This Philly bookstore owner found a different way to protest

ByEric Moody WPVI logo
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Bookshop owner donates free books during protest
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While the city engaged in many protests following recent events, Cook spent her time during protests, giving back. - Eric Moody reports:

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Meet Jeannine A. Cook, a writer, long time Philly native and owner of Harriett's Bookshop in the city's Fishtown section.

Named after historical American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, Harriett's Bookshop is a local independent bookstore and creative space whose mission celebrates women authors, artists, and activists throughout Philadelphia and beyond.

While the city engaged in many protests following recent events, Cook spent her time during protests, giving back.

"Something I think that would be really powerful as a posed to holding a sign that says 'I can't breathe' because what message is that sending?" said Cook. "What are we literally saying out of our mouths and what effect does that have on who we are."

Cook says she already had prepared and ordered a bunch of Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman books for this very reason because deep in her heart she felt that, that was the message.

"I felt like that was the message that resonated with me, now I'm not saying everyone has to protest how I protest," said Cook. "I'm saying protest how you protest and not necessarily have to go with the crowd."

While Cook feels education is key and providing lists of books is the first step, she says it certainly requires a full committed effort.

"Yes I can provide you with a list, but that list is not going to eradicate racism in your life," said Cook. "You can buy every single book on the list."

Cook says in her opinion if others plan on doing the work, the next step would be analyzing it.

"You need to be analyzing the book, you need to be discussing the book, you need to be questioning the book and have a peered community where you can do that same back and forth ness," said Cook.

That step that Cook encourages the most she says is writing something out.

"I need you to reflect on it in writing, give the future your position on it, said Cook. "Where do you stand, where did you come out of it with."

Cooks hope by participating is to encourage others to inform themselves and be more educated on African-American history.

"Studies say that people stop reading dramatically after they graduate from high school or college," said Cook. "Why? What can be done about it? If we do that thing (read) would we get some different results."

Cook adds, "Yeah, of course, because you're going to learn."