This month, Word Up celebrates 5.5 years of existence.
It seems a lifetime ago that we were celebrating 5.5 months, back in December 2011. That moment was significant: it was then that our fledgling group of core volunteers looked into our collective future and decided that, yes, we could try to meet the desire that everyone around us was expressing—we would commit to staying, to fighting to keep this space for arts and organizing that was open to all.
It was at that moment—at 5.5 months—that NoMAA signed a lease on behalf of the Word Up volunteers, and everything was full of promise: we finally had more time to plan and promote events, to make more book sections, to open accounts to get more books in Spanish, to develop our internal collective structure. We wanted to stay, and so we began the hard work of trying to.
With the milestone of 5 years past us, we are once again standing on a threshold looking into our collective future. We want to exist long enough to celebrate our 25th birthday (at least!)—to be around as long as it takes a generation to grow up with a community bookstore/arts space and be shaped by its existence. Our goal is to be sustainable over the long term.
If you visit or use Word Up in any way—if you like the idea of what we stand for and what we are trying to do—please consider donating to us before the end of 2016. We are not supported by big foundation grants or large state funding—the bulk of our income comes from book sales and individual donations, and the in-kind generosity of hundreds of people from Washington Heights, Inwood, and all over the city.