Kenosha Rioters Destroyed People's Livelihoods, Including an Immigrant's American Dream

Posted: Aug 29, 2020 3:40 PM

Riots have plagued Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rioters have set buildings ablaze and small businesses have been destroyed. That's exactly what happened to Sam, an Indian immigrant who owns Car Source, a family-owned car dealership in Kenosha.

Sam said he was across the street in the business center doing paperwork until 11:30 p.m. Monday when he left. Friends tried getting in contact with him to let him know his business was on fire, but Sam didn't receive their messages until the following morning because Sam's phone had been on silent.

"The last time we had a protest, it wasn't bad. I didn't expect this," Sam said. 

When he finally checked his messages around 4 or 5 a.m., he received videos showing his lot burned. He said both the fire department and police allowed his lot to burn. 

"It's awful. We built this tire-by-tire, car-by-car. It's a family business. We started off with six cars, now we have over 100 cars," Sam said. "What did we do to deserve all this? We didn't do anything."

"Kenosha used to be the safest town in the world. I used to sit in this office overnight without locking my door because it's a safe town. I've never had to worry about this," he said, clearly defeated. 

"I hope to God no one has to go through what I have to go through," Sam explained. "My family has been in tears the last 3 to 4 days because, like I said, we didn't inherit this business. We built it from the ground up."

To make matters worse, his car lot was hit again on Tuesday when rioters restarted the fires. Originally 10-15 cars on one side of the lot were salvageable. They only had windows. Sam and his crew attempted to save them but ran out of time. Curfew took effect. That's when rioters relit the fires and demolished the remaining cars. 

"This is not the America I came to. I could not even imagine," he said, looking over the lot. 

Sam said that the governor and city officials were so focused on saving the courthouse that they failed to save his business. 

"I’m a minority too. I’m a brown person. I have nothing to do with this," he said. In his eyes, both Gov. Tony Evers (D) and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian (D) are going to try to punt responsibility for the situation. 

"I've lost all, every single dime I had," Sam said, sighing.

According to a GoFundMe, over 20 families were employed at the business and 137 cars were set ablaze. 

"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," the GoFundMe account stated.