Small businesses irreparably destroyed, lives ruined, and abject chaos engulfed Ferguson over the past few months. The shooting death of Michael Brown by former Officer Darren Wilson threw the small city outside St. Louis into turmoil.
Now, as some of the residents begin rebuilding their lives, the community finds donations, gofundme.org pages, and the “I Love Ferguson Campaign” representing the point of the lance in their effort (via CNSNews):
Abandoned by its destroyers, now forgotten by the cameras, this is Ferguson--still suffering the fallout from the rash of riots, looting, and vandalism the community endured in November after a grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, a while police officer, in the shooting death of 18-year old black teenager Michael Brown in August.
But for the 52,000 citizens of the small St. Louis suburb, many retain hope that their city can and will recover, and dozens are already pitching in to help save their town.
Bryan Fletcher, chairman of the newly created I Love Ferguson Campaign, said he clings to that hope every day. A 30-year resident of Ferguson, Fletcher said it breaks his heart to see the town he loves so scarred and struggling--so much so that he decided to do something about it.
“The image that was being portrayed around the world of Ferguson being a so-called suburban ghetto was an inaccurate portrayal of our beloved city, and several of the residents, including myself, got together and we wanted to grab the media’s attention,” Fletcher told CNSNews.com in Ferguson. “So what we did was grab, collected money at the local coffee house, and within 24 hours we raised $8,000. And we bought 3,000 of the ‘I Love Ferguson’ yard signs.”
Already, dozens of businesses have set up pages on the fundraising website gofundme.org, which currently has an entire category of entries dedicated to raising funds for Ferguson businesses. So far, nearly $575,000 has been raised from donors across the nation to help the small community get back on its feet.
Kurt Barks, owner of the Complete Auto Body and Repair in Ferguson, said his company has had to lay off four workers since the riots decimated his store on W. Florissant St., located a few blocks from where Michael Brown was shot. Business continues to be far slower than normal, and employees who work on commission are struggling to earn money with so few customers.
Even still, Barks said his business will help in whatever way possible to give back to their hurting community, even as they work to repair thousands in damages to their own building and thousands more in lost business.
“We do a lot of fundraisers for local charities,” Barks said. “We’ve always focused on North County, and now we will truly focus on the businesses that are no longer here. More so the families and the employees of those businesses.”
Even though the business owners that CNSNews.com interviewed incurred massive amounts of damage, they're still helping fellow members of their community get back on their feet. I certainly hope this community becomes stronger than ever–and that everyone can move on from this horrible event.