Halle Berry Asks Fans to Help Immigrant Store Owner Whose Business Was Burned Down Amid Protests
By Liz Calvario
Halle Berry is taking a moment to help an 81-year-old immigrant store owner who lost his Los Angeles business this week. Ned Harounian's shop in the Melrose district was robbed and looted amid the protests over police brutality. Berry took to Twitter to ask her fans to donate to Harounian's GoFundMe page if they had the means to do so.
"An immigrant business owner in his 80s had his Melrose store looted then burned, and his recently deceased wife’s jewelry stolen," Berry tweeted alongside pics of Harounian and his store. "Things are crazy right now, but I hope we can all take a minute to help this man out!! Donate if you can." The page has raised over $33,000 at press time.
An immigrant business owner in his 80s had his Melrose store looted then burned, and his recently deceased wife’s jewelry stolen. Things are crazy right now, but I hope we can all take a minute to help this man out!! Donate if you can. ❤️ https://t.co/4WSbFts9kN? pic.twitter.com/AgjqEaZjs9
"81 year old immigrant father, Ned Harounian, still grieving the recent loss of his wife, who died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, lost his livelihood when his Melrose shop was violently robbed and burned to the ground," Harounian's son, Ebbi, posted on the site. "He immigrated to the US, with his family, in 1985. For over 30 years he poured everything he had into his business and community. After the recent death of his wife, the store was not only his source of income, but also his safe haven. The L.A. Melrose community is family to him and he to them. He has been violated, ripped of his life’s work, support and community, devastating."
On Tuesday, another organizer for the GoFundMe page thanked people for their donations, writing, "It has been overwhelming seeing so many of you giving during this difficult time for us. Thank you for all of your support."
Ebbi also spoke with CNN about his father's destroyed store and his mother's possessions that were lost in the fire.
"My mom passed away about three years ago. All my mom’s jewelry and her old clothes that my dad had a connection to, it was in the store. Everything is gone. Everything is stolen," he told the news outlet.
Following the death of George Floyd -- a Minneapolis man who died after a police officer held him down by the neck with his knee for an extended period of time -- protests have been taking place all across the nation calling for justice and speaking out against police brutality. While there have been many peaceful protests, incidents of looting and damaging storefronts have been occurring in some parts of the country, with cities now implementing curfews.
Meanwhile, amid the outrage over black lives lost due to police brutality, the "Blackout Tuesday" campaign surfaced this week. The movement went viral after music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang spearheaded an initiative for the music industry with the intention of bringing about policy change through action. Now, a number of individuals, influencers, celebrities and brands have taken part in the movement.
For more information on what you can do to support Black Lives Matter, check out these helpful links below, curated by Thomas and Agyemang: