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Charlotte Area

Weekend Rallies Include Calls To Support Black-Owned Businesses

Protests and vigils have been taking place in Charlotte this weekend in response to last week’s police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, and the shooting of officers in Dallas.

Saturday night protesters dressed in black, holding signs as they marched through uptown. The rally, named Black on Black Love, focused on unity in the black community and asking questions of what’s next.

Charlotte School of Law student Justin Tolston was among the 100 or so people there.

"Yelling in the streets just helps to raise awareness," Tolston said. "Passing laws and mobilizing large numbers of people is what really effects change."

As protesters marched down East Trade Street, they stopped at the EpiCentre to form a circle in the courtyard. One after another, people went to the middle of the circle, and spoke about improving the economic well-being of black neighborhoods.

At a community meeting Friday night in NoDa, Mason Parker encouraged the crowd to buy from black-owned businesses, including financial institutions like the First Legacy Community Credit Union. It was founded in the 1940s by and for African Americans.

Native Charlottean Tiffany Fant, the owner of a small insurance agency, says people who have their money in black-owned banks should encourage them to invest more in the community.

“Supporting a small business through grants so they can expand, and supporting a community event on an annual basis financially. So if we’re gonna put all our money here, that’s great but you need to give back,” said Fant. “We all spend our money, so put it in a place where it can support our voice.”