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'Love changes things’: Community groups to chalk the streets for change

‘...When you put love into something, things have to shift, things get shaken.’

ROANOKE, Va. – Amid recent racial tension, a local nonprofit is asking people to take to the streets with chalk in their hands and love in their hearts.

Xavier Duckett is the founder of The Humble Hustle, a nonprofit that looks for ways to empower youth. However, his latest initiative is meant for people of all ages. It’s called “Chalk Up the City with Love.”

"There's freedom in expressing yourself in art and words and being outside with different community members," Duckett said.

The event was made public on Facebook Wednesday and already close to 500 people have said they’re interested.

"A lot of people hitting the form saying they want to be a distribution site or they want to pass out water or that they want to be a photographer or videographer or that they just want to be a building that gets chalked," Duckett said.

On June 20, distribution sites will be set up around the city for people to grab chalk, snacks and water. The goal is for each person to chalk up three different locations with art, scripture or positive affirmations and then post a photo to social media using #ChalkItUpRoanoke.

"One of the cool things we're doing is we're putting hearts all around black businesses,” Duckett said.

The timing of this event isn’t a coincidence. It’s the same weekend as Juneteenth and also timely as the nation continues to grapple with social injustice for black people.

"Everybody is on social media right now and that's their way of expressing themselves and it's kind of becoming a negative..." Duckett said, “We need a shift in our community we need a shift in our social justice system we need a shift in every form and facet of the world."

It’s a positive way to draw out change in a world full of color.

"I feel like love changes things,” Duckett said, "I feel like when you put love into something, things have to shift, things get shaken."

There’s a growing list of businesses getting involved and volunteering to be chalk, water and snack distribution sites.

As of Thursday, it includes:

  • The Boys and Girls Club
  • The West End Center for Youth
  • Cultural Arts For Excellence-CAFE
  • Hmble Hstle Clothing on 11th St
  • The Humble Hustle Co (nonprofit) at the Villa Heights Rec Center
  • Refreshing Church on Williamson Rd

To learn more, click here.

About the Author:

Bridget Curran is the host of Daytime Blue Ridge. She joined the station in March 2019.