Looters can’t shatter Pinoy Biz’ bayanihan spirit in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — Some peaceful Black Lives Matter protests were overshadowed by looting and vandalism on Monday night in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, affecting small businesses — including many Filipino businesses.

Looters left behind broken, burnt storefronts throughout Van Nuys, and while windows and doors may have been shattered along this Filipino hub in Panorama City, the Filipino spirit is proving to be shatterproof.

Flor Decena came to Bagnet to open shop, only to find out vandals came to it first.

“I cleaned it earlier and then we opened shop.”

A GoFundMe account has been created by Bagnet’s owners, and it quickly raised over $1,000 from the community.

While it was originally meant to fix the damage, the owners said they will use it as a pandemic survival fund.

Just around the corner from Bagnet, another Filipino business is the victim of looting, as you can see here at this Valerio’s Bakeshop — the door here has been blown out, and unlike Bagnet, they suffered a few losses.

“They destroyed it and stole from our vault. We had sales. Of course, that saddened the owners and us employees,” said Fatima de Guzman.

The staff at Valerio’s said they’ve turned in CCTV footage to the police.

Both business establishments said they are just thankful that despite the chaos, no one was hurt as it all occurred after store hours.

The Filipinos’ Bayanihan spirit was also strong in Long Beach — where vandals and looters took over the historic pine avenue corridor on Saturday, and Romero Garcia of Romeo Chocolates decided to organize a community cleanup.

A lifelong activist, Garcia has been supportive of the peaceful protests against racism and police brutality.

His storefront suffered some minor vandalism.

While curfews in Los Angeles County remain, protests have continued.

Wednesdays’ protests in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood were mostly peaceful, as many businesses in communities like Glendale boarded up their storefronts and ramped up security, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

 

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