LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — A 25-year-old business in Long Beach went up in flames Sunday night as riots broke out following clashes with police during largely peaceful protests against police brutality and the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officers.
“It was a numbness that came over me,” Zahalea Anderson said as she fought back tears. “It was a sense of sadness. It was a sense of, just, I’ve worked so hard for this.”
Anderson is a seventh degree black belt professor and the owner of Urban School of Self Defense, a business started by her parents Urban and Rosalie Showe.
“It’s like I’m a casualty of war, you know what I mean,” she said. “I understand what the message is about, I mean, look at me, I am a black woman, a black business owner, so I understand the struggle, I just got caught in the fire.”
Anderson was able to save some of the items from the shop, but she wasn’t sure that the business could be saved until a stranger some 2,000 miles away started a GoFundMe page after seeing the story on Twitter.
“Nobody else was doing it, basically, so I just did it,” Marie Hosep said.
Hosep is a 20-year-old college student in Michigan.
“I’ve been looking for a way to kind of put my words and my tweets into action,” she said. “I wanted to do some real world stuff to help out.”
She initially set the goal for the fundraiser at $10,000, but has since raised more than $128,000.
“I’m just really happy to help,” Hosep said. “It’s not like it was all my money that I donated, but I feel like I had a part in something good, so that makes me feel good.”
It was not immediately clear if Anderson would be able to rebuild her studio where it was or if she will be forced to rebuild in a new location, but she said she was thankful for the outpouring of support.
“You guys have no idea,” she said. “I’m so thankful and so appreciative.”