ST PAUL PARK, Minn. — The death of George Floyd sparked protests for justice and change across the country, and a flurry of enthusiasm to learn about racial injustice in this country from a book. If you could get one by supporting a Black-owned bookstore, even better. There lies the problem for Minnesotans like Dionne Sims.
Sims said at least two known Black-owned bookstores in the Twin Cities are closed. She said that means there are now no Black-owned bookstores in the entire state. According to a list compiled by the African American Literature Book Club, she's right.
Sims took to Twitter on June 15, tweeting, "Minnesota doesn't have a black-owned bookstore. I think that's my new dream."
"And it just went viral," Sims said.
It was retweeted more than 700 times, and liked 14,000-plus times.
"It was just an incredible experience to be like, 'Oh this is a real need,'" Sims said. "It's not just something that I'm imagining myself and people want it," she said.
So Sims tweeted a couple of hours later "I want to do this."
The user-experience designer by day founded Black Garnet Books.
Sims has never owned a business before, but no sweat.
"No one who opens their first business has ever opened a business before you know?" Sims said.
"We would stock primarily Black authors and also racially diverse authors," Sims said.
"People really crave the ability to walk into a space and especially a bookstore and know that they're going to find themselves there," she said.
Until then, customers are waiting.
"As if there was a wall of people behind a door and they're all standing there like, 'We're ready to come in!'" Sims said.
Sims said her crowdfunding campaign will launch on Friday.
Join our #Sunrisers Book Club Facebook page to learn more about what else is going on in the Minnesota reading community.