8 Columbus Businesses Express Support And Solidarity For Protestors

Over the weekend, businesses throughout downtown were collateral damage in the ongoing protest against police brutality. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, protests have erupted across the country, with some of the countries largest cities taking to the streets.

While law enforcement in some cities like Flint have chosen to walk in support of the protesters, the reactions by police here in Ohio have been another story. Police indiscriminately fired tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber and wooden bullets throughout the weekend, and nobody in the area was immune including U.S. House Rep. Joyce Beatty (D) and city council President Shannon Hardin.

Throughout the city, business owners woke up to smashed windows and damaged properties. But instead of demonizing the movement, some business owners chose to stand up for the protesters. With messages spray-painted on plywood, local businesses left heartfelt words for those marching to end injustice.

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So many of you have reached out in support about our windows and we thank you for that. Yes, 2 Individuals (not a mob of angry protesters) broke our windows and we’re mad. We’re mad that stories get written and told about the suffering of a business or building instead of the daily injustice and racism that exists in our community. We’re mad that we were forced to create a business policy 2 years ago regarding theft: never call police when something is stolen because the last time we called they bragged about cracking skulls and the places where they can do it w no cameras. We’re so deeply moved by all of you out there who are speaking up. What has happened over the past few days in our city is a necessary movement that must continue. What we want is for the voices, the pain and the truth to be heard. We want our leaders to demand real accountability and justice for black lives in our community. #blacklivesmatter

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Hello wonderful Seven Community! I wanted to give you an update. You may all be wondering how things are with the studio. Studio is ok. 🙂 I want you to know my view is that no matter what happens to our studio, it’s not about us or the studio. This is about giving people a voice and I stand with the black community. I do not support violence, but also understand why it has turned this way. It is not ok to destruct someone else’s property, but it is even more not ok to treat someone different due to the color of their skin, their sexual orientation or their religious belief. Seven will always take this stance. This matters that much to me. I signed a letter this morning from business owners in Columbus, asking for the city to declare racism a public health emergency and it demands that people cannot be mistreated any longer. It was a powerful letter, first started by Jenis ice cream CEO, John Lowe. I am proud to attach my name and Seven’s name to this letter. It is one way for us businesses to use our voice for impact. We also took out most things from the studio and have had it boarded up for now. We will be open again, we promise. Some things are just more important. We will stream all classes, and we hope you will join us. Sign up at livethesevenlife.com/offerings/schedule . Thank you for being the wonderful Seven Community that you are. You inspire me and it’s really important we continue to put light into the world as a community. If anyone needs to talk about any of this, I am here. Namaste now more than ever. Love, light, peace and kindness, Julie

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Paradise Garage, Sole Classics, 934 Gallery, and Seven Studios were among the businesses damaged over the weekend to express solidarity with those protesting.

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934 Gallery was built on self-expression. The expression of ideas, thoughts, beliefs, struggles, and principles. Last night, the anger and anguish of losing yet another black life to the hands of the police spilled out onto the streets of Columbus. We see this broken window not as an act of vandalism, but as an expression of anger and frustration at a failed system that seeks to silence voices that speak up against injustice. A broken window pane is nothing compared to the pain of our black and brown friends who have had their lives subjugated by systemic oppression. #blacklivesmatter . . We want to thank the residents of Milo Arts who cleaned up glass and boarded up our windows last night when we couldn’t get to the gallery due to the city-wide curfew. . . We encourage everyone to send donations to the @columbusfreedomfund, a community bail fund centered in black liberation and freedom.

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Some stores were taking precautions including closing early and boarding up, but they still made it clear that their support was fully behind the protests.

In the Short North, The Garden acted as a hub for protesters, offering them a safe place to get water and recover from pepper spray and rubber bullets.

One of the most visible signs of support came from Orange Barrel Media, who chose to display a heart and George Floyd’s name at Broad and High, making it the backdrop for most of the protests.

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In addition, several local business leaders have signed a letter asking that the City of Columbus declare racism a public health crisis. The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus has also called on the state to do the same.

“Black America woke this morning to a nightmare that seems to never end and a continued feeling of hopelessness that nothing will ever be better,” said state Rep. Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, president of the OLBC, in a statement. “Black Ohioans deserve to be heard today, tomorrow and always.”

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