The road to recovery is a bigger challenge for some areas than for others – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – A year ago, Sunday marked the height of unrest in downtown Chicago after the death of George Floyd.

Unrest was seen the night before, but peaked on the night of Saturday, May 30, 2020, with clashes between police and crowds, squad cars set on fire, many shops looted and at least two downtown stores. city ​​burned down.

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A 21h curfew was put in place by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on short notice that night and remained in effect for more than a week thereafter. The mayor said at a press conference as chaos reigned in the streets of downtown that evening: “What started as a peaceful protest has now turned into criminal behavior. We have seen these protesters hurl not only words but projectiles at our police department; bottles of water, urine and the Lord knows what else.

And as he anchored our coverage that night, CBS 2’s Jim Williams said, “It was one of the most violent days in the city of Chicago, and it takes us back, really, to the late 1960s. . “

Meanwhile, the Chicago River bridges were lifted and the National Guard was deployed the next day as large-scale unrest moved through neighborhoods across the city.

“A year ago today my businesses were looted,” said Shontee Ross.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported on Sunday, Ross’s South Side business – Grandway Lash and Nails Studio at 95th Street and Calumet Avenue – was one of many. Damage across the city rose to more than millions of dollars after unrest rocked the Chicago area that same weekend last year.

Macy’s at 111 N. State St. was ransacked, along with many stores around it. The CBS 2 cameras were there as the Chicago Sports store at 332 N. Michigan Ave. was engulfed in a raging fire; The central camera at 230 S. Wabash Ave. was also set on fire.

The same was true for many buildings and businesses in other parts of the city.

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Over the course of the next year, the Chicago police had the difficult task of sifting through hundreds of videos of social networks and surveillance cameras> to piece together who did what those nights.

Federal agents identified instigators such as Matthew Lee Rupert, who bragged about the looting and said, “Let’s start a riot” on Facebook Live.

But now, a year later, the scene in some parts of the city is a world outside of what we see downtown. From the outside, the wounds are healing – several stores like Macy’s appear to be doing business as usual and have been doing so for some time.

But for many smaller, more local businesses – especially in black and brown communities – the battle to reopen remains uphill.

“There’s no way you can look at neighborhoods like this and say the looting could have been justified,” Ross said.

Anger has now turned into acceptance. The raiders took Ross’s merchandise and she took a few steps back, but they didn’t make up her mind.

“I’m grateful that I still have the bricks and mortar available here, and there have been organizations that have helped a lot of us, but there are still great needs for small businesses that are still trying to straighten up. , “she said.” We really need the support of the neighborhoods and their people. “

As noted, the path to recovery is a bit different depending on where you are. But if you didn’t have a trained eye to spot the plywood and signs ‘for sale’ outside the businesses that were open before the pandemic and the looting, driving around town today would almost feel like a weekend. normal for Memorial Day in years past.

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And meanwhile, Ross said on a clearer note, she expects Grandway Lash and Nail to open in a few weeks at a new location at 407 E. 69th St.

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