Channeling protest energy, a Delco street fair highlights Black business owners

Building on calls for racial justice, a teen in Media worked with local organizations to connect people with Black-owned businesses in the region.

Comic book author Reggie Byers was selling copies of his latest book, 'AFROBOY AND PUFFGIRL' at the street fair in Media. (Zachariah Hughes/WHYY)

Comic book author Reggie Byers was selling copies of his latest book, 'AFROBOY AND PUFFGIRL' at the street fair in Media. (Zachariah Hughes/WHYY)

Community groups, politicians, vendors, musicians, and families gathered in front of the Media courthouse steps Saturday for the Community Fest for Black Lives Matter. Around 100 people were on hand under the hot midday sun, with tables set up for Black business owners to connect with customers and clients.

The event in Delaware County’s seat aimed to harness the energy from recent protests for racial justice and channel it into support for Black-owned businesses in the region.

Working with the Media Borough and Unifying Group of Media, resident Senta Johnson organized the event as a way of building on recent waves of protest.

“I couldn’t sit still, I really had an urge to do something like this,” said Johnson, a recent high school graduate who plans on starting at Drexel University this fall.

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Johnson said that while attending recent demonstrations, she saw an opportunity to get more people involved with building sustainable, long-term relationships supporting Black-owned businesses.

“I’ve never seen this much of a celebration of love and this wave of empathy that I think is going through the community, the youth, and inspiring families to open that dialogue,” she said.

At a nearby table underneath a tent, illustrator and comic book author Reggie Byers was doing a brisk business selling copies of his latest book, “AFROBOY AND PUFFGIRL.”

“It’s just so funny that this particular event resonates with the type of book that I’m doing,” Byers said.

The main characters are a brother-sister duo suddenly imbued with superpowers figuring out how to be forces for good, which, according to Byers, is filled with lessons for young readers.

“Teaching all girls and boys that they have to love themselves and realize that they are powerful and that they have to pass on their good qualities to other people,” he said.

There were also local fitness businesses, artists and jewelers, with proceeds from concession sales going to the NAACP.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents Delaware County, was in attendance and made brief remarks.

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“You guys are the ones who are going to get us through,” Scanlon said to the youth and organizers. Their efforts, she said, were “making this a more perfect union where Black lives matter.”

Though some local police were there, the event had the feel of a street fair more than a protest, with kid-friendly activities in abundance, such as soap bubbles and balloon animals.

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