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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Making marginalized communities the priority: Loudmouth Bookstore

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“Loudmouth is a bookstore that uplifts the work of marginalized authors and highlights banned books. Everything you see in here was hand selected by me. It is all for, by or about marginalized persons,” said Loudmouth Bookstore owner Leah Johnson.

The independent bookstore opened this year to cater to the community and counteract recent book bans.

“Earlier this year, we had a wave of anti LGBTIA legislation in the state like we’ve never seen before,” said Johnson “It directly coincided with a nationwide rise in book banning, and I had a dream of owning a bookstore the same way any nerd dreams of owning a bookstore; but it felt urgent this year in a particular way that it hadn’t ever before to have a space that was curated with an eye towards these books that people were so afraid of.”

The top selling book at the independent bookstore is Johnson’s own “Ellie Engle Saves Herself.” The other most highly sought-after books are “The Forest Demands its Dues” by Kosoko Jackson and “Somebody’s Daughter” by Ashley C. Ford. All these books are written by Black queer writers.

Johnson was also driven to open Loudmouth after noticing the demand for more independent bookstores here in Indianapolis.

“We went a long time in Indianapolis where we didn’t have very many independent bookstores, especially not general interest independent bookstores that sold exclusively new books,” said Johnson. “Emma Straub who owns Books Are Magic in Brooklyn says that ‘A neighborhood without an independent bookstore is like a body without a heart,’ and I am of that mind as well. I think a community is better when people have access to books and where literacy and stories are a priority.”

Johnson says the sole focus of her bookstore is the interest of marginalized people. The people are not an afterthought, they are the priority.

To learn more about Loudmouth Bookstore, visit www.loudmouthindy.com. The store’s hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Loudmouth is located at 212 E. 16th St.

Contact staff writer Braxton Babb at (317) 762-7854. Follow her on Twitter @BLIEVESHEWRITES.For more news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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