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  WINDY CITY TIMES

LETTERS Women & Children First; Gun and done
2014-07-16

This article shared 6129 times since Wed Jul 16, 2014
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Moving on

The following brief letters from Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon extend their thanks to the community, as they begin their next chapters both in the bookstore and beyond.

Dear Friends of Women & Children First:

In the months following the news that Linda and I were selling Women & Children First, many of you said lovely things about what the store has meant to you and also expressed concern that it might close or might not remain, well, Women & Children First.

We did our best to assure you that, no, we weren't closing—that, in fact, quite a few people had expressed interest in buying it, and that we were only going to sell it to people who were invested in the same mission and vision we have followed for almost 35 years. I am thrilled to say that we have found those people—two women who are every bit as committed as we have been.

One longtime customer came in to say something to me that I'll always hold in my heart: "I haven't had a lot of money to spend here over the years and I know I haven't been one of your best customers. But I want you to know you always treated me as if I were." Lynn Mooney and Sarah Hollenbeck, the enthusiastic feminist and literary pair taking over the store, are excited to make some needed changes and improvements will continue to treat all of like you as their best customer. Because you are. Together we have created—and will continue to create—this welcoming village that is so important to all of us who have decided to belong and help make it our own.

—Ann

Thirty-five years ago, we were two enthusiastic and earnest young feminists, ready to change the world by adding a feminist bookstore to the literary landscape in Chicago. Two moves and one expansion later secured our place in a community of independent businesses in Andersonville. Now it's time to turn this lovely space and lively business over to two younger, enthusiastic literary feminists who will have the health, strength and new ideas to carry Women & Children First into the future.

We've taken considerable time to choose our successors, and we're grateful to all of you who showed interest in buying the store. What enterprising feminists you are! We hope that you will all find soul-satisfying, world-changing work. We're thrilled to announce that two of our co-workers, Lynn Mooney and Sarah Hollenbeck, will be buying the store this month. Their complimentary skills and interests, their dedication to continuing the mission of Women & Children First, their love of books, their feminist purpose, and their combined experience in bookselling and publishing make them ideal successors.

But it won't be easy. These are challenging times for brick-and-mortar stores as well as for print books. Please continue to support the store: buy books, come to programs, bring your kids, parents, and friends.

As for me, Linda, I plan to be semi-retired and work a couple days a week at the store. I am so happy to turn over the responsibility of ownership! I want more time to read, write, perform ( and play golf ). I will still be hosting the Wednesday morning storytime and the monthly Women's Book Group. This has been an extraordinary, satisfying journey. Thank you all for your support, confidence and love.

—Linda

See related story at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Women-Children-bookstore-sold/48336.html .

Gun and done

The summer is here, and we continue to have violence on the streets of or community. As we enter LGBT Pride, we must begin to understand that with the passage of marriage equality, we now must focus on issues that have been allowed to pass us by with our preoccupation with social justice for LGBT people.

There are some in our community who believe that the Center on Halsted is the root cause of the violent problems that beset our community. They point out that the Center seems to be a magnet for those disenfranchised youth that are attracted to the Boystown area. Like many of our neighbors, I believe our community is under siege—not only by mindless violence, but also irresponsible leadership.

The last time I stopped by the Center on Halsted, I was amazed to see security for the Center carrying arms. I was amazed because of all places in Chicago, I thought the Center was a weapon-free zone; if guns are required, that is what we have the police for. They are highly trained in the use of such weapons.

Clearly, the Center needs to put into action what it says it believes in—and that is to make our community a safe space for all who need it. I would like to suggest that the Center's board of directors look closely at the matter because of the message it sends which is that guns are part of the solution. Is this the message the Center needs to be promoting at this stage of our various communities' development?

It is time for the Center on Halsted to adopt a policy that refuses to except and hire any security force that requires visible guns as part of its arsenal to fight violence at the Center.

Joe Murray

Chicago


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