Just two weeks ago, the world watched in shock as the protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd while in police custody turned violent, destroying more than 50 businesses in a once vibrant, multicultural neighborhood.
Now sights of boarded windows and doors, many with graffiti, is a common sight on Lake Street, where many of the business owners are Black, Latino, and African. Stores and restaurants that did not suffer heavy damage are still open.
According to a survey of property damage done by the Star Tribune, nearly 1,000 commercial properties were damaged, 52 businesses were completely destroyed, and 30 other locations sustained severe damage.
The Star Tribune also states, “Owners and insurance experts estimate the costs of the damage could exceed $500 million. That would make the Twin Cities riots the second-costliest civil disturbance in U.S. history, trailing only those in Los Angeles in 1992, which were also sparked by racial tensions with police and had $1.4 billion in damages in today’s dollars.”
Community Pulling Together
At a small gathering of several state senators and business owners affected by the riots and looting on June 9, on the sidewalk next to the burnt down Minnehaha Lake Wine & Spirits on East Lake Street, Steve Krause, the owner told the crowd, “I’ve been here 33 years. It is our intention to rebuild, we obviously need help.”
Krause says that he can’t do it alone. “By myself, a liquor store in the community that doesn’t enjoy economic vibrancy, and with a community that looks like this, there’s no point in rebuilding a liquor store. We need the commitment of other space holders and with your support to come back.”
Mike Shoff, the owner of Shoff Chiropractic, also lost everything in the fire. He bought his clinic 28 years ago from another chiropractor who had been in the area for 40 years. He said that “without the help of the city, state, and federal, that the recovery is going to be very difficult. It’s still going to be a 10-year process.”
The teenage granddaughter of La Alborada Market broke down while speaking. “It’s really sad and frustrating seeing this community being destroyed when I grew up here, and just seeing how beautiful it was, and destroyed.”
“This is just really unfair. Just because people are being racist toward people of color, and it’s not her fault. This is really sad and frustrating. My grandparents are old. When they were little, they grew up with no food, no clothes. And just seeing their business destroyed, and thank God we could get through this.”
At the Hennepin Healthcare East Lake Clinic, volunteers prepared bags of essential items and food donated by the community and Liberty Diversified.
“With all the latest events, we felt that our community was left without any immediate supply like groceries and hygiene items,” Mariela Ardemagni-Tollin, a community health worker at Hennepin Healthcare told the Epoch Times. “We felt that we needed to be here for our community to show them that our clinic, even though we are not operating right now from this location, that we are still here for them and that we will be here for them, supporting them.”
Ardemagni-Tollin said that they identified 1,600 patients who lived in the area and called those patients about the food drive. “We know there’s no grocery stores close. We’re also working hard at the clinic to meet their needs as far as medications, and where they can go and get them because there’s no pharmacies around here.”
Local resident Authur Taripp said he’s lived in the neighborhood for one year. For him, grocery shopping and getting his high blood pressure medication is harder now. “You got to go way out for grocery shopping now,” Taripp told The Epoch Times. “I supposed to get medication today, but I can’t get it because Walgreens ain’t open. It’s just hard trying getting them now.”
At the parking lot of Target, Kris Lovekeys, a volunteer with Voices From the Ashes, a nonprofit organization in the making, was setting up canned and boxed foods. “We are giving away food, clothes, medical supplies,” Lovekeys told The Epoch Times.
She said her organization began a week-and-a-half ago to give voices to the “unheard voices of Minneapolis.” They work with High Hope’s Free Kitchen to offer warm, cooked foods to the community.
Next door to Lovekeys, free hot dogs, chips, and water were being handed out by the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. “Various trades that donated the money to the Minneapolis Building Trades is sponsoring the event using the Labors semi-truck,” Kim Maher, workforce relations coordinator at Local 563 said to The Epoch Times. “It’s generally the full trades, the different unions that’s coming together today to help the community and the people here.”
“I think it’s great. It’s great to show everybody helping everybody.”