By Charles Mombo
On Saturday, October 16th, the Frontline Bookstore located at 5206 S. Harper Avenue held a Customer Appreciation Day.
According to Sekou Tafari, the bookstore owner , “the Customer Appreciation Day is part of the bookstore’s ongoing bid to stay in business.” The financial challenges faced by the effects of COVID-19 and a 500% rent increased within the past 10-years necessitated the need to rally the community to wrap its arms around an establishment that has been in the community for 17-years.
The event reminded me of George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and how magic happens when an entire community rallies around to remind us what is possible when redemptive love is put into action.
Baskets of money weren’t emptied on the table and people weren’t taking coins out of their change purses as they did in the movie; but they purchased books and made multiple small donations. Free foods donated by businesses such as Trader Joe and Whole Foods Market in Hyde Park were prepared and served. There was a lot of food to go around as volunteers from near and far came in and helped in preparing, serving and cleaning-up the area.
Chicago born Nigerian-American singer, poet, singer and songwriter Ugochi Nwaogwugwu blessed the crowd with her beauty voice when she sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, often referred to as the Black National Anthem. DJ Billz (Jason Burnett) did an outstanding job! He knew how to get the crowd going and keep it going all day.
Frontline Books and Crafts is one of only two black-owned bookshops in the city.
Donation to the store’s fundraiser is at gofund.me/1b4efe5c