In the wake of last weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia — two Charlottesville-based streetwear companies are fighting back to further dispel the hate and bigotry that was demonstrated which led to a death of a counter protestor and injured 19 others.

Robert X Gray, educator and CEO of Dreamin Diamonds, a Charlottesville-based socially conscious streetwear brand and Will Isabelle, who runs Charlottesville-based sneaker boutique 89Till — are trying to unite their local community by launching book drives, conducting environmental awareness projects and tutoring programs, and more.

Recently meeting with Huck Magazine for an interview, here’s a few takeaways that we learned from the conversation.

…on their view of the events that occurred in Charlottesville.

Robert “Obviously we didn’t anticipate things happening to this magnitude, but it’s definitely been blowing in the city for a long time. People are tired of racism and white supremacy. It’s time for a change.”

Will “Justice will have to be done on a lot of levels, What happened in Charlottesville is just the beginning, because these people will continue to go to different places, doing what they do. We need to feel that our government protects us.”

…on gun control laws in Virgina that allow open carry of a handgun without a permit, with concealed carry legal for all permit holders – where supremacist marchers took advantage of over the weekend.

Robert “My community is on guard and in disbelief.”

Will “I just want to have a conversation, but they show up with shields, weapons and technical vests. Some of these people are the same people that protect the country. They have their own army. They move like a military unit. They have a plan, they know what they are gonna do. They destroy, they tear up everything and then they leave.”

…on being proactive after the event.

Robert “I’m about black excellence and destroying white supremacy. Educating yourself, going to school. You don’t have to protest to make a change, and don’t think just because you’re protesting you are making a change.”

Will “We can go down to the protest and fight the fight that’s been going on for a hundred years, or we can fight the good fight and directly impact the children. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it isn’t the right time for me to get hurt. That’s my main focus – being here another day.”

You can read more of the coverage directly from Huck Magazine, then after, check out Rare Panther’s exclusive “No Hate” capsule supporting the victims affected in Charlottesville.

Words by Renz Ofiaza
Staff Writer

scribbling by day, architect by night

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