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La Mesa businesses lift one another from the rubble after looting

Bohemian House
Posted at 9:42 PM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 02:23:19-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - Three weeks after violence ripped through La Mesa, small businesses continue supporting one another, working toward recovery.

"It broke our heart when a lot of the glass was busted," Mike Miller said. He recently moved to La Mesa with his wife, Neng, charmed by the small town feel.

The looting and destruction the night of May 30th after a rally against injustice sent a shockwave through the community.

Leslie Thomas said she watched the horror from her balcony, just a couple blocks away. "We could see the flames and everything coming up, and we didn't sleep much that night but the next morning we got up and we said, 'you know what? We live here, what can we do to fix everything?'"

That mantra reflected by hundreds who showed up that Sunday morning to help.

As Leslie walked with her husband down the street they noticed "the liquor store on the corner down there, we walked by and we were like, 'Your windows aren't blown out!' and he was like, 'Everyone who knows me, who knows that I'm part of this neighborhood came out and protected my windows and I told them to go home and they wouldn't.' But he was out there giving water to everybody [Sunday] and he didn't question why he was doing it. People were giving out free coffee."

A showing of sheer humanity.

La Mesa neighbors aren't surprised to hear that generosity is still being extended weeks later.

La Mesa Glass replaced the windows at Play It Again Sports June 11th and Bohemian House Saturday for free.

The owners of Bohemian House said they were incredibly grateful for their gift, helping them get back to business.

10News reached out to La Mesa Glass to ask how many businesses they have supported during this time and have not heard back yet.

Neighbors said even the artwork painted over plywood boards standing guard in front of many La Mesa businesses were uplifting. Words and images of hope reminded them how strong and close their community is.

"I don't think this is going to change us in any way, I actually think it's going to make us a stronger neighborhood," Thomas said, defining La Mesa Strong.

Some of the boards have come down but there are still more than a dozen businesses with plywood protecting their broken windows.