Bluestockings Cooperative in the Lower East Side is one of my favorite places in the city. Originally just a bookstore, the space is now also a community center and café, cooperatively worker-owned and queer, trans and sex worker run. The space seeks to empower all people and challenge oppression, and to that end offers safer sex and drug use products and trainings, hygiene kit builds, grocery and meal-kit drives. Having had worked at a bookstore, I generally don't enjoy returning to the retail environment and choose libraries as my preferred study space. However, Bluestockings (as well as Sister's Uptown Bookstore in Washington Heights), are exceptions, as I always feels comfortable and welcomed, whether or not I make a purchase. I enjoy visiting, getting a coffee, and browsing their selection of books and zines.
Some of my favorite events at Bluestockings have included when Jasbir Puar read from her book Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times in 2018, a queer critique of the liberal reconfiguration of queerness into a "homonormativity" toward nationalist and imperialist ends. More recently for the online book launch in April for "Prisons Make Us Safer": And 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration Victoria Law was joined in conversation with Mariame Kaba. Law discussed common perspectives and myths about prisons, including that the system is broken and must be reformed. Instead she argued that prisons are functioning as intended, and prison abolition and restorative justice are the ways forward. The book is an accessible resource for educators and activists alike. I always leave events at Bluestockings having learned something new and feeling empowered to turn that new knowledge into action.
The space also hosts book clubs! One focuses on education and meets the 2nd Sunday of every month. Their next meeting will be this coming Sunday, October 10th, 12:30-2:30 PM. They will be discussing Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris. The book expands the school-to-prison pipeline discussion to attend to the specificity of the criminalization of Black girls which includes social exclusion and confinement beyond jails and prisons. It is available in Gottesman Library stacks on the 3rd floor, call number LC2731 .M59 2016. The full e-book is also available via the library, link here. RSVP to register for the free event: Radical Educators Book Club