La Revo Books makes space for BIPOC writers
2021 has been a remarkable year for the sister twosome behind La Revo, a Latinx BIPOC-focused pop-up bookstore. It all started when Valeria Cerda and her sister Barbara, who you might know as Barby the Book Fairy, sat down at their kitchen table.
“I just came over and brought my laptop and I'm like, ‘let's just do this,’” said Valeria Cerda. “It started as a brain dump where we spilled everything we had in our heads. I remember Barbara was cleaning her kitchen at the same time and her kids were running around.”
At some point during this passionate brainstorm session, their father called with unfortunate news. Their grandmother passed away. The sisters decided to start La Revo books in honor of their grandmother’s spirit, even down to the name La Revo, which is short for la revolution.
When I interviewed the sisters, I was intrigued by the idea that both of them were constantly centered around books. Before this venture, Barbra collected 1,000 books for Southsidekids with Milwaukee’s free libraries. Barara said it’s revolutionary to learn about yourself and to be able to share the stories of where you came from.
“It's such a treasure to be able to share culture and identity with each other,” said Barbara. “There aren't any bookstores in Milwaukee that focus on or that specialize in Latin X literature. So through books, we've been able to bring that to Milwaukee and kind of fill in a space that we almost didn't know that we needed.”
Valeria added that not only is it important to learn about your culture, it’s also political.
“I think books are really, and specifically our books, Brown people's books, Black people's books, indigenous books, they're very political,” said Valeria. “One of the themes that we talk a lot about is like the sanctity of books and literature. It has been political from the start. How can we not do a book store?”
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