'Little Free Antiracist Libraries' help dismantle division through education

ByVictoria Vallecorse Localish logo
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
These libraries empower youth to rise up against racism
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From the outer artwork to the books within, these neighborhood libraries aim to uplift diverse voices and inspire antiracist learning.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Antiracist libraries are springing up throughout the Bay Area to inspire education and dismantle racism.

The Walnut Creek-based nonprofit, Rise Up Against Racism builds "Little Free Antiracist Libraries" from the ground up, filling each structure with books for children and adults that center on historically marginalized perspectives.

"The idea behind these libraries is to provide our communities with antiracist books for children and adults and really make this reading accessible," said Rise Up Against Racism co-founder Jenny Roy. "We believe in the power of books to spark conversation."

From the outer artwork to the books within, the libraries aim to uplift diverse voices. The libraries are functional pieces of community art painted by a diverse cadre of commissioned artists. Each artist seeks to tell unique stories through the design elements.

"I love lining them up with African fabrics on the interior, as well as using images that are symbolic of what love means in the community," said artist Netsanet Tesfay.

Each library prominently displays "This Little Library is Antiracist." Rise Up Against Racism is intentional with these words, hoping to inform, enlighten, and drive action against racism.

Inside, the collection of books offered is carefully chosen, curated, and purchased from Marcus Books in Oakland, the oldest Black-owned bookstore in the United States. The selections provide sources of vital historical context and important lessons.

"Every part of our Little Free Antiracist Libraries offers opportunities for reflection and learning and hopefully a powerful impetus for action," explained Rise Up Against Racism co-founder Meg Honey.

The libraries are currently installed throughout the Bay Area in Walnut Creek, Martinez, and Burlingame with more locations to come.

"Education is a good first step in building awareness of our collective responsibility to dismantle racism," said Rise Up Against Racism co-founder Sarah Foster.

To learn more and support, visit here and follow @riseupagainstracism on Instagram.

Find a new book and borrow at one of these locations.

Visit here for information on how to bring a Little Free Antiracist Library to your neighborhood.