‘The Coffeehouse Resistance’ in Washington Heights

Sarina Prabasi talks about writing her memoir, ‘The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times.” Prabasi had to balance the demands of her nonprofit career, her family and Buunni Coffee, an independent cafe chain she runs with her husband. Her memoir will be released April 9. (Photo by Julius Constantine Motal via The Riverdale Press)

Tiffany Moustakas of The Riverdale Press interviews Sarina Prabasi who drew inspiration for her forthcoming book on her immigrant experience from the coffee shop she owns.

In 2012, Prabasi, who was born in the Netherlands, raised in Nepal, and immigrated from Ethiopia, started Buunni Coffee in Washington with her husband Elias Gurmu. The business has since opened locations in Riverdale and Inwood.

It was at the first Buunni Coffee location Prabasi would see customers coming together to discuss issues they were passionate about.

“When people started meeting and talking right in the coffee shop, that became an interesting entry point for me,” she said.

Within two years and the opening of Buunni Coffee’s Riverdale location last year, Prabasi saw the impact the 2016 election had on the two communities she works in. So between running a small business, being a mother, and serving as the chief executive of the nonprofit WaterAid America, Prabasi found time to write “The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times,” a memoir reflecting on her own experiences in America after moving to New York City from Ethiopia.

The book comes out April 9.

What kind of political activities have patrons engaged in at Buunni Coffee? What role did her father play in the beginning stages of her memoir? And what was one of the difficult parts in writing “The Coffeehouse Resistance”? Find out at The Riverdale Press.

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