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Local businesses join fight against racism

Al's Burger Shack is among the local businesses planning events to benefit Charlottesville organizations.

Everything from bars to arcades to hair salons are banding together to support Charlottesville after deadly protests swept the city earlier this month.    

Several local businesses are hosting fundraisers to benefit the people of Charlottesville. Fundraisers will support the Charlottesville NAACP, the Durham Solidarity Bond Fund (to support those arrested in connection with the removal of the Confederate statue in the city), the ACLU and other organizations.    

Danny Miller, co-owner of the Baxter Bar and Arcade, said the fundraisers began to come together after his business partner texted other local owners in the area following the violence in Charlottesville.    

“What is great about this block is we always do events together,” Miller said. “You know, we’ve done like Jaws fest together, and we all know each other and we get along and we work together all the time. So, we were like, let’s do something positive together.”   

Both the Baxter and Beer Study hosted fundraising events on August 17. Other businesses have events planned in the coming weeks.    

Syd’s Hair Shop co-owner Amy-Jae Crawford said her business and Al’s Burger Shack will be hosting events on September 10.    

“We do cut-a-thons that are four hours long that we can just make so much more money than by computing by like a percentage of our day,” she said. “Our anniversary is September 4th so we are going to tie it in.”    

Miller said last Thursday’s event received a lot of social media traffic on Facebook.    

“Usually we make an event and slowly people were interested, but this was one of those times where you make an event and people were like sharing it and saying that they were going and were saying, ‘This was awesome, thanks for doing this,’” he said.    

Chapel Hill resident Jamie McGurk said part of the reason he came out to the event on Thursday was to support progressive causes and ideas by showing up in person.     

"I'm a free speech advocate, but it's crucial that intelligent people speak out and dismiss the misguided and toxic views of the KKK and other white supremacist groups," he said.    

McGurk also said he attended Thursday night’s events to support the businesses themselves.    

“I'm a huge fan of both Beer Study and the Baxter and appreciate their willingness to stand up — they support gay rights and hate racists — that's my team right there," he said.    

Miller said he hopes events like the one in Charlottesville never happen in Chapel Hill, but thinks the people of Chapel Hill would stand up if it did try to happen.    

 “This was off the fly and if we have to we’d love to maybe do a bigger event and really keep this going,” Miller said. “It’s awesome to see people coming out and being a part of this.”   


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