Some Logan Square businesses sustained damage from looting and vandalism as protests continue over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the persistent inequalities experienced by black Americans at the hands of police. But city officials, local groups and residents have stepped up to aid those damaged businesses.
First Ward Alderman Daniel La Spata posted that, as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2, no businesses in West Town, Logan Square or Wicker Park had set up GoFundMe campaigns to address damages. La Spata, however, shared relief initiatives for businesses from the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce and West Town Chamber of Commerce. West Town businesses can use the SSA commission’s grant to help with costs of boarding up if they have been damaged in the recent events. (SSA refers to Special Service Area, a taxing tool used to provide extra services in particular neighborhoods.)
West Town businesses can reach out to SSA Program Director Kace Wakem at KWakem@westtownchamber.org for more information or can apply for the grant here: West Town SSA Emergency Board Up Grant.
La Spata complimented the generosity of volunteers who cleaned up broken glass during a First Ward cleanup event on Monday. “Throughout the last couple days, I have seen a flood of generosity from residents, businesses and community groups. I had 100 volunteers from 1st Ward United come to my office and help clean up the community and another 100 ready to show up.”
He continued in his newsletter, “Given that events are unfolding quickly, the 1st Ward will be directing neighbors to check on their local businesses [in the] mornings this week to see if they need help cleaning up. Depending on how the next couple days unfold, we will revisit the possibility of an additional ward-wide cleanup.”
In addition, the nonprofit My Block, My Hood, My City has created a small business relief fund to support its neighborhood cleanup and ongoing efforts.
Continued protests in Logan Square have come with relatively little damage to businesses, compared to other neighborhoods, Block Club reported. In Logan Square, demonstrations against violence perpetrated by law enforcement included a peaceful protest around the Square on Monday and gatherings outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home on Wrightwood Avenue. On Monday night, groups that seemed to be separate from the protesters at the Square broke windows and looted the Foot Locker at 3401 W. Diversey Ave. and a few other stores.
Thirty-Fifth Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said he’d taken an inventory of damages in his area. “I spent the better part of this morning and afternoon surveying the 35th Ward and speaking with small business owners to assess the extent of vandalism and damage in our ward. In total, a visual street-level survey of our ward’s commercial corridors found that 17 businesses, or 2.94% of businesses located along our ward’s commercial corridors, saw vandalism or damage occur last night.”
Ramirez-Rosa’s data showed that 15% of businesses in the Diversey corridor experienced some sort of damage. The Alderman referenced multiple resources available to residents in need of assistance or who are able to volunteer.
On Tuesday, the mayor announced the creation of a small business relief fund. She said in a speech that the city would contribute “at least $10 million of funds to help support businesses that have been most harmed in recent days. The funds will be provided citywide, with an equity weighting that focuses on South and West sides.” The mayor pushed insurance companies to contribute to this fund. Her speech also highlighted promised actions to address police violence, including reforms to the Chicago Police Department, investment in mental health resources and encouragement to young people to step up as leaders.
Featured photo: Protestors demonstrate peacefully in Logan Square. Photo: Michael Dhar