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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Boarded-Up Wicker Park Businesses Have A Message For Customers: Black Lives Matter

Two shops have temporarily stopped sales and instead are urging customers to support Black-owned businesses and organizations in Chicago.

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WICKER PARK — Wicker Park businesses were hit hard by vandals and looters over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean business owners are backing away from supporting Black Lives Matter protests across the city.

In Wicker Park and West Town, colorful messages of solidarity have been painted on boarded-up shops, calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.

The message “Black Lives Matter” is written dozens of times over, hanging in storefronts or from residential windows along Milwaukee, Damen, Ashland and North avenues and Division Street.

Asrai Garden, 1935 W. North Ave., went a step further: the shop suspended online sales through Tuesday and inspired others to do the same.

“Black community groups, organizations, the activists, that’s who we should be spotlighting right now, not Asrai Garden,” shop founder Elizabeth Cronin said.

In lieu of the online shop, Asrai Garden’s website directs customers to Black-owned Chicago businesses, such as The Silver Room and An Orange Moon. The website also encourages customers to donate to a list of organizations and nonprofits, such as My Block My Hood My City and Westside Justice Center.

Inspired by Asrai, Field & Florist, 1908 W. Division St., was also closed Thursday “in solidarity with protests against ongoing systemic oppression, anti-Black violence and white supremacy,” according to shop’s website.

The store is giving 50 percent of its profits to Chicago Community Bond Fund and, once reopened, the shop will give 20 percent of profits to Assata’s Daughters.

For a list of other Black-owned businesses and organizations you can support, click here.

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