At the beginning of La Botanica, we told ourselves, “If La B can make it to five years, I know we’ll be okay.” And in a bittersweet twist of fate, we find ourselves here at five years and 3 months with all the blood, sweat, tears, and joy poured into creating an inclusive safer space in SATX. We have reached the end of our building lease and have been denied a new contract. This means that La Botanica’s doors will permanently close at the N. St. Mary’s location on October 20, 2020.
As if this year hasn’t given us all enough loss and grief, here we are delivering news that will likely shock and sadden our community.
We are not alone. Hundreds of small business owners and even higher percentages of BIPOC, womxn and queer business have been heavily impacted most recently by the global pandemic. It would be easy to say that it was all due to Covid-19, but the reality is, it’s the lack of access, resources, and equity that have led us and many others down this path. The odds have always been stacked against entrepreneurs like us, and they always will be until there is true equity.
We created La B to build community, foster creativity, and challenge the status quo. We are constantly hearing stories of how La Botanica has helped weave friendships, love, families, art, activism, and countless other bridges in communities both locally and beyond these city limits. From the beginning of this venture, we have fought every single step of the way to reclaim and demand space as a queer Latinx/Tejanx womxn and we are proud that La Botanica will go down in San Anto and Tejanx history for the impact it has made.
Some of you might be reading this with a heavy heart, and we see you. As we’ve had to break the news to our team, we have all grieved this loss and will continue to mourn. However, we want to remind every single person who has ever passed through La B, that the essence and spirit of what we created there every day & night was not because of a physical building; WE were the magic. We, the people, and community gave this building life night after night. And so, we are now pushed forward into a new and unfamiliar future. Remember that La Botanica doesn’t die when the doors close, we carry that in our hearts and mind every single day. So we challenge you: create micro La Botanica spaces for the people in your life who need community the most. Receive all people with empathy and compassion. Advocate and defend those who are marginalized and underserved. Reclaim space and shine unapologetically so that others may see your light and be inspired to do the same. And most importantly, do it all with love and understanding that we are all just humans on this earth in search of our own joy. That’s how you keep La Botanica alive.
Many of you will have questions about what’s next. And to be honest, we are not quite sure yet. What we do know is we are keeping strong faith in the journey the ancestors are guiding us on and that every time we touch the ground, we are reminded by mother earth that we exist. We don’t want to close off the possibility of La B 2.0 reopening in the future so we will keep our eyes and hearts open.
Con mucho mucho amor,
Rebel & Andrea
Featured image by Mari Hernandez