Oakland business owners speak out after restaurant vandalized, looted

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Oakland restaurateurs speak out after business vandalized, looted
Tribune Tavern owners, Jana and Chris Pastena share their grief following the weekend's vandalism and looting that happened at their Oakland restaurant.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Tribune Tavern owners, Jana and Chris Pastena are picking up the pieces of broken glass and cleaning up the mess that took place inside their Oakland restaurant. Over the weekend looters stole electronic devices and alcohol.

RELATED: 'This is not Oakland': Looting suspects came from out of town, city officials say

"This is our baby, our businesses are our children. We don't have children and when they destroy these businesses they destroy a piece of us," said Jana Pastena.

After seeing images of unrest and violence in downtown Oakland, Chris Pastena ran to his restaurant to protect it. When he arrived looters were already inside.

"That window was totally taken down, so there were people coming in. When I got here, I jumped through the window and got everyone out," said Pastena who was later assaulted by one of the looters in the group.

"My heart was already broken because of what's going on so there wasn't much left, but honestly I feel numb," said Pastena.

The Pastena family is still trying to process the last three months. First, they had to close their three restaurants because of COVID-19 and now they are picking up the pieces of the unrest Oakland faced over the weekend.

They recently took down a sign from their window that read "Black Owned" after receiving threats telling Jana Pastena she is not black enough.

"My responsibly to help my black community, I want to speak about those things but I don't have time for people who want to destroy us just because they think that I'm not black or because I'm in an interracial marriage," said Jana Pastena.

But, a bright light shone through the darkness over the weekend when community members showed up outside of Tribune Tavern to help.

Oakland resident Johnathan Delong was walking by with a broom and asked the Pastenas, "How can I help?" A question that has turned into a movement.

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"That blossomed into the next day having 70 volunteers here to paint the plywood, to prime it for muralist in three city blocks," said Delong.

Muralists are now painting plywood all across downtown Oakland, beautifying storefronts that were vandalized.

"I dedicated a couple hours because they have put so much into the community," said Michael LeBlanc, Plate restaurant owner.

Jana Pastena says broken glass can be cleaned up, electronics replaced, but the real message behind these protests is what's really aching their hearts today.

"I cry for our collective souls sheltered in place for months and we are itching to get out and I'm crying for my black people who keep getting murder I cry for Mr. Floyd I cry for his family. It's a really hard time right now," said Pastena.

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