Bob Sheldon founded Internationalist Books & Community Center in 1981 and ran the shop until his death in 1991. On the anniversary of his death, and throughout our work together, we hold dear Bob’s memory and legacy. We award the Bob Sheldon Award each year to celebrate collective resistance and groups or individuals whose work nurtures our communities and our commitments to justice and a better world.
Each year when we give the Bob Sheldon Award, we consider nominations from the community and look at what struggles and projects have been important in our region in the past year. This year as our collective discussed this decision, we knew what struggle we wanted to support and amplify.
Nationally, internationally, and here at home, this past year has been heartbreaking and inspiring as people have risen up in many ways to grieve and rage against the continued assault on black lives by policing and state violence. The Black Lives Matter movement, and all the connected struggles and resistance, are for us the obvious choice to honor and lift up through the Bob Sheldon award this year. We agreed as a collective that rather than choose any particular organizations at the exclusion of others, we would rather use this moment to reaffirm our collective’s commitment to engaging in this struggle from our many personal positions and our organization’s commitment to support and solidarity with resistance and formal and informal organizing across our region fighting white supremacist state violence, policing and prisons.
Since Internationalist’s founding, the space we maintain has been one meant to facilitate access to education and literature about political struggle and action, and to provide a home for encounter and relationship building between people committed to working together for a better world. This is the work generations of our collective have dedicated themselves to, and this mission is part of the powerful legacy of Bob Sheldon. In this spirit, we would like to use the 2015 Bob Sheldon Award as an invitation to our friends, neighbors and wider communities to have our space be a resource in continuing conversations, organizing and affinity-building around the many vitally important issues at the center of local engagement with Black Lives Matter.