As protests over the death of George Floyd sweep the country, Black-owned businesses are putting up signs to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.
In Chicago, Illinois, majority Black neighborhoods in the South and West sides of the city were some of the hardest hit by protest-related violence and property damages, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Keanna Barber, the owner and CEO of WDB Marketing Group, printed 500 signs for black-owned businesses to show support for protestors and ask looters to leave them alone.
"I was heartbroken to see so many Black-owned businesses get looted," Barber told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Similar signs are popping up in the windows and on the boards of Black-owned businesses across the country, including in Dallas, Texas, where store owners spray painted notices on their storefront boards. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, signs saying "Local Black Owned Business. We are in this together. #JusticeforGeorge" were distributed by the city's Office of Violence Prevention, according to WISN-TV.
Critics say that these signs encourage looters to target other businesses. But Barber says the signs are mostly meant to convey solidarity. "I think, more than anything, it gives people pride, unifying them in something they can stand for," Barber said.
Black-owned businesses aren't the only businesses that are expressing support for the protests In Seattle's International District, at least 21 small businesses were damaged during the city's protests last weekend. Afterward, local artists and community members came together to help board up businesses in the area, painting murals on the boards in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Longtime International District resident Dev Kabanela, who helped organize the effort, told Business Insider that the artists chose the images "to undo the myths of separation between Black and Asian peoples."