After a two-year hiatus, the Black Expo returned to Austin College on Saturday for a day of community for many of Sherman’s African American business owners and community members. The event, which was held at the Sid Richardson Recreation Center, brought together many of the services and goods from these businesses into one location for the day.
“Today is really in honor of Black History Month and in support of our black vendors in Sherman,” Black Expo assistant Demetria Jones said.
The event was originally designed to help bring attention to area African American-owned businesses, but also help build the relationship between the greater African American community and Austin College. With the return of the event, organizers said they wanted to bring it back to its roots and initial purpose.
“We wanted to bring it back and show everyone that there is unity in the community,” Expo Organizer Sherry Gillespie said.
For this year’s event, organizers chose the theme of “Grasping the Dream.” Jones said this, just like the goods and services being offered, was broad, so the meaning of the theme varied for the people who were there for the event.
“They are all grasping their own dream,” she said. “I do not care what they are selling or doing, it is all grasping that dream.”
Among those in attendance for the event was Charles Brown, who was representing Wilson N. Jones Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Program and giving out information on the services it offers.
“What we are trying to do is get information on what help we have to offer across cultural lines,” he said.
With the event, Brown said he was happy to see it be successful and bring out a crowd on the weekend. By bringing together the various parts of the African American community of Sherman, Brown said he felt there could be renewed strength through community and solidarity. This holds true through all the different groups and races that call Sherman home, he said.
“This brings community cohesiveness,” Brown said. “Despite out differences, we are strong together. With what we have to offer, both individually and collectively, we can bring a brighter light to Sherman.”
Daron Holland, owner of Holland Logos, was giving out T-shirts and other promotional materials at his booth Saturday. Holland said he created many of the designs and signage for the event.
“We did it almost at cost so they could put money in the till and get bigger and bigger next year,” he said.
Holland said this was the second expo that he has attended, and he was happy to see its return this year.
“This is important because a lot of the minority-owned businesses are able to highlight their goods and what they have to offer the community,” he said.