a pretty big deal for us in life and in work, and it's hard to express in words the feeling of relief and excitement when we sit down to a heaping plate of rice, veggies, fried tilapia and a bowl of beans!

The fabric section of the market is a mere fraction of the entire, much larger market, and it's always fun to wander through the other areas, especially where produce is being sold, to see what's in season and new! How amazing do these little peaches, tree tomatoes and passion fruits look?

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Les Filles de Illighadad

 

These filles ROCK!  Based in Niger, the lead vocalist and performer, Fatou Seidi Ghali, is one of the only female Tuareg guitarists in the region, and is completely self-taught. They have a beautifully rich sound and I promise you will keep this album cycling through your "favorites" for years to come.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell

 

 

 

This multi-generational epic weaves together four generations of families whose lives have sprouted from the fertile Zambezi delta. Serpell's evocative storytelling amplifies reality and gives us a lesson in history and a deep exploration of relationships and family.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Zenele Muholi at the Seattle Art Museum 

South African Zanele Muholi is a visual activist and photographer, and in this video, they talk about their work and while it's not a substitute for seeing their powerful, moving work in person, it's pretty close!

 

 

 

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