MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A firefighter in Minnesota had dreamed of owning his own sports bar, and invested his life savings into opening one. On May 27th, it was looted and demolished.
Two days later, while he was on shift with the fire department, he got the call that it was burned to the ground.
KB Balla was looking forward to a spring-opening date for his newly attained sports bar called Scores. When COVID-19 hit, he was obviously forced to delay his opening. Still, the bar was primed and ready to go.
The riots following George Floyd’s death changed everything.
On May 27th, Balla was with a CNN news anchor while walking through the shattered glass and vandalized bar. Even while CNN was filming the segment, someone was inside of the Balla’s sports bar trying to steal the safe.
With tears in his eyes, Balla said to the news crew:
“I don’t know what we’re gonna do. We have worked so hard to get here.”
— kreeche (@FatherKee) May 29, 2020
The emotion was heavy in Balla’s voice, and understandably so.
He became part of the immense collateral damage that has torn through Minneapolis by way of the riots. While rioters ran through the streets looting and destroying property under the premise of injustices against the black community, a black family’s hard work was crushed.
Balla had set up a GoFundMe in hopes that he could have the money needed to pick up the proverbial pieces. In that fundraiser, Balla noted the following:
“I went to Scores yesterday and all I could do was cry. As a firefighter and public servant, I am used to saving lives and being strong, but this broke me.
The glass was broken, it was looted, and vandalized. While filming for CNN, people came in trying to steal the safe and I wondered what next?”
Still, the damage done on the 27th could have been repaired – until Balla was informed that his business was burnt to the ground on the 29th.
Balla had updated the fundraiser details and shared his heartbreak for suffering once again from the aftermath of the riots:
“I was doing my shift at the fire station this morning when I got the call that the entire building had been burnt down last night.
My heart was heavy, and I had to leave work because the emotional toll was too substantial.”
Twyana, Balla’s wife, posted a video on Facebook showing the remains of the sports bar.
Despite suffering all that loss in such a short period of time, Balla conveyed a sense of optimism from all the support he’s received:
“I know it will take some time, but we will rebuild and come back even stronger than ever. To the countless people who donated on the Go Fund Me page, sent emails of encouragement, and those praying for us and supporting us around the world, THANK YOU!”
As of the time of writing, the fundraiser has already accumulated over $268,000.
While the outpouring of generosity is wonderful, this incident sheds a light on the real harm the riots have done within Minneapolis. Balla’s sports bar wasn’t just a Target or AutoZone, or some other location in a multi-chain corporation – this was the hard work and life savings of a father, husband, firefighter, and community member.
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) May 29, 2020
What happened to him and his family as a result of the criminal acts plaguing the city has nothing to do with police brutality, anger at city officials, or perceived injustice.
His sports bar was nothing more than just another target for riotous looters and arsonists, and cannot be justified at all.
There’s no excuse at this for anymore.
While some online may clamor that these acts of vandalism, rioting, and destroying of livelihoods is justifiable – my challenge to those individuals would be to look at this man’s four children in the eyes and explain why their father’s business needed to be burned down because George Floyd died.
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