CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Leaders of a Charlotte neighborhood are starting a conversation.
"One thing we wanted to make sure of, is that it's not just a little thing that someone can check off their list and say, 'look, I did my part,'" says David Hale, board member of the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association.
Right now, his team is selling “Black Lives Matter in Plaza Midwood” yard signs. The project may look like just a few signs across a neighborhood, but the association says this is part of a bigger movement, started after protests in Charlotte.
“One of the things we’ve learned from all of this is, not individually being a racist is not a good enough answer anymore,” Hale says. “We have to all do our part to fight against racism, and I think that’s where a lot of this comes in, is it can’t just be self betterment, it has to be a community wide engagement.”
The signs make a statement, and, they hope, start a conversation.
"It's a way to say, 'Oh, I didn't really ever have this conversation with my next door neighbor, but they have a sign up too, maybe I can bridge a gap there,' and start talking to them about some of these things, and maybe they have an idea I can get behind and start helping with," Hale says.
The signs are popular. The first order of 150 is sold.
"[We] sold out of them almost instantaneously," he says.
The signs are paired with relevant reading placed in the little free libraries, and town halls talking about race and gentrification.
But not everyone is supportive.
"They called to yell at us, and that's part of what happens, the risk you take," Hale says. "The point of this is to have a conversation. I understand if some people aren't quite comfortable with it, but I would love to talk about it...if this was all easy, we wouldn't need the signs."
The association has had other neighborhoods reach out, wanting to spread this to their areas. Plaza Midwood is placing orders for more of theirs, as interest increases.
"I think the more we talked about it as a board we realized 'Black Lives Matter' is not a political statement, it's a statement of belief," Hale says. "So it's us saying in Plaza Midwood, black lives matter to us, and nobody wanted to argue with that, that's something we could all get behind."
Hale says the profits from these signs will go toward Gen One Charlotte, a group that helps first generation students with their educations. Specifically, this money will help a student at nearby Eastway Middle School. They can be purchased here.