Downtown Chaos Leads To Neighborhood Destruction for Many Small Business Owners.

On Saturday night, Mayor Lori Lightfoot imposed a Chicago curfew from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. “until further notice” effective immediately. The Mayor’s restriction came after a peaceful afternoon protest downtown turned violent as nightfall took over the city. Rioters looted stores on State Street and set fire to several Chicago PD squad cars.

In a Saturday night press conference, Lightfoot spoke candidly about her disgust with protestors armed for battle.

“You don’t come to a peaceful protest with a bowling ball or a hammer or a shovel or a baseball bat.”        

The curfew comes on the heels of violent protest erupting across the city in reaction to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officers on May 24th. The video showing Officer killing George Floyd by putting his knee on his neck for over 9 minutes has sparked outrage around the world.

While much attention was given to establishments the Loop and River North areas of the city, looters also took their wrath out on small businesses in the neighborhoods. This comes at a time in which many of these businesses are already reeling from their doors being closed with limited operation due to COVID-19.

Saturday night destruction leads to Sunday morning board ups.

For Shawndel Brown, the owner of Dream Creations, the destruction hit too close to home as police vehicles lined the street of her business on 86th and Cottage Grove. Chicago Police took two young girls into custody for vandalizing businesses such as the DTLR, Foot Locker, and other establishments on her block steps away from her store.

“This is what we’re reduced to,” Brown says. “This is not a protest; this is not a protest.”

Two African-American girls, who Browns says look to be around 16 or 17 years of age, were taken into custody by the Chicago Police Department. Even amid chaos and potential harm to her business and livelihood, Brown still speaks with compassion for the safety of the young girls involved.

“My concern was nothing happened to them,” Brown added. “They broke the law, true, but unlike so many others, they don’t deserve to be mistreated. That’s what we were watching for, making sure nobody gets hurt.” 

Business owners who were looking to open their doors to allow customers in are now forced to board up their windows to keep looters out. If big businesses like Macy’s, CVS, and stores on the Magnificent Mile are catching a cold during a declining economy, then small business owners in the African-American community are being put on life support.

And in the midst of COVID-19, with so many small businesses already struggling to stay alive, looters pretending to be protestors are simply taking their breath away!

Anthony Ellis McGee is a freelance writer living in Chicago. Find him on social media @AEMhighproductions.

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