MINNEAPOLIS — Brandy Moore surveyed the twisted remains of what was once her clothing store, called LEVELS.
The store was burned down and looted during the protests over the killing of George Floyd, whose May 25 death in police custody sparked nationwide demonstrations over police brutality and racial injustice.
While the loss of her business was painful for Moore, it paled in comparison to the loss of Floyd’s life.
“This hurts, but watching him lose his life like that, it hurts more, it hurts more than losing my business,” Moore, who is African American, said from outside the destroyed property. “This is a sacrifice that I was willing to take — George Floyd, he’s gone, he’ll never be back again.”
Moore said she supported the peaceful protesters, and while she did not support the burning and destruction of businesses, she understood the mass frustration.
“I’m not for my people destroying our community, but we’re trying to be heard. I don't have the right to judge how others want to be heard,” she said.
After Moore’s clothing store and small recording studio were destroyed on May 30, she's been trying to pick up the pieces while also supporting the fight for justice and equality, visiting the site of the memorial where Floyd’s life ended with thousands of other peaceful demonstrators.
Traci Kerney, Moore’s cousin and business partner, echoed the sentiment.
“When I arrived to the scene and to see what was taking place, initially you feel the hurt behind what you’re witnessing,” Kerney said of the night when their store burned down.
Still, she added, “the people behind these businesses are also standing in unity with our community.”
“This is forgiven. I was just as hurt as the people that did this, so I understand,” she said.
“I have a black son, and so how do you explain to him that even when he's doing nothing, that he's still in danger?” she said. “Our youth need to know that they can grow up; our black men need to know that they can be human. What's not going to come from this is George Floyd getting up from that ground.”
The two later reopened a second clothing store they have in nearby St. Paul and watched Thursday's memorial service for Floyd from a television in their business.
“Right now, today, we’re seeing that we’re not the only ones tired of it, everybody’s coming forward, everybody’s tired of it,” Moore said. “There’s people that's tired of lying down. They’re stepping up and they’e taking a stand.”
During the service, the Rev. Al Sharpton asked mourners to stand for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck.
Moore looked on, shedding tears, wiping her eyes and shaking her head.
Kerney bowed her head, her hands clasped.
“That’s a long time, that’s a long time ” Kerney said through tears.