Black Lives Matter
At River Bookshop we are appalled and saddened by recent developments in the United States. Their cruel handling of racist acts date back hundreds of years and while there has been some progress over those years it appears now that they have taken a major step backwards under their current racist Federal leadership. As Canadians it is tempting to sit back and proudly say that’s not Canada. But no — racism is real in Canada. We too have systemic racism in our institutions and our society and shutting one’s eyes to our unconscious biases do not make them go away.
In Amherstburg and Essex County we have always been impacted by the horrific way the United States has treated its Black citizens. In the early to mid-nineteenth century our town was one of the major Canadian endpoints on the Underground Railroad that helped escaping freedom seekers. In 1967 we were shocked watching Detroit burn. And today many of our residents have families or jobs on the other side of the river who experience the States’ failings up close and personal. We hope that everyone, including Canadians, learn from this history.
It’s good that more people are speaking out. One’s voice can be a powerful asset. But today voices are simply not enough - people, politicians, organizations and businesses need to take action.
The River Bookshop will be a community hub that is lead by its values: educate, inspire and engage. We will also be a safe place that welcomes people of all races, creeds and colours. We are going to curate titles and speakers that educate and inspire you to fight for social change. We'll offer books that talk to the issues, solutions and the people who are making a difference. We will bring in speakers and authors that will share the stories and thoughts of those with first-hand knowledge .
In Amherstburg we are also fortunate to have the Amherstburg Freedom Museum that tells the story of African-Canadians’ journey and contributions. The River Bookshop will be supporting the excellent work museum president Monty Logan and his team are doing to tell the story of Black Canadians. We hope to collaborate with them not only during Black History month but throughout the year as well, highlighting the important issues they address and the work they are doing. Amherstburg’s Freedom Museum is a community jewel. Right now it is closed due to Covid 19, but when it’s open again make sure you show your support by visiting it. Check out amherstburgfreedom.org to learn more.
Today it’s up to all of us if we wish to make Amherstburg an even more welcoming place for everyone.
“If you believe in a cause, be willing to stand up for that cause with a million people or by yourself.”
Otis S. Johnson
Remember, if you only access one source of information, you are only hearing one side of the story. To that end we’ve left you with the list below of some Black Canadian thinkers, writers and activists and their works.
Your River Bookshop Team