7/18/19 – Thursday
Today I was able to meet even more business and restaurant owners. One challenged that I faced today was going on a series of several ‘no’ answers to the coalition question. After about 2 or 3 stores I was able to fix my approach and be more open to ‘no’ answers, saying that it was okay and that I would come back. Usually on the second day that I came back they would change their mind and be more receptive to my message, and often more willing to let us leave pamphlets and posters and my relationship with them grew. I believe that because they realized that I wasn’t some random individual walking around Chinatown – rather that I was an active member in the community – they started to respect me and our coalition more.
I also learned something quite concerning. As I was discussing with many of the business owners, they shared something with me that I was never expecting.
Some liquor store owners told me about groups of what about to be 18 year old African Americans raiding their store and stealing handles of liquor at a time. They often did this in broad daylight, and took several at once. They would run off, receive no repercussions. then come back and do it again.
In other instances, stores reported have their ‘Tip” jars being robbed from the store counter. Individuals would just take the whole jar and run.
Finally, one other store reported seeing drug deals in front of a retirement home at night in a Latin community just south of Cermak road.
These issues all need to be addressed, and I will continue to work with this coalition to address this issue.