Page 15

the media] and I was also reading that.” “Now I look at the books we have here,” Rosiclar continued, “and [the characters] are all like me. I know their struggle, and I can relate to them, and I can be healed through reading the characters’ experience. I never found that anywhere else before I stepped into Racine.” And now, the youth of Montreal North have an opportunity to experience this as well. Sahrane shares this sentiment. “[People of colour] are pegged with a certain stereotype and can’t escape that. So, racialized individuals often just stick to their stereotype and caricature, which perpetuates the subordination of racialized people, and the supremacy of white folk,” she said. The bookstore is safety and family oriented, said Rosiclar, and it is not just for book and art lovers. Racines also hosts multiple events throughout the month, about a variety of subjects. They have discussions and interactive workshops on a variety of topics related to race and writing. On Oct. 7, they had a discussion about “Pre-Columbus,” two days before the celebrated Columbus Day in the United States. Their biggest event of October was a Halloween party on Oct. 28 called “Heroes of Color.” They also had a dating event called “Books and Chill.” “And it worked ” Empress said, laughing. “A space is finally created for folk to not have to justify their existence,” said Sahrane. “It is important for racialized folk because we are often silenced when we try to engage in conversations about racism.” At Racines, people can talk about their experiences only if they want to, and at their own pace. Racines is a good resource for learning as well, said Sahrane. Teachers come in trying to find books to read their elementary school kids with racialTop: Activist Sophia Sahrane, a recent Concordia University graduate, is an employee at the Racines bookstore in Montreal North. Bottom: Art by local artists is also sold at the bookstore. PHOTOS FRANCA G. MIGNACCA

ized characters. A lot of non-racialized people come into the space and want to understand, for example, how feminism is whitewashed. Racines has an educational value for non-racialized people to learn without being shot down, or tokenizing their “only black friend” by bombarding them with questions about living while black. They meet people at Racines who want to share as much as possible about their personal experiences, within respectful boundaries, and who want to educate others. Everyone who works on their small team is very involved in the community. The owner Gabriella Kint , for example, is involved with Montreal Noir and Black Lives Matter Montreal. Racines is a very small scale resource, said Sahrane. They do outreach work at schools and with educational associations such as the Federation autonome des enseignants, but there is only so much they can do. Systemic racism is such a massive issue, said Sahrane, and she hopes other spaces like this one are created. The bookshop is also a place for people to meet and talk, said Rosiclar. Kids pass by to just hang out. There is a comfortable leather couch for people to sit, a little corner for children, set with a colorful table and chairs, toys for them to play with and books for them to read, and a table with a couple of chairs at the entrance of the store. That is my favorite place in the store, said Rosiclar, pointing at the table with a wooden statue and two cacti as decoration, by the door. That table is perfect for conversation, and for sharing, she said. And it was. “We at Racines want to take care of you, and want to connect with you,” she said. “We try our best to get you the book you want.” The clientele is already faithful, she continued. She isn’t sure if it’s the way they accept and welcome people, but they would always come back, she said. “When you come here,” said Rosiclar, “you will always find somebody who is willing to be part of your family.” Rosiclar wasn’t exaggerating when she welcomed me to the store. Racines felt like home. acines schedules monthl e ents Check their Face ook page acines or at enri ourassa l d ast


N O V E M B E R 2 0 17


Volume 38, Issue 3  
Volume 38, Issue 3