Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center

Making Worlds Bookstore and Social Center: For the City of Commoning Love

Making Worlds is a bookstore and social center that emphasizes abolitionist and climate-adapted autonomy and ecological self-determination, anti-displacement and anti-gentrification, and the affirmation of worlds imagined and made by Black, Brown, and Indigenous traditions of liberation.  

Some messages from our community imagining Making Worlds

Making Worlds Sustainable

Making Worlds is renting a spacious storefront in West Philly at South 45th Street (between Locust and Walnut streets). So far we have the following in hand:

- A five-year lease with an option to renew
-Our own and gifted funds of $20,000
-A prominent graphic artist who will be providing our logo and graphic identity pro bono
-A talented woodworker who has offered to provide designs for fixtures pro bono
-Architectural renovation drawings in hand for building a new bathroom and cafe space that have been submitted for permitting
-Contractors able to work with us according to our swift turnaround schedule
-Incorporation as a 501c3, and draft by-laws for our coop structure with workplace democracy at the center of our project.
-An application in process to the Philadelphia commerce department for an in store improvements forgivable loan
-A growing group of volunteers willing to show up to support demolition, painting the space and other projects
-Co-op members with combined 40 years book selling and entrepreneurship experience

We are working to build out the space in order to open and welcome folks this fall. 

We have received overwhelming and heartening excitement from our community and valuable preliminary skills and friendly labor from our friends to get this project rolling. This GoFundMe, however, is critical to the opening and success of Making Worlds. 

This GoFundMe, along with other grants and loans, will help with start up costs. We likely will create future crowdfunding campaigns once we are up and running for costs to sustain the first six to eight months of operations. With funds raised with this campaign we will:

- renovate the space with Black and Brown contractors/builders to make it cozy, inspiring, colorful, and welcoming $30,000
- build bookshelves with Black and Brown labor from the community with an honorable wage and procure other fixtures and furniture $12,000
- purchase a point of sale system and audio-video equipment $7,000
- purchase espresso machine and other cafe equipment $7,500
- pay local Philadelphia architect and apply for city permits, $3,500

Making Worlds Happen

Making Worlds is an ambitious and worthwhile project. We feel confident about community support and have access to the skills needed to move this project forward. We want to ensure the success of the project through sufficient funding, which is our primary obstacle.

Along with this GoFundMe we are developing proposals for funding from other conventional sources as well as events based fundraising. Together they will complement this fundraising goal and bolster the future for this project. We are also laying out plans for the development of Making Worlds through consecutive 6-month plans. The building out of the leased space has its challenges, but we feel fairly confident of its completion provided flow of funds as we have some skilled contractors and designers on our side.

We welcome and greatly appreciate any contributions to Making Worlds GoFundMe! No amount is insignificant!!

We offer the following thank you gifts for your support towards Making Worlds HAPPEN:

-A Making Worlds postcard for gifts of $15 or more (or 1+ hrs of labor)
-A Making Worlds postcard and sticker for gifts of $45 or more (or 3+ hrs of labor)
-A Making Worlds postcard, sticker, t-shirt for gifts of $150 or more (or 10+ hrs of labor)
-A Making Worlds postcard, sticker, t-shirt, and tote bag for gifts of $450 or more (or 30+ hrs of labor)
-All of the above plus 3 books of our or your choice for gifts of $900 or more (or 50+ hrs of labor)
-All of the above plus 8 books of our or your choice for gifts of $1500 or more (or 70+ hrs of labor)

A mere $10 contribution by 1.5 percent of West Philadelphians could cover the fundraising goals for this initial campaign. Nonmonetary or gifts of labor or expertise are also deeply appreciated.

To know how you could help, or to let us know if you would like to be included in our email list to receive updates on Making Worlds’ progress, drop us a line at

Why We're Making Worlds

Man-made climate crisis is already here. How we are able to understand the reality of our situation and come together now and in the coming years as Philadelphians will decide what happens to our beloved city and the world-at-large. The choice is ours: either we disintegrate and perish in a time of rising fascism or we collectively and consciously break free from the oppressive catastrophes that surround us with love, mutual care, and shared purpose. There is wisdom in a community that learns and affirms the histories and futures imagined and made by Black, Brown, and Indigenous traditions of liberation.  

The cornerstones of this future are strong, cohesive, self-determined neighborhoods built on a just and radical re-imagination of how we relate to each other and our natural and cultural worlds. We need spaces in every neighborhood where dignified people gather their resolve to organize, where healing and belonging are felt and lived, where liberatory imagination and action are innovated, and where mutual care networks and capabilities thrive. Making Worlds is a determined step in that direction.

