This year you helped make history. You helped Charis Books reach its milestone 40th anniversary and your generosity made this the best year yet for Charis Circle, our non-profit. In 2014, we hosted over 275 programs and events; we grew our circle of community partners, received several important grants, and celebrated our most sustainable year so far. Thank you! Thank you for seeing the beauty, value, and power of a space like Charis. Thank you for introducing your friends to Charis, for bringing your children, your parents, your students. Thank you for celebrating our birthday at events with Nicola Griffith, Sandra Lambert, and Kiese Laymon and thank you to everyone who made our birthday bash at the Marianna a fun and spirited success! Thank you most of all for doing your work in the world and sharing it with us.
Because I feel so much gratitude for the commitment, integrity, and generosity of our community, I cannot end this letter without acknowledging the deeper context in which we are closing out the year. These last few weeks have been a particularly brutal reminder of the distance between the world we envision as feminists and the world in which we live. Each day the news has offered the same message: some of us are not meant to survive long in this world.
Some days I wonder what change storytelling can bring in the face of such stark injustice? What good is speaking truth to power when power remains unchecked? How can we hold one another with compassion? How can we show up for our friends, our families, ourselves? What stories will help our children sleep better at night? What stories will help you sleep at night?
Linda Bryant co-founded Charis Books 40 years ago as a respite from a hard world. She expanded her vision when she founded our non-profit Charis Circle to ensure that Charis could continue to be a place of rest, of retreat, a place to regroup and a place to go when you have run out of ideas. We have very few public places in our culture where it is okay to come undone, where it is okay to be whole in your anger, your sadness, your shame. You already know that Charis is more than a bookstore. I've heard from so many of you throughout this last year: Charis is a place to bear witness, to celebrate your strengths and successes and to fall apart and be stitched back together. Most of all it is a place to find in the words of your forbearers, your literary ancestors, the fuel for the fire to keep going, keep learning, keep fighting.
When you make a tax-deductible donation to Charis Circle you aren't supporting direct action, you are supporting the space where activists and everyday heroes like yourselves come for resources, for sustenance, for support. You are sustaining a space that sustains those who are on the front lines fighting for a better world. By ensuring that Charis Circle exists for this generation and the next, you ensure that heartbreak and sorrow can transform from feeling and thought into strategy and action. When I look at the list of people who have already contributed to Charis Circle in 2014 I am humbled both by the generosity of our community and by the enormous power of the people who are on that list. You are world changers and path builders; leaders and thinkers and teachers and students. You live your feminism in a thousand different ways, you call it many different names, but what is clear to me is that the world is calling and you are showing up.
We don't know what the next year will bring, but we know that now more than ever we need spaces to regroup, to think clearly, to have the hardest conversations, to learn from our mistakes, to make a better plan, to mourn and grieve and fall all the way apart. If you are able to support Charis Circle as a space that offers those things for you, or support Charis Circle because you know it offers those things to someone else who needs them very much, we hope that you will consider becoming a Cornerstone Monthly Donor today. No amount is too small. Every single donation helps us be here for someone who needs a place to talk to others who will "get it," who needs a poem to get through their lunch break, or a book to help talk to their child at night. We know so many of you have already given this year and we are so grateful. If you are still making your decisions about your year-end gifts, please click the button below to make your tax-deductible donation before December 31st, 2014.
With deepest gratitude,