A message from MENDO’s Publisher, Gunifort Uwambaga
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter.
That’s indisputable and fundamental. The current protests against anti-Black racism and white supremacy are long overdue and necessary, and we at MENDO support them unequivocally. As the protests around the world, on the streets, extend well into their third week – the demand for books about race and anti-racism has surged. At the time of this writing, all of the top best-selling books on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles are on the topics of racism and discrimination.
We are grateful that people are making an effort to seek out information to help them better understand what’s happening in the world, we are thankful people are rediscovering books, we just hope it’s not a knee-jerk reaction due to shame and guilt and not wanting to be on the ‘wrong’ side. We, too, have made an effort to find our voice and role, we have taken time to reflect on our practice as a bookstore and independent publishing company in these digital times. In the last couple of weeks, we have provided our new store as a gathering place for Black creative entrepreneurs. We have consulted our Black and otherwise racialized colleagues and business partners, to ensure we as a company represent a meaningful commitment to action and accountability.
‘We recommit to inclusion and diversity as fundamental to our company.’
As one of the few Black book Publishers in The Netherlands, I recognize the essential role I play in supporting positive change led by Black communities, as well as the other racialized or marginalized people and communities. MENDO will continue to actively highlight and promote the work of Black, LGBTQ, and Female authors, creatives, and makers. But we also know we need to commit to more than reading, with more than these words.
We at MENDO are dedicated to amplifying the voices of the many essential and inspiring Black creators and visual artists around the world. We recommit to inclusion and diversity as fundamental to our company. This means centering diversity in both our internal culture, our physical store, and our publishing practices. We commit to a renewed focus on our social responsibility to our community, beginning with a clear, proud, and strong stance against anti-Black racism. We are keen to hear from our community; we cannot do this alone. What books are we missing in our offering, which stories should we tell through our publishing? Please feel free to reach out – our email is [email protected].
Be kind to each other, be joyful, and continue to spread the love for beautiful books.
–Publisher at MENDO
For this one time, we went outside the world of coffee-table books. We have included fiction, poetry, historical texts, essays, and memoirs. The range of authors goes from new voices like Reni Eddo-Lodge and Asha Bandele, leaders like the Obamas to Antwan Sargent, who address the radical transformation taking place in fashion, photography, and art today. We have gathered some of our all-time favorite books about the black experience to add to your reading list. Buy them online or check if they’re available at your local bookstore.
– Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library — Carole Boston Weatherford & Eric Velasquez
– The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love — Bell Hooks
– Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches — Audre Lorde
– On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous — Ocean Vuong
– Notes of a Native Son — James Baldwin
– Long Walk to Freedom — Nelson Mandela
– The Audacity of Hope — Barack Obama
– Black Fortunes — Shomari Wills
– When They Call You a Terrorist — Patrisse Khan-Cullors
– The Scramble for Africa — Thomas Pakenham
– Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race — Reni Eddo-Lodge
– Between the World and Me — Ta-Nehisi Coates
From MENDO’s shelves
This selection was made by our publisher Gunifort Uwambaga to highlight Black pioneers in many different fields, past and present, and a number of publications which have sought to thoughtfully document widely-overlooked aspects of the Black experience as it exists in communities around the world.
Check out the collection
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