Activists urge Charlotte community to support black-owned businesses for long-term change

Updated: Jun. 2, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Activists are looking beyond the marches and protests in Charlotte, at how community members can then push for change, long-term.

Some are suggesting pouring into the local economy - specifically, into businesses owned by people of color. Some announced while marching Sunday, there are plans in the making of organizing “black out” days, or weeks, when they will urge people in the community to focus on spending money exclusively at black owned businesses

“The community is my family, because they have truly supported this store,” Orgire McCoy at Beatties Ford Hardware says.

Her store is approaching 35 years in Charlotte.

“I’m hoping and praying if it’s God’s will, he’ll bless me and this store for many more years,” McCoy says.

The hardware store is among lists of black owned businesses across the city that activists are urging people to support, hoping to bring change from the streets, to the local economy.

Related: 50 black-owned shops, restaurants and studios in Charlotte

Macfly Fresh Printing Company is still in their early years, in Camp North End.

“Every brand has a story, and every story makes us unique,” Co-founder and Creative Director Eric Ndelo says.

His company partners with local artists to screen print designs.

“We had a lot of people reach out to us on email, Instagram, asking about certain kinds of shirts they wanted a local black business to produce," Ndelo says.

He and his team are encouraged by the intentional actions people are taking to support business owners like them.

“They’re making action to it, and that’s everything," Ndelo says. "The more solidarity we have toward this cause, the more love, energy we have going toward the equal rights of black black men, black women, black people, among all other races, the better it is.”

Still, The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce urges that the added support for these businesses not be confined to moments in time, like this.

“People of color exist 365, every day of the year, and it’s important to support every day of the year,” Shante Williams says.

She says this support is part of what can come after marches and protests, to make a long-term change.

“If we don’t have a next step, we will have a next protest,” Williams says. “If we don’t have an action plan, a strategy, a unified voice, not only as the black community, not only as people of color, as an entire city, if we don’t have that next step, we’re going to be back here.”

Back at Macfly, the team has a hope that local businesses like theirs can reinvest back into the community, and this cause.

“We should be able to supply water, masks, supplies, resources for protesters or people who are standing up for the rights of the people," Ndelo says.

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