A festival in Clark County celebrated black-owned businesses Saturday, first full-scale Soko Place Festival was held at Covenant United Methodist Church in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – On Saturday, members of Deputy Matthew Yates’s family showed their support by attending a festival in Clark County that honored companies that were owned by people of African descent.

The Covenant United Methodist Church in Springfield played host to the inaugural full-scale iteration of the Soko Place Festival.

In an effort to retain as much of the money spent today inside the community as possible, local black-owned businesses and other forms of entertainment and performance were scheduled to take place throughout the day.

“We just want the communities to support black businesses, especially on the south side of Springfield,” Pastor Jawwad Love of Covenant United Methodist Church said. “We just want the communities to support black companies.”

Soko means market in Swahili.

Pastor Love had the vision of establishing a market that would unite black-owned enterprises with black culture and the black community.

According to Love, “there is a saying that the the black dollar doesn’t remain long in the black community, therefore we wanted to organize this event to make an effort to make sure that that dollar circulates throughout the community before before it travels outside of the community.”

On Saturday, Deputy Matthew Yates’ mother and uncle were also there to enjoy the event.

Otis Williams, the uncle of Deputy Yates, stated that the family felt compelled to come out because “there’s been so much pain for everyone.” “We thought it would be fun to come out today and take advantage of such a wonderful occasion. Bringing the neighborhood together, individuals knowing each other, engaging in polite conversation, and simply enjoying one another’s company.”

According to Yate’s mother, Lisa Yates, these are the kinds of activities that he enjoyed the most.

Lisa Yates stated that they would often see him out here “dancing and eating.” “He’d be stocking up on various things. This is the kind of stuff that he adores.

According to Williams, Deputy Yates would have been proud of an event like this one that lends support to the local community.

Williams stated that the purpose of a police officer’s job is to work with the community. “He was going to feel what you feel in order to make his job a little bit better for both you and him,” Williams added.

Even though Saturday’s event has come to a close, the organizers continue to encourage attendees to support local black companies throughout the year and have plans to host further markets similar to this one in the near future.

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