Making Worlds Within

We come together to foster, nurture, and create an oppression-free Philly that builds on both its past histories and present capacities to heal and organize within a climate-changed future. We believe abolition, reparations, and decolonization are core to a future which is equitable, cooperative, and in which people thrive in a post-capitalist and deeply changed ecological and political landscape. 

Imagine a neighborhood space that nourishes this journey bustling with sharing, learning, and healing for collective joy and liberation. To this end Making Worlds will include:

- A powerful and timely collection of new books offered in partnership with a wide range of fierce independent publishers 
- An inspiring selection of used books to go with the new books
- A nurturing and fun offering of multicultural children's books 
- An in-house independent publishing house dedicated to publishing accessible and affordable books that amplify movements for social justice.
- Treasured creations by local social justice makers
- Rotating social justice art exhibitions
- Curated service fleas for a self-determined, climate-prepared West Philadelphia   
- Curated book, zine fairs, and print fairs 
- Cafe & social club
- Community-centered parties, conviviums, and fundraisers
- Collaborative workshops and events with community member and organizers
- Popular education & training for collective healing and self-determination
- Event space for justice organizations through a community supported model
- Philadelphia radical history exhibits
- Neighborhood and citywide radical history tours centering Black, Brown, Indigenous and Queer histories of Philadelphia
- A community-run media archive, rooted in online radio transmission for our neighborhood and our world 

Who Makes Worlds?

We are committed to building an inclusive and inspiring space for all who embody and share the principles of a better world won through grassroots, community-powered movement building. 

We are a space that centers intersectional, disability, trans, gender nonconforming, and sex-worker affirming feminisms and supports liberatory social movements. We aim to connect neighborhoods and communities facing displacement, deportation, and incarceration due to the interconnected settler colonial forces of gentrification, ethnic cleansing, borders, prisons, neoliberalism, genocide, and fascism, and within a world imperiled by capitalist-driven climate catastrophe. 

We power the project through non-hierarchy, care, cooperation, collective-based decision making, healing, and transformative justice. All members of our community are welcome and encouraged to shape our collection and programming.

Veteran booksellers and movement organizers Malav Kanuga, Mike Africa Jr., Lucy Duncan, and Sy Biswas are steering the building of this new bookstore and social center. We bring decades of experience in bookselling, community-run small business, in cooperatives, independent publishing, organizing, event and cultural programming, storytelling, education and scholarship, radio hosting, workshop facilitation in academic and social justice circles in Philadelphia, in the metropolitan region, in the wider United States, and internationally. 

Beyond this founding moment, Making Worlds will thrive on collaborations that build on community expertise, both within and outside West Philly. 

The world we want to make, as the Zapatistas say, is

“A World Where Many Worlds Fit”

So join us. . . 

We are MAKING WORLDS without prisons
We are MAKING WORLDS without police
We are MAKING WORLDS without borders
We are MAKING WORLDS without war
We are MAKING WORLDS without displacement
We are MAKING WORLDS without colonialism
We are MAKING WORLDS without white supremacy
We are MAKING WORLDS without toxic masculinity 
We are MAKING WORLDS without transphobia

We are MAKING WORLDS with restorative justice
We are MAKING WORLDS with reparations
We are MAKING WORLDS with commons
We are MAKING WORLDS with autonomy and self-determination 
We are MAKING WORLDS with freedom to move and freedom to stay
We are MAKING WORLDS with healing and well-being
We are MAKING WORLDS with dignity 
We are MAKING WORLDS with mutual aid and solidarity
We are MAKING WORLDS with all bodies 

We are MAKING WORLDS together. 

In solidarity,
Malav, Mike, Lucy, and Sy

"... We are not in the least afraid of ruins… We carry a new world here, in our hearts." 
—Buenaventura Durruti

Donations ()

  • Cat Wulff 
    • $20 
    • 4 d
  • Julie Spencer 
    • $20 
    • 9 d
  • Nancy Duncan 
    • $20 
    • 10 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 10 d
  • Lee Webster 
    • $50 
    • 10 d
See all

Fundraising team: Making Worlds Bookstore (5)

Lucy Duncan 
Philadelphia, PA
Malav Kanuga 
Team member
Michael Africa 
Team member
Nicki Kattoura 
Team member
Sy Biswas 
Team member
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