(Natural News) Flora Westbrook’s salon, Flora’s Hair Designs, had been serving her neighborhood in Minneapolis for about four decades now. That four-decade run, however, ended when the salon was burned down during the riots sparked over the death of George Floyd.
Now, more than a month and a half since she lost her salon, Westbrook is saying that the leaders and politicians have abandoned her and other business owners like her.
“I’m just left alone. I don’t have any help,” Westbrook said in an interview on Fox & Friends. “It hurts to know that I have no business. I have nothing. I don’t even have a styling chair anymore, you know.”
“I don’t have a salon anymore. It hurts.”
Official data shows that nearly 1,500 businesses in the Twin Cities were destroyed during the riots, with the total cost of the damages estimated to be at $500 million. This makes it the second most expensive riot in the United States, behind the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. (Related: Many black-owned businesses in Minneapolis were completely destroyed during George Floyd riots – do black lives really matter to leftists?)
In a bid to kickstart the recovery of the hard-hit businesses in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has now asked for financial support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This is in addition to asking President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” in the state of Minnesota.
“We need to come together to ensure Minnesotans who were victims of this destruction have access to critical infrastructure they need so they can go to the grocery store, pick up their medication, and live their lives. Together, we will rebuild,” Walz said in a statement.
If Walz’s request is approved, FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program will provide the state with grant assistance for removing debris, implementing life-saving emergency protective measures and restoring public infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has stated that she is now pushing for legislation that could help get the north side of town “back up and running.”
“We’re working on getting emergency relief funds to help rebuild for people like her and her son,” Omar said in an interview with TV station KARE 11.
In addition, Omar stated that she is working on getting anti-gentrification and displacement funds for those in the state. According to Omar, these will help make sure that businesses within the community are protected.
According to Westbrook, however, she and several other business owners have yet to receive any help from officials and lawmakers.
She aid that while she and several other small business owners already met with a host of elected officials – including Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith – shortly after her business was destroyed, they have yet to hear from them again.
“I’m wondering do they care? I have not heard anything so I just feel like I’m just left out, you know, just out in left field here,” she said.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has stated that he understood the frustration that many business owners, such as Westbrook, in the city are feeling.
In a press conference on July 6, Frey announced the creation of the Minneapolis Forward: Community Coalition to help accelerate repair and recovery efforts. He said that the coalition would rely on leadership from Twin Cities businesses, foundations and community organizations.
“The financial impacts of the unrest on top of COVID-19 are immense, and we must do everything possible to help,” he said. “That’s why we have launched the Community Now Coalition to identify strategies and resources for helping impacted business and communities get back on their feet. ”
Westbrooks, in a separate interview, said she partly blames government officials for the loss of her business. The Minneapolis Police Department, Westbrooks said, abandoned the neighborhood, while the National Guard, whose deployment she supported, arrived too late.
“We need you. We need you just like you need our votes,” Westbrooks said.