Meet the Owner

Kendra R. McNeil


(Photo credit: Doug Sims Photography)

Kendra McNeil is the founder, curator, and owner of We Are LIT. Her work focuses on creating a culture around books and developing programs around long-term, community-based literacy initiatives. She is Chief Operating Officer and Grand Rapids Neighborhood Match Fund project leader for The Black Book Exchange Box, a nonprofit organization and book exchange system dedicated to thoughtful representation of Black people in art, culture, and literature.

During January 2021, McNeil had the honor and privilege of serving as a juror for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards where she reviewed submissions of work from students in the West Central Michigan Region in the categories of journalism and novel writing. Additionally, she served as a consultant on a team put together by Calvin University to develop Common Core English language arts curriculum for K-12 students around the picture book The Undefeated.

McNeil is a proud local ambassador for the New York-based literary platform, Well-Read Black Girl, and as a former innovation news editor at Rapid Growth Media, she enjoys freelance writing about social issues around art, business, culture and community.

WATCH!: Creating a culture around books in West Michigan and beyond!

"I don't view myself merely as a bookseller, but rather as a moderator in an ongoing dialogue among readers and my community...on everything from the current sociopolitical climate to how individuals can empower one another to live their best life. These, among others, are conversations created around books and I love that as a bookseller, I help move these conversations forward."

McNeil is a former member of the board of directors for the Creative Youth Center and currently sits on the board of directors for the Grand Rapids African American  Museum.

McNeil holds a degree in legal studies from Davenport University. In addition to operating We Are LIT and The Black Book Exchange Box, she supports a team of consultants, economists, expert witnesses, forensic accountants, and fraud examiners in various business and litigation matters.

Kendra is an avid traveler and lover of books. Contact her at kendra@wearelitgr.com