A group of Black-owned businesses located at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in South Minneapolis have joined together to bring attention to and gather support for their plight at the shutdown intersection.
Calling themselves the 38th Street Black Business Collective, the group held a press conference on April 1 to advocate for themselves and call on the City of Minneapolis to offer financial assistance to help the businesses survive the shutdown. The collective includes Smoke In The Pit, Inc., Dragon Wok, Just Turkey, and Urban Touch Boutique.
Shortly after the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd in front of Cup Foods, the City closed the intersection to traffic out of public safety concerns. Since then, community members have managed and maintained the space, and it has remained closed to traffic for the last 10 months.
While joining in solidarity with the community to call on justice for Floyd, the collective maintains that the shutting down of traffic, coupled with reduced police presence and the rise in crime in the area, has led to “unintended economic downfall” for the businesses.
“As the community continues to hold space, it is imperative that decision-makers consider the economic toll that has been paid,” read the collective’s press release. “These once prospering Black businesses have seen great revenue loss, over 75% loss to date.
“To date, there has been no financial reprieve from the City of Minneapolis or the local business association. These businesses feel they have been the sacrificial lamb of the movement and while everyone agrees that whole justice for George Perry Floyd Jr. is the ultimate goal, it should not come at the cost of losing one’s livelihood especially for these Black families.
“The 38th Street Black Business Collective has been at the heart and center of 38th and Chicago (George Floyd Square) prior to the heinous murder of George Perry Floyd Jr. and desire to remain there!”
The group has set up a Go Fund Me account with the goal of raising $200,000. So far, they’ve reached over $9,000 of that goal.
The City of Minneapolis has announced that the intersection will be reopened once the trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering Floyd, has concluded.
For more information, visit the GoFundMe page.
—Information provided by the 38th Black Business Collective.