Businesses come together for family of 12-year-old shooting victim

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The murder of 12-year-old Juan Lopez crushed the community. The owner of People’s Choice Kitchen teamed up with 18 other businesses to gather donations for that boy’s family.

Some of those businesses said it doesn’t feel real that a child was murdered. They want parents to pay more attention to where their kids are and what they’re doing. Rochester businesses are pleading with parents to keep a close eye on their kids.

“Talk to our children,” Jaira Santiago said, who owns Beads & Bangles by Jaira. “See where their heads at. Make sure they’re OK because if you’re not stable as a parent how can you be stable for your child?”

Sherman Dickerson, another business owner and Joseph Avenue Business Association president, says he believes social media is a driver for city violence.

“You have to know where your kid is, know who your child is around, know what type of people they’re around,” Dickerson said. “When I was growing up my mom didn’t just let me go anywhere. That’s how we have to go back.”

Alongside family, the community is searching for answers after 12-year-old Juan Lopez was shot to death Monday. The owner of Peoples Choice Kitchen, Evangela Stanley, wants his family to know they are not alone.

“What I have done was assembled like 18 different small businesses to help out,” she said. “We’re going to have tip jars to put in our shops to help collect money for families.”

Those tip jars will also help other kids in Rochester. Stanley eventually wants to get the Rochester School District involved to support other students.

“Kids can’t even play the way they used to,” Stanley added. “They’re afraid to go outside, to have fun, so the kids who are taking the right steps, staying in school, getting good grades. We want to reward them.”

Business owners alongside Stanley want more outlets for kids to be able to invest their time in.

“When I was young I had elders make sure we did something, after-school programs just to keep us busy because sometimes when we’re not busy we find trouble,” owner of Amani Couture owner Rasheeda Wallace added.

Here is a list of the Rochester businesses that will have a community tip jar if you want to donate: Salvatore’s Pizzeria, 81 Degrees, Texture Beauty Bar, Diva Defined, Sew In Cutt, DaVine Hair Designs, Entourage Beauty Bar, Amani Couture, Barbershops, Kut-N-Edge, Dickerson Barbershop, Wade and Me, Vision’s Barbershop, Beads and Bangles by Jaira, BarberLo.

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