We are a group of activists with a shared goal of establishing a worker-owned cafe, bookstore, and event space based on the ideals of racial-economic justice and equity in Washington, DC.
The name Bol means “to speak” in Urdu & Hindi, and at Bol we hope to create a space where voices are truly heard. Bol will set itself apart from other bookstores and cafes by adopting a cooperative business model where employees can become owners and participate in the business's operations and decision-making. Bol will provide a space for gathering, for holding events, talks, and performances.
For far too long chain cafes, slick buildings and big businesses have been transforming our historical main streets into generic food courts. The practices of these businesses produce alarming rates of income and wealth inequality and result in the eviction of neighbourhood businesses. We hope to introduce a business model that will strengthen local communities and workers. The storefront image above is a rendering but your support can make it real.
This fundraiser represents an important initial portion of our capital drive. Your support will send a powerful message to other investors and lending agencies.
Your contributions will make the difference in turning Bol into a reality, and giving us all a chance to speak up!
Mubbashir Rizvi is a hopelessly optimistic immigrant, a father, a husband, a cultural anthropologist, a believer in people’s power but skeptical of institutions of power.
Zaineb Majoka is trying to find a home in two different worlds: Pakistan and the US and so far has only managed to create a sense of community for herself and others around her. Along the way, she has dabbled in economics, human rights, grassroots initiatives, and adulting. She believes in change and constantly tries to keep her optimism alive.
Vijay is an immigrant from Chennai, India. While his professional work in IT is fulfilling, his true passion is to volunteer his time to organizations that work to improve peoples' lives. He organizes an ongoing effort to fundraise in support of social justice causes in India. He participated in campaigns to expand renters' rights and anti-wage theft and co-organized a mutual aid effort to help families pay their utility bills during the pandemic in Maryland. In 2019, he gathered data from 12 US cities on support provided by local governments to cooperatives and presented the same to elected officials in Maryland. Following that, with his friends, he began organizing a worker owned café, bookstore and event space cooperative in DC with the goal of establishing a democratic workplace that would support mutual wealth building.