“It’s smoking, and the fires and the fire engine. But I can’t believe, ‘Oh this is my store!’” she said to PRI. “And my heart was so trembling … how can this happen to me? But we’re still living, you know?”
Lyo is an integral part of the West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Windchester. Children bring them their report cards when they get good grades. She tells them one day they could be president like Barack Obama. Customers say when money is tight, Lyo will let them pay her later. When Lyo has to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas, neighbors bring her dinner.
Now some have launched a crowd funding campaign to help Lyo reopen her store. Some have come by to personally hand her checks. Still others plan to hold a benefit on behalf of Lyo.
“They call her ‘Mama,’” said Marvin Warfield, who lives nearby. “She was like a mama of the community.”
Some have reported that Korean American store owners were targeted during the rioting. There were 250 stores hit during the rioting, 50 were owned by Korean Americans. You can read comments from Jennifer Lee, a Korean American sociologist from the University of California, Irvine about the relationship between Blacks and Korean American relations on PRI.