MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the silence of sunrise, the devastation’s surreal. For an entire six-mile stretch, Lake Street is a ribbon of boarded businesses and blackened rubble following violent unrest over the death of George Floyd.

“It’s very sad to see, a war zone,” Kamil Dadashev said.

Dadashev moved here 26 years ago from the former Soviet Republic. He is now saddened at what’s become of this melting pot of commerce and cultures.

“It is very unfortunate that the soul of Minnesota, the small mom and pop shops that provide employment for a lot of Minnesota, have suffered and got affected. Especially after the events of COVID-19,” Dadashev said.

Chicago and Lake is possibly the worst hit area, where store after store is burned and broke, such as what remains of a popular Chinese restaurant, nail salon and plumbing supply shop all on the same side of the street.

Allison Sharkey heads the Lake Street Council, which supports the area’s diverse collection of small businesses.

“We’ve been shocked, right away the contributions began coming in from all over the country,” Sharkey said.

When rioting ended with large stretches of Lake Street in ruins, the council created a crowd-sharing campaign tabbed “We Love Lake Street” to help raise funds for those most affected.

“At the very least they’ll have insurance deductibles to pay and for many it’s going to be much more than that,” Sharkey said.

In just the first five days after rioting began, 27,000 donors have pledged more than $2.4 million.

In addition to the growing pool of money can be seen signs of healing.

“People have started to paint positive messages on boarded up windows,” Sharkey said.

You can think of it as seed money, to help bring boards down and raise the bricks of commercial diversity.

Donations can be made via the council’s website or at givemn.org.

Checks can also be mailed to the council’s office at 919 E Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407.

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