SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It was another night of looting and vandalism after a day of passionate and peaceful protest that had some moments of contention.
Hours later, the looting and vandalism during the George Floyd protests in downtown Sacramento shattered Elias Silhi’s business figuratively and literally.
“They got to my place and ransacked the hell out of it. Went in and they went from A to Z destroying, stealing, robbing, name it they did it,” Silhi said.
Silhi told CBS13 he lost nearly all of his food and beverage supplies and is currently boarding up his business. But his faith in humanity was quickly restored as people from across the area came to downtown Sacramento to bring back what was lost.
Volunteers from all over came to downtown Sacramento to bring back what was lost one scrub and one sweep at a time. Groups like the Midtown Association and Downtown Sacramento Partnership organized the effort.
“About 20 to 25 of them came in and everybody trying to pitch in and help us outside and inside,” Silhi said. “Cleaning all of the broken glass, the water, all of the garbage from here.”
People like Paul Quiorz and Yessenia Martinez, who all work in midtown, want to take care of the community that takes care of them.
“Last night we all came together and we said, ‘Well we should go in and help the community clean up because we haven’t been to a protest, because we have been working during all of this COVID-19 going on as well,” Martinez said.
“It’s important for us to remember that we’re just a community; just trying to live together and it’s important for us to be there for each other,” Quiorz said.
Then there are those who all met for the first time in a place they all visit.
“I don’t have an answer for anything. I don’t have an answer and just coming out to try to help. All I got is a broom,” Zeki Iscan, who lives in Elk Grove, said.
“We’re struggling right now and I feel like everyone can use some help. And I felt I should volunteer and help out,” Gurbir Goraya, who lives in Natomas, said.
It may seem like what downtown Sacramento needs is written on the wall where there are plenty of murals with words like love and peace written on them. While people say they don’t condone the looting and vandalism, the same love needs to be spread to those fighting for equality.
“A lot of people are choosing to express their anger through destruction and that unfortunate. But, it’s a byproduct of societal injustice building up,” Dagney Hollmann, a volunteer, said.
“If protest don’t get listened, then we’re going to riot. And I agree with them. But you can’t, you know, small businesses; I disagree with that,” Goraya said. “They did what they did but I’m out here to clean up and I’ll go protest with them back tonight.”
The owner of that deli says he hopes to be back up and running within two or three months. They just recently reopened to customers after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.