With the ongoing protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, seven times in the back by a white policeman, has left at least one Indian-American car dealer bereft, in the midst of numerous small businesses that have seen their hard-built businesses destroyed. Another Indian-origin owned business was also affected by the vandalism.
As Blake is left paralyzed from waist down and recovering in hospital, the protests continued and the violence left two protesters dead, shot by a white teenager armed with an assault rifle.
Unfortunately, vandalism accompanied the protests causing significant damage to businesses.
The destruction and deaths have led to numerous GoFundMe pages being created for victims, among them the one for the car dealership, which according to news reports suffered damage reaching around $2.5 million. The burning of the car dealership happened over two days.
Justifiably, the GoFundMe page, ‘Justice for Jacob Blake’ has been able to secure $2.1 million. And among the numerous others, ‘Downtown & Uptown Kenosha Recovery’ donations reached $91,375; ‘B&L Office Furniture Disaster Recovery’ received $47, 211; and even ‘Invest in new Kenosha media got donations totalling $15,244 — as of Sept. 1, 2020, three times more than its intended goal of $5,000. (https://www.gofundme.com/search/us/kenosha-wi-fundraising)
Yet, the GoFundMe page for the car dealership has the lowest donations received as of Sept. 1, 2020
‘Car Source’ which appears to be the only credible GoFundMe page for the car dealership has raised the least amount – $29,040 of the goal of $500,000. (www.gofundme.com/f/car-source-in-kenosha).
Created around Aug. 28, a few days after the burning down, the fundraising site says:
“HELP NEEDED!!! We, at Car Source, are a victim of Riots, here, in Kenosha, WI and lost 137 cars and our facility this week. We are a family business employed over 20 families who worked on the daily basis. Car Source, a family business burnt down to ashes in a matter of hours due to riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Our insurance company is finding their way out so they don’t have to pay for all this arson that took place Monday early morning and 2nd time early Tuesday morning. Please help share this GofundMe page “Car Source in Kenosha” and help us try to get back onto our feet.
“Everybody watched it burn to ashes. Nobody did nothing about it – nothing,” Anmol Khindri, a member of the family owning Car Source, is quoted saying in Kenoshanews.com.
Kenoshanews.com reported a neighbor, Josie Rodriguez, saying she saw a mob descending into the lot and begin smashing cars. She called 9-1-1, and as she watched a car was set ablaze leading to an explosion and the fire spreading to the other cars, Kenoshanews.com reported. “I’m talking flames licking the sky. They were so big. And you hear, ‘boom, boom, boom’ – explosion, after explosion, after explosion,” she added.
Indo Asian News Service, quoted another family member of the car dealership speaking to the conservative web site, The Federalist, about his family, which he said came from India and built the business from ground up starting with just 6 cars to one with 100 cars. Pictures of the devastation appearing in news reports show a car lot littered with scores of burnt out cars.
Another Indian-American business that suffered losses, was that of Ravi Gupta, who co-owns a Citgo gas station on 30th Ave. in Kenosha which he purchased in 2016. Gupta speaking to Kenosha News, said the destruction, like that of Car Source, took place over two days, Aug. 23 and 24 in the early morning hours. From his video-camera surveillance, Gupta saw a man break into his store and stole some goods. Following that, three people came in, broke the window and also looted the store.