Questions remain as city reels from weekend’s looting

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CHICAGO — As Chicago reels from this weekend’s looting, many questions remain about why it happened and what happens next.

Florence Hardy just opened ReJuve in June at the Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue.

“We had smashed windows and some of our stuff was thrown around, but not a lot of stuff was taken,” said Hardy.

The opening of the meditation and nap studio was already delayed due to the pandemic, and now she doesn’t know when she will be able to reopen.

“I think it was an opportunity that people saw,” she said. “I don’t think it had anything really to do with social climate that we’re in today. I think that people saw an opportunity to get some things they didn’t have.”

City officials said the looting was organized on social media and was fueled by outrage over a police shooting and response in Englewood that left a 20-year old man injured.

“I don’t care what justification was given for this, there is no justification for criminal behavior. Ever,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.

Now, months after the unrest following the killing of George Floyd, many businesses are boarded up once again.

“It’s not just about the property. There are livelihoods affected when this type of thing happens,” said Hardy.

University of Illinois at Chicago historian and Chicago Public Schools Board of Education member Elizabeth Todd-Breland sees some parallels between 2020 and 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..

“The three sort of main reasons for those uprisings were one, police brutality and violence. Two, unemployment and underemployment and three, lack of access to high-quality affordable housing. Unfortunately, all three of those issues are still very much with us today,” Todd-Breland said.

She said small reforms are not enough.

“People keep talking about this is a moment of a racial reckoning. I’m not seeing that reckoning happening and that reckoning needs to happen with resources behind it,” she said.

Karen Freeman-Wilson, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League said the need to address inequality is urgent.

“There’s a sense that things aren’t happening fast enough. And that’s no excuse for breaking the law,” Freeman-Wilson said. “But I also think that it’s important for those of us who are working in the community, because it’s not just government, it’s all of us, the corporate community, the community-based organizations, and philanthropic folks to really understand the speed at which we have to develop solutions to what is a long-term problem.”ReplyForwardME

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