How the new movement #OurNC is creating community after the decision to host the RNC

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T-shirt designs by OurNC. Courtesy of OurNC

When local printmaker Evan Plante logged onto Facebook after the city’s recent decision to host the Republican National Convention, he was shocked to see his typically good-natured friends and neighbors involved in divisive and fruitless arguments. Upset by the negativity he was seeing across the normally supportive and openminded Charlotte community, Plante designed a shirt with the text “OurNC” combined with a “fill-in-the-blank” phrase that describes Charlotte in a positive light.

“I just really didn’t think it was healthy to be bombarded with such vitriol,” said Plante, “and wanted to come up with an idea to symbolize an optimistic and non-partisan Charlotte.”

Since the initial design took form in early July, OurNC has evolved from a simple design concept to a full-blown nonprofit community arts movement staffed by Plante, his wife Susan, and a group of volunteers. Per their mission statement, OurNC has the “simple goal to show the common thread within our communities and knit them together.”

The group hopes that these t-shirts will be a visible sign of unity and remind Charlotteans to focus on the positive values that people from all backgrounds can share, such as optimism, hope for a better future, and pride in our community.

The proceeds from all sales will be used to fund local non-partisan partner organizations that support under-served areas in the Charlotte area. The first recipient will be the Bulb, a nonprofit that provides local produce and health/wellness education to vulnerable neighborhoods in the Charlotte area. Additionally, for every shirt that is purchased, OurNC will donate another to someone who cannot afford one.

OurNC will release a new t-shirt each month with a distinct design. Anyone who has an idea can participate in the design process by posting concepts on social media with the hashtag #OURNC. You can pick up a shirt at several local boutiques throughout the Charlotte area, including Paper Skyscraper in Dilworth, CLTFind in both the Park Road and 7th Street Market locations, Green with Envy in Plaza Midwood, and Pura Vida in NoDa.

Additionally, OurNC is a lifestyle brand that strives to make people feel connected through social media, especially on platforms where many are bickering. OurNC wants people to start using the hashtag #OURNC while posting about positive experiences that make Charlotte and NC great places to live.

The OurNC team hopes to see a diverse group of OurNC tags on posts about everything from Panthers games to church events, and from front porch hangouts to Crowders Mountain hikes. 

Ultimately, OurNC aspires to help individuals feel connected with others who aspire to make Charlotte a better place and to cover the city with a wave of positivity and optimism.

As for 2020?

“Perhaps, when CNN is here and there are people both participating in and protesting the [Republican National] Convention,” Plante said, “we will also see a sea of these blue shirts and we can overwhelm the bad with good…I hope the world will see that Charlotte is a big dreaming city and we want to do great things.”

To learn more about OurNC, visit www.OurNC.org or email info@OurNC.org.

12 COMMENTS

  1. My Charlotte is ran by a bunch of idiots. Bringing the RNC should have been a no-brainer in such a GOP ran state.

  2. The White Cult of Positivity. Ya’ll are gross enablers of an oppressive system who are placated by a few food trucks and an Instagram filter. Yuck

  3. In all my years in Charlotte, this is one of the most tone deaf celebrations of paternalism toward poor people i’ve ever encountered. You want to celebrate unity in a city that fails to effectively acknowledge poor people. Even this article can’t say it..”underserved”. No..they are not served. Period. But sell your t-shirts and pretend life is good for all..oh..and toss the poor people one so you can sleep well at night. Typical Charlotte.

  4. How is it that so many otherwise intelligent and socially skilled people MISS the simplest of concepts??? Because I have a heart and follow Jesus’ teachings, I have no desire or intention of supporting or compromising with or unifying or otherwise behaving in what could be described as “optimistic” way towards a political party whose platform ONLY supports well-off white straight healthy people! That would betray every good thing about me…to wear a shirt like this and/or promote this sad, weak, dark-hearted agenda.

  5. T-shirts won’t solve long-standing structural problems, but at least these people are trying to do something with their time other than complain on-line.

  6. How hypocritical to say that this venture is to create, “an optimistic and non-partisan Charlotte.”

    I know five of the people in this piece. The author, extremely talented and above this article (by leaps and bounds) about two acquinatances of hers, two incredible human beings…whom have added a shit-ton of value to the community and are probably tired of this partisan bullshit and have decided skipping Dodge because of it, and two others who like to hear themselves speak and come up with little solution to unite the community. All of these folks, are left on the political spectrum. Either way you fall, we are all entitled to our opinions…period. No judgement zone…however, don’t try to make this sound like a “non-partisan, bring the community together” kumbaya by the Plantes.

    If this was really about non-partisanship, where were the Plantes’ “non-partisan” t-shirts when the DNC came to Charlotte? Was Charlotte only in a “positive light” when the DNC was in town? Based on the knowledge of the Plante’s political belief system, if printing these shirts is strictly because the RNC is coming to Charlotte…to buy this as a “non-partisan” act is strictly fool’s gold.

    I guess, “Our NC” is only “Inspired” and only “Optimistic” when we actually are divided.

    Congrats on the attempt to keep NC divided…Jillian, you’re better than this.

  7. The preservation of white supremacy and the constant concern for white fragility is what has gotten us where we are.

    Calls for unity ring hollow when there isn’t first a call to end the oppression.

    Folks can feel good about themselves when they buy these pithy shirts or have done thus and so with otherwise disparate groups. But have what have we done to dismantle the systems?

    I am not here to belittle anyone, but with all of our limited time, focusing on identifying and then dismantling the roots is where my time will be spent.

    Folks want to form non-profits to sale blue shirts with pithy slogans? To each their own…but don’t be surprised if folks aren’t as excited as you are to just ignore why the divisions exist in the first place…

    #OurNC misses the point and completely dismisses our very real reasons relative to why we fought hard for #NoRNCinCLT.

    This was never about us being petty. It was never about us being intolerant.

    • “#NoRNCinCLT”…yeah good luck selling anything with that slogan. LMFAO!!! Liberals are the most divisive group in modern times. Disagree with any of their agendas, then you must be a bigot…what a bunch of hypocrites.

      Stop wasting your energy, get a job and get over your “angriness”, because whether you like it or not, the RNC is coming to your doorstep.

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