entertainment

This Boricua Is Bringing An Indie Bookstore To Her Neighborhood Of 1.4 Million

@thelitbar / Instagram

Nöelle Santos is a woman on a mission: giving her borough a bookstore. The Bronx, where Santos resides, has ten colleges, 1.4 million people and, currently, zero bookstores. Santos told mitú that this was just unacceptable so she is doing something about it.

Nöelle Santos, 30, wants to give her neighborhood a unique and accessible bookstore.


According to the website, The Lit. Bar will be more than just a bookstore. The dream project of Santos, who has a bachelor’s in business management and accounting and master’s in human resources management from Lehman College, will be a bookstore, wine bar and community center.

“I saw this petition going around online in October 2014 and it said that the Barnes & Noble in Co-Op City in Bay Plaza was in jeopardy of being closed; that the landlord didn’t want to extend the lease because they wanted a more affluent tenant, someone who could pay more rent,” Santos told mitú.

The looming, and eventual, threat of the Bronx losing their only bookstore launched Santos into action.

The Lit. Bar / Facebook
CREDIT: The Lit. Bar / Facebook

“I was inspired to do something about it. It was unacceptable to me that there are 1.4 million people in The Bronx and 10 colleges and we only had one bookstore. I decided right then and there that I was going to do something about it; that I was going to open my own bookstore and make it more accessible because I drive but that’s not the case for most people in my borough,” Santos told mitú. “It was really hard to get all the way to Co-Op City. There’s no train that goes over there; that goes all the way to the northeast. Also, it’s a corporate chain store so it never reflected our local people and the demographic that we have here, so I figured that I could do something really special for The Bronx by bringing a second bookstore and it just so happens that now I’m going to be the only one.”

Santos understands the importance of literacy in getting any education.

The Lit. Bar / Facebook
CREDIT: The Lit. Bar / Facebook

“First, I need to give people in The Bronx access to books. Just at its core, books and reading and literacy are the foundations for any type of learning so my people need access to books first and foremost. Secondly, specifically where I’m from in the south Bronx, we’ve seen a wave of gentrification and we’ve seen a more affluent demographic move into the borough and gentrification is a thing,” Santos mentioned to mitú about the need for a neighborhood bookstore where neighbors can meet and talk about tense issues.

But she also hopes that the bookstore becomes a place of community.

The Lit. Bar / Facebook
CREDIT: The Lit. Bar / Facebook

“I don’t want to see the borough become ‘The Tale Of Two Cities’ where you have the rich on one side and the poor on the other. I want to make a home for people to actually connect and communicate about these issues and become real neighbors and I can’t think of a better way to do that than through wine and books,” Santos expressed about her hopes of bringing community together through books.

The Boricua bookstore owner is also dedicated to making sure her store reflects her community.


“My inventory is going to be general interest but we’re going to specialize in women’s and local interest, whatever that may be at that time,” Santos said adding that, “about 60 percent of my population speaks Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish myself but I’m going to make sure that I have somebody on staff at all times that speaks Spanish and I’m also going to look into the statistics and I’m going to also address other languages other than Spanish.”

Santos also encourages others to start their own bookstores if they live in underserved neighborhoods because independent bookstores are doing just fine.


“We are thriving and don’t be afraid because you see Borders closing and Barnes & Noble closing down. Independent bookstore sales and statistics are nothing like Barnes & Noble,” Santos stated to mitú. “They abandoned local communities and became corporations and they are feeling the affects of that because the only way they can compete with Amazon is on price and you know who’s going to win there.”

If you’d like to donate to Santos’ crowdfunding efforts, you can click here.

indiegogo.com
CREDIT: indiegogo.com

READ: An Afro-Dominican Mom Made A Bilingual Book So Children And Parents Can Discuss Race And Color

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This Latina In Trump's Administration Explains Why There Are No Latinos In Trump's Cabinet

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This Latina In Trump’s Administration Explains Why There Are No Latinos In Trump’s Cabinet

Univision Noticias / Al Punto / YouTube

Helen Aguirre Ferré, the director of media affairs for the White House, first made headlines related to President Trump when she was tapped to be the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic communications director. Now, she’s explaining why there are no Latinos in Trump’s cabinet and exactly what Trump’s strategy is when it comes to immigration.

Helen Aguirre Ferré wants Americans to know that the lack of Latinos in President Trump’s cabinet is nothing more than picking the best for the job.


According to an interview Ferré did with Phil Latzman with Phoenix’s KJZZ, Ferré says there is nothing to read into when it comes to Trump’s white cabinet. In fact, Ferré told Latzman that there are more Latinos working in Trump’s administration than we might have noticed.

“There is a senior advisor, Carlos Díaz Rosillo, who’s a senior advisor to the President. He’s very prominent in this administration and he works with interagency affairs. There are a number, there’s going to be 4,000 employees that are going to be a part of this administration,” Ferré told Latzman. “Certainly, you’re going to be seeing very many [Latinos]. We have a Deputy Assistant to Public Liaison Jennifer Sevilla Korn and she’s Hispanic.”

As for his executive orders on the border wall and immigration, she says they are about national security starting with the border.


“First of all, border security and building the wall was [sic] part of President Trump’s campaign promise, one of his promises, and he’s fulfilling his promises. So we’re going to have a secure border,” Ferré said in her interview with KJZZ. “And I don’t know of any nation that doesn’t want to have control over their border. It’s every nation’s sovereign right to be able to do so. We have immigration laws that are going to be continued to be enforced.”

Ferré argued that there will not be any changes to current immigration laws, only that the laws currently on the books will be enforced. In doing so, Ferré told Latzman that Border Patrol and border towns and states will be getting more resources to stem illegal immigration.

Ferré says the move to defund sanctuary cities is about strengthening federal law.


“We all have laws and we are a country where the rule of law stands. If we don’t like the laws, then we work to change the laws, but we begin where it starts and we begin by securing our border and that’s step one,” Ferré told KJZZ about why cities and states shouldn’t be allowed to pick and chose what federal laws they want to follow. “The ones who really have to fear are those who are criminals. Those are the main points. Those who are here undocumented in our country, they’ve always been subject to the risk of being found and deported.”

(H/T: Latino USA)


READ: Jorge Ramos Finally Forced The RNC Hispanic Outreach Director To Talk About Donald Trump

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