Nadia Zamora's business was vandalized and burglarized when riots broke out following a day of protests in La Mesa on May 30.
Someone shattered her café’s front window and stole construction equipment while fires burned at two banks down the street.
“I understand the built-up frustration,” said Zamora, owner of the yet-to-be-opened Pink Rose Café.
“I understand the protests. I understand the meanings behind the protests,” she said.
Which is why Zamora never held a grudge.
“My husband and I have both experienced [racism] and it’s uncomfortable,” Zamora said.
The businesswoman said they were working inside their café when the news came down that Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three counts in the murder of George Floyd.
“We’re just very thankful that justice was served,” Zamora said.
Floyd’s murder and the controversial arrest of Amaurie Johnson at a La Mesa trolley stop ignited protests in La Mesa. Rioters eventually seized the night and two banks on Spring Street were set on fire. Windows for other businesses were shattered, including Zamora’s.
“That really took a blow to us emotionally,” she said.
Nevertheless, Zamora boarded up her café and used the wood as a canvas for art to unify the community. She organized others to paint art to display on fences surrounding the burned banks.
“Everything has been a labor of love,” she said.
There are plans to rebuild the banks. For now, fences still surround the cleared foundations. The fence around the old Union Bank displays recreated art from the movement started by Zamora. One work says, “All we need is love.”
She said her Pink Rose Café is expected to finally open May 1.