Businesses board up storefronts out of caution for potential protests

MADISON, Wis. — Several businesses along Capitol Square boarded up their storefronts in preparation of possible protests this weekend.

On Monday, the FBI warned of possible planned armed protests at all 50 State Capitols to happen Sunday.

CEO of YWCA Madison Vanessa McDowell said she is hoping any protests that happen remain peaceful but boarded up her business out of caution to protect what she and the YWCA stands for.

“With our mission to eliminate racism and empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, during this time, we really could be a target,” McDowell said. “So I really want to make sure we protect our staff, protect our residents from any danger or violence that may happen.”

McDowell said she did not board up her business during the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. She said the motives behind the protests cannot be compared.

“What happened in the summer was about racial justice. This time around, it’s more of a hate rhetoric that’s happening and a hate for people of color,” McDowell said. “We are putting this up as a precaution. This is not to take a fear stance. But as a leader I had to make a decision to protect my folks. It’s been completely out of control what we’ve seen at our nation’s capitol. I really hope things don’t get out of hand in Madison, but you never know.”

Several other downtown businesses told News 3 Now that they are choosing not to board up their storefronts, hoping that nothing happens and any protests that do happen remain peaceful.

A handful of downtown Madison businesses boarded up their storefronts out of caution for potential protests at the State Capitol this weekend.

Posted by Jamie Perez – TV Journalist on Friday, 15 January 2021

Madison’s Central Business Improvement District Executive Director Tiffany Kenney said, “Many businesses are taking steps to get ready for the potential of protests for the weekend. Some are stocking up on inventory, some are planning to be closed.”

McDowell said, “It’s really ironic and sad that we’re embarking upon Martin Luther King’s birthday on Monday and usually it’s a celebration of how far we’ve come, but in this scenario, I really am reflecting on how far we’ve gone backwards.”