Despite the civil unrest in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, it appears some good is taking place too. The rioting, looting, and vandalism affecting local businesses there has garnered national attention, causing the St. Louis Tea Party to realize they could make a difference for the shop owners left in the debris.

The Tea Party group created a Facebook event called “BUYcott Ferguson,” inviting people to support the local businesses in Ferguson on August 21. They hoped for 20 people to participate; but, according to tea party member Bill Hennessy, around 40 “(mostly) white people” showed up and took part in the cause.

 

The goal was to provide support – both financially and emotionally – to the small businesses that were affected the most by the violence and vandalism.

On his blog, Hennessy shared the story of a salon owner as well as a conversation he had with someone there who was surprised by the kind actions of the tea party members:

I met Dellena. Dellena owns the 911 Beauty Salon on West Florissant in Dellwood. Her landlord got foreclosed on, which meant she lost her home, just before the riots. So she moved all her inventory from her house to the store. Then the riots happened, and they took her inventory.

God bless Dellena.

I insisted on buying something–all the people in the salon were so happy and kind. She didn’t have much for white guy gray hair, but she took the time to pull together some gift bags. Then she didn’t want money, but I made her take it.

A gentleman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with. I told him “St. Louis Tea Party.”

“Tea party?” he said. “You bad boys,” and chuckled. Then he looked at me, very serious. He said, “The tea party came up here to do this?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “we don’t want to see Ferguson go south.”

He laughed. And he looked at me. Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute. When he came out of it, he was like our best friend. Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories. He admitted baseball can be like “watching grass grow.”

In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile “tea party” with what he was seeing–four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.

That moment made the whole event worthwhile.

The St. Louis Tea Party plans to go back for another BUYcott this Labor Day weekend. If you are anywhere within driving distance to Ferguson, consider taking part in this inspiring and uplifting event. It’s making a difference in the lives of people who have lost more than many of us can fathom.

Photo Credit: Bill Hennessy (Facebook)