(My dad and my sister, Jenny)
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Block Club Chicago Article
CBS2 Chicago News Segment
My dad is the hardest working individual I know. He is one of nine siblings and grew up in rural South Korea. With no formal education, he left his family behind and emigrated to the United States in 1985 in order to pursue the American Dream. He sacrificed everything, working tirelessly 7 days a week to establish a humble business and provide his family with a better life than he had. In a single day, his entire livelihood was destroyed by looters and vandals.
(That's me and my dad. I was a cranky baby.)
As a non-essential business, he was adversely impacted by COVID-19 when non-essential retail was forced to close in mid-March. He was eagerly awaiting June 3rd, the day Illinois was entering Phase 3, allowing these businesses to reopen. However, on May 31st, his stores were looted and we received a call from the alarm company. The metal security gate had been breached. The door and windows were shattered and multiple alarms were triggered, but they couldn’t get through to 911 dispatch, so help was not coming. My dad rushed to his business and helplessly watched from his car as large groups stole merchandise, tore everything off the walls, toppled shelves, and smashed the glass display cases and cash register. The goods which weren’t stolen were thrown to the ground and trampled on.
My husband and I drove the 12 hours straight from New York to Chicago the next morning. We had seen the escalation of events on the news, the live streams of looting and vandalism throughout the country, but now it hit very close to home. Seeing the destruction in person as we sifted through trying to salvage what remained, was nothing short of traumatic.
My dad has been rooted in the South Side of Chicago for over 35 years, employing many residents of the Bronzeville and surrounding communities. The amount of loss is devastating and far exceeds anything insurance will cover. The loss of merchandise, property damage, and costs to repair and rebuild exceed $500,000. Along with decades of hard work, his sense of security has been taken from him. He fears that he won’t be able to recover from the physical and emotional toll of seeing everything he built up senselessly destroyed, knowing no one was coming to help.
What’s given us hope are the helpers who have stepped forward during these trying times to offer a caring hand. Whether it’s strangers from the neighborhood cleaning up debris, the friends who took time off of work to pack up salvageable materials, or my dad’s employees who came in to help despite my dad having no way to pay them.
The most important thing is that my dad is home safe after this ordeal, something that can’t be said for George Floyd and the many before him. Our hearts and thoughts go out to those who have suffered discrimination, oppression, and violence. We cannot even begin to fathom what it means to be in their shoes, but we remain committed to taking action needed to bring about change.
As my family takes steps forward, we humbly ask for your assistance, no matter how small, in rebuilding my dad’s livelihood. Although it’s a long way to recovery, we hope to get there with your help.
For Verification Purposes:
1. Who you are
I'm the eldest daughter of Yong Sup Na, the owner of the small business that was vandalized and looted.
2. Where you're from
Born and raised in Chicago, I now reside in Brooklyn.
3. Your relationship to the parties you're raising funds for
Yong Sup Na is my father.
4. How the funds will be spent
Clean up has been progressing well and we've been fortunate to have several volunteers offer their help. But in order to repair and reopen we need funds to repair damage to the security gate, windows, doors, and flooring. It will also be spent on restocking inventory, re-purchasing necessary equipment such as cash registers, security cameras, shelving, and display cases that were destroyed. We hope to re-hire the employees who are now out of work due to the store closure.
Please support other small businesses that were affected by the riots:
1. Help the Chongs Englewood Store Looted and Burned
2. Innocent Chicago Small Business Destroyed and Looted
3. Innocent Boutique Destroyed and Looted
4. OK Hair Beauty
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