Katrina Brooks, Black Bookstore Owner in Texas, Hopes Focus on Racial Justice Continues After 2020 Protests

Katrina Brooks owns Black Pearl Books in Austin. She started the operation as a pop-up in November of 2019 because she says she and her children could not find many books with Black representation and felt much of the Black narrative was being left out. (Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT)

In May 2020, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, a Black man. The murder sparked demonstrations around the country for racial justice. It also spurred interest in topics like anti-racism and encouraged people to support Black-owned businesses.

That was over a year ago. What about now?

Katrina Brooks owns Black Pearl Books in Austin. She opened the business as a pop-up in November 2019 but now has a permanent location inside of Ten Thousand Villages on Burnet Road. Brooks calls what happened to her business in June 2020 a “June boom” because of the heightened interest she saw in “books about anti-racism and the African-American plight of people in history.”

But Brooks says that intensity and interest did not last into 2021. She says some people did want to continue pursuing racial justice topics they started exploring in 2020, but others were “just [saying], ‘Hey, this is what everyone is reading, this is what I’m supposed to do.'”

Brooks says she hopes the awareness that was raised in 2020 will keep people attuned to racial justice issues so that “it doesn’t take another huge event” to “bring it back to the forefront of people’s minds.”

Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below to hear more from Brooks about the ebbs and flows of her Black-owned business.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: KUT 90.5, Jennifer Stayton

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