Community Members Lend a Helping Hand at Vandalized Sylmar Restaurant

Actor Danny Trejo asked volunteers to help Buffalo Bruce's Mercantile in a Facebook video.

Dozens of volunteers showed up to support a vandalized San Fernando Valley restaurant by helping clean up the damage Sunday.

Vivian Hartman, owner of the Sylmar cafe and barbecue restaurant Buffalo Bruce's Mercantile, arrived at work last week to find that derogatory slurs had been spray painted on walls and furniture outside.

Also vandalized was a mural painted in honor of Sophia’s Angels, the cancer charity Hartman founded after her daughter Sophia died of leukemia almost ten years ago.

“I cried to my core,” Hartman said. “It hit me in my gut.”

Community members rallied around the restaurant thanks in part to actor Danny Trejo, a Los Angeles native and friend of Hartman’s, who posted a video to his Facebook page calling on volunteers to help.

"This lady gives nothing but love in the community, she gives back every day," Trejo said in the video. "Her place was vandalized. Whoever did it, you’re a punk. But we don’t care about you, what we care about is this Sunday, we’re going to have a paint party here."

Volunteers came out in droves for the so-called paint party at Buffalo Bruce’s, located at 13661 Hubbard St., to help paint, sand and scrub away the offensive graffiti.


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"They'll tag whatever they can get away with," volunteer Gene Rickman said. "And guess what? We'll just come right behind it and erase it."

In addition to painting over the graffit, volunteers said they plan to paint a mural in honor of Hartman's daughter, Sophia.

"My community's here," Hartman said. "It's becoming really the people's place, isn't it? It's happening."

A GoFundMe campaign set up to support the Buffalo Bruce's had raised more than $2,000 by Sunday, and supporters said that some of that money had already been used to purchased security cameras for the restaurant.

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