Cleaning up after looting at Woodland Village Plaza in Southwest Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Business owners, workers and volunteers gathered at the Woodland Village Plaza in Southwest Philadelphia on Tuesday morning to assess looting damage and board up what was left.

"I've been here 12 years, same place in the same neighborhood," said store owner Shakil Khan. "I work here, I volunteer here in the neighborhood and now I have to rebuild again from scratch. It's just kind of hard, it's heartbreaking."

A healthcare center, convenience stores and clothing stores were hit the last two nights. Firefighters also worked to put out several fires Monday morning.

"I understand the message," said Southwest Philadelphia resident Valerie. "The sadness, the heartbreak - but when you tear up where you have to live, it's stupid."

Tuesday morning Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson looked at the damage to a healthcare center, convenience stores and clothing stores within the plaza.

"It doesn't make sense for the children who need to go to the doctor to get their check-up," said Johnson. "At the end of the day, we want people to exercise their right to organize and protest but to do it peacefully in a constructive manner."

Local volunteers came to clean up because they said this is their community - their home.

"Every American has a right to protest and a form of passion under the law that's peaceful," said Orson Brown of Southwest Philadelphia. "When we see us tear down our own community, it breaks my heart."

As for a solution, Johnson said he will report back to City Council to advocate for emergency relief funds to support rebuilding the plaza.

"If we don't have a dialogue about institutional racism, if we don't have a dialogue about how we should treat one another with respect, irregardless of title, then we will be addressing this same issue in the future," said Johnson.
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