MADISON (WKOW) -- The Young Panthers, a group of recent Madison high school graduates, held an event Saturday to uplift their community by supporting Black-owned businesses.
"We're trying to build generational wealth within the black community, spending our money where we know it will come back to us," Noah Anderson, one of the organizers, said.
Black Money Matters was the message and the name of the event at Elver Park Saturday.
"Understand your power in America Black man, Black woman," Anderson said. "Understand that your money matters more right now more than everybody. Spend that money in the right place and in a few years I guarantee, watch you grow."
Anderson and Denaria Rowe, who just graduated from West High School, founded the Young Panthers, a Black Student Union.
This was their first major event, to highlight the importance of black-owned businesses.
"They didn't want anyone taking over their event, they just needed help putting it together," Nandi Bazzi with 'Events by Mayberry' said.
She was one of the sponsors, but her event planning business was also on display.
She says the expo was necessary for the local Black business community.
"We know each other are out there but, the marketing behind each others businesses, even just the support with one another, it is lacking," Bazzi said. "So an event like this is important so we can see each other, we can meet each other, we can pass business cards."
More than just raising awareness for Black-owned businesses in the area, the Young Panthers hoped to encourage a dialogue between the generations, saying there has so far been a disconnect between the youth and older groups.
"With the Young Panthers, the reason we call it the 'Young' Panthers is because we do want to connect with the youth before it is too late because there is a miscommunication between us lately," Rowe said.
While the name bares similarity to the Black Panther Party, Rowe and Anderson say they're unrelated.
They say they don't believe in violence and say looting and rioting is not a constructive way to lift up their community.