(TMU) – Volunteers have flocked to the streets of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area to help clean up the shattered glass, graffiti, and other debris left behind in the aftermath of huge protests and widespread unrest resulting from the brutal killing of George Floyd.
Residents from across Minnesota and neighboring states flooded into neighborhoods in the Twin Cities that saw some of the most massive protests and skirmishes with police to help mop and sweep affected areas, MPR News reports.
The volunteers appeared to be drawn from the same diverse demographic groups as those who took the streets throughout the week, with Black, brown, white and Muslim residents all seen participating in the collective clean up effort.
The efforts come as protests continued through the weekend, despite the cities’ declaring curfews restricting the movement of residents.
In my neighborhood. Volunteers by the dozen are cleaning up debris and broken glass along West Lake Street. But I would advise people to avoid driving in the area. It is gridlocked with cars. pic.twitter.com/aXzMtZ64Uz
— Brandt Williams (@BrandtMPR) May 30, 2020
The killing of Floyd on the night of Monday, May 25, over his alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill– and subsequent viral spread of video footage of his grisly death – turned the Twin Cities metro region into a flashpoint for long-held resentments over police brutality and racism across the United States.
Mayor Jacob Frey, who has been criticized for not using an iron-fisted approach in the first days of protest, imposed a curfew Friday night to help rein in the unrest. In a Twitter post Saturday, he wrote:
“By being out tonight & breaking the 8pm curfew, you are helping the people using crowds as cover to prey on Minneapolis & destroy community.”
Went to clean up East Lake Library this morning. Some burned books, but just a lot of mess. pic.twitter.com/2zRAqMi5Xa
— Tracy Mumford (@mumfordmumford) May 30, 2020
— Caroline Yang (@yangfoto) May 30, 2020
Minneapolis resident Marvin Applewhite is one of the many locals who has volunteered with his neighbors to go around the city to collect trash and clean up the wreckage of the past several days of unrest.
Applewhite set up a GoFundMe on Friday to help raise money for cleaning supplies including brooms, garbage bags, and other cleaning supplies, as well as food, water, refreshments and a small cash stipend to others who help. On his GoFundMe page, he wrote:
“Lots of work needs to be done and I’m willing to lead and get it done. So if there’s anything you can give for this cause will be appreciated.”
Helping cleaning up. Being a service in Minneapolis Minnesota.
Since setting up the page, generous donations from nearly 1,500 people have poured in, easily exceeding his initial $5,000 goal. As of Sunday afternoon, he has reached $46,852 in donations – nearly 10 times his original goal.
In comments left by those who contributed, one could sense support not only for Applewhite’s goal of cleaning the city but also support for the calls for justice surrounding the killing of George Floyd.
A donor named Kerry Kendall commented:
“The world is in such a bad place (racism, covid, etc) and we need people like this to put good out in the world right now. I believe the world CAN change, one person at a time.”
While donor Sharma Affeldt wrote:
“We have a lot of work to do cleