The intersection of E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, otherwise known as the “George Floyd Square,” has become the center for Black Lives Matter and radical left protests in Minneapolis. The area is covered with numerous memorials built to honor George Floyd and other people who’ve died while interacting with law enforcement officials.
But black-owned businesses near the intersection are pleading for help, adding that the area has become a dangerous autonomous zone. Between crime spikes and BLM-inspired riots, business owners have been left to fend for themselves.
“In the fight for justice, we must not forget the fight of economic justice of (a) once-thriving community. We, business owners, know that the fight for justice doesn’t just include justice from the legal system, we must also include justice for business impacted,” the page said.
Since the death of George Floyd, Black-owned establishments have seen great revenue loss, with over 75% revenue loss to date. Business owners at 38th & Chicago even started a Go Fund Me page to try and keep their businesses afloat, writing that the 38th Street Black Business Collective has always been the “heart and center” of 38th and Chicago.
Since the murder of George Floyd, businesses in the area suffered great economic downfall and a rise in crime. Carjackings have nearly tripled in the area and catalytic converters are being stolen at high rates. There have been reporters of bullets whizzing throughout the streets, businesses, and unintended residence homes.
“There is constant gunfire day and night, through all seasons despite the belief that winter would slow crime and gunfire it has not! In fact, these Black businesses have suffered a similar fate having windows shot out from random gunfire, cars are stolen, customers, not patronizing businesses due to fear of violence in the neighborhood and throughout the city,” the page states.
The page includes the names of four businesses in the area that people can financially support, including Smoke In The Pit, Inc, a smoked meats and southern style dishes restaurant, and Dragon Wok, a South-side Minneapolis Asian eatery. The list also includes Just Turkey, one of the newest Black businesses located at George Floyd Square, and Urban Touch Boutique, a store that provides a unique and edgy fashion retail experience.
Business owners write that they feel they’ve been “the sacrificial lambs” in the city’s response to Floyd’s death, adding that the intersection has been barricaded to allow the Floyd memorial to be erected. The area has been turned into a “volatile” autonomous zone, where police and other protesters aren’t even welcome.
At one of the entrances to the area, there is a sign declaring it to be “a sacred space for community, public grief, and protest.” Further down the sign, there are specific instructions for how White people are to act and what they demand upon entering the area. It says that they should “decenter” and “come to listen, learn, mourn and witness. Remember you are here to support, not be supported.” The sign also suggests that White people should contribute to the energy of the space rather than drain it and threatens that if they see any “problematic things” in the area, then others will speak up and take the “burden off of Black folks and our siblings of color whenever appropriate.” Whatever that means.
Kim Griffin, a Minneapolis resident, shared that the situation at the memorial is “volatile” and that people who go there don’t feel a sense of inclusion. She said it’s more of a militant-type atmosphere and a sense of fear. Her nephew, Inez Wright, was gunned down within the zone last month and activists had blocked cops from responding and getting into the zone.
“Police were not allowed to get into that area; he was carried out outside of the zone of George Floyd Square. It was made clear law enforcement was not welcome to penetrate that zone, which is an atrocity because his life was taken, and I mean who knows whether or not he would have survived had things been different,” Griffin said.
Even though Officer Derek Chauvin was recently found guilty on all three charges in the death of George Floyd, police have given no timeline on when they would retake the intersection and restore safety.
Democrats are bending a knee to the unelected mob instead of helping businesses and tax-paying citizens who need the most support. It was never about fighting police brutality or “rising up against power,” but seeing how much anarchy could be caused in the name of “justice.”
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