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'Protect us too' | Black-owned small business spared riot damage after posting supportive signs

"It's imperative to come together now and show unity because any more division will not help anybody," Uchennaya Obga said.

Boarded businesses plague East Houston Street as the stores continue to pick up the pieces from this weekend's events.

Its no secret, this block took a hit. But just around the corner, things are different.

Uchennaya Obga and his wife own a public relations firm on Broadway.

"As a black man and a business owner of course I want to protect my business," he said. "But of course when I walk around, I'm still seen as a black man, not as a business owner.

On Saturday when police warned Obga and other downtown business owners of over the protest, he did one thing.

"We had this amazing poster that was created by a local artist and it says, 'rise up.'"

Propped up on their storefront window Obga and his wife had faith protesters would understand their sign. In the midst of the riots, they did.

"One of my partners he went down there on Saturday night and we actually saw people that were standing in front of our door not letting people come close to it," he said. "Saying, 'hey do not break the glass, let this business go, this is a black-owned business.'"

The place went untouched so on Sunday before curfew they put a few more signs up. 

"Black-owned & small businesses matter!" one read. "Protest us too," another stated. 

No boards, no barriers, just bare honesty. It was these simple words that sent a strong message. 

It was these simple words that worked."It's imperative to come together now and show unity because any more division will not help anybody," Obga said.

As for those businesses that were damaged Obga is encouraging them to stay strong and reach out to the community for any help they may need.

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