While the majority of New Yorkers calling for an end to police brutality have participated in peaceful protests, there have been a smaller number of rogue protestors defacing businesses across the city. While the anger aimed at corporations—such as Target, Cartier and Supreme—may be viewed as justifiable, in some cases, the destruction has spilled over and hurt smaller, minority-owned businesses. Though, many of the businesses' reactions we rounded up for a piece about restaurants make it clear broken windows aren't worth a life. In various parts of town, including the historically black neighborhood of Bed-Stuy, some business owners have put up signs to let the public know they are black-owned and support the Black Lives Matter movement, seemingly, in part to ward off any destruction and in passionate solidarity. But a number of minority-owned NYC businesses still suffered damages, even if was an accident. It's worth nothing though, that there are many videos circulating the internet that highlight peaceful protestors trying to stop the looting that they've found is taking away from their message, and for the most part, the protests seeking justice for unarmed black men like George Floyd who were murdered by police, have remained positive.
The artist collective known as Art Hoe Collective, an organization started by queer persons of color to provide a safe space for creatives in their community, has raised funds to support black-owned businesses. According to the group's Instagram, they've raised at least $30,000 and are asking businesses affected by looting to reach out so they can distribute the funds accordingly. Businesses that fit the bill can email firstname.lastname@example.org with documentation of the destruction.
The random destruction of minority-owned businesses or resources people of color and citizens experiencing homelessness rely on also has a negative effect. A video went viral earlier this week of a black woman named Desiree Barnes, a former Obama aide, in the East Village calling out a group of what seems to be several white men, who allegedly broke LinkNYC stations and the glass on bus shelters, among other forms of destruction in the neighborhood (in the background of moments of the video you can see B&H Dairy, a local immigrant-owned business whose windows were smashed and who have said their insurance would not cover the damages). In the video, she says, "And you are here...profiting off [expletive] our pain. You think it's okay to take down a neighborhood...you don't see corporations here. These people in this neighborhood deserve better...I'm not talking about the gentrification," pointing out that people experiencing homelessness use the LinkNYC stations to charge their phones.
Protest but "have a [expletive] plan," she says. Watch the full video below.