CHICAGO (CBS) — A Bridgeport living room is vandalized after someone with a hammer smashes a window, leaving glass everywhere. This is one of the many acts that have happened to businesses since they opened.
The owner only speaks to CBS 2’s Steven Graves, calling the attack traumatic.
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The newly opened, black-owned House of Melanin salon in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood prides itself on being a welcoming and safe space.
“I don’t even have curtains in my living room because I want people to walk around and pass by and be able to see us working here.”
But four days ago, an hour after closing at eleven o’clock, the windows of their world shattered.
“The situation has been traumatic not only for me but also for the stylists who work in my salon.”
A witness told owner Brittany Matthews that a man used a sledgehammer to smash the windows of the store near 34th and Morgan. This neighbor yelled – probably scaring the scammer off.
“That’s when she came to the living room and looked towards my window. She said her heart just broke into a million pieces.
The Chicago police came out, but Matthew’s surveillance cameras inside didn’t activate.
With the glass still on the floor and that window still closed, this landlady says she will continue to show up in this neighborhood and try to make a difference, even while feeling unwelcome at times.
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“I was literally overwhelmed with so much hate when we first set up the salon here.”
She says that last summer, neighbors warned that a black salon would wash up in the neighborhood. Census data shows that there are only three percent African Americans.
Handwritten signs hung nearby with anti-Black Lives Matter messages and false reports to the city about his permit.
“I’m like, ‘Am I making the right decision?’ because I didn’t want to put anyone in danger.
Matthews, a Roseland native, also built the space for women’s empowerment events and book bag giveaways for children.
“I just said we’re going to use that as motivation to keep going. That’s what we did, that’s when we started organizing our events and more people started coming together.
Although it is not clear if this crime is related to what she calls hatred in the community.
“This is greatness. It was put here for me, and I will continue to rise after all of this.
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Matthews says nothing was stolen, but replacing the window will cost around $3,000. Chicago police say they are still looking for the suspect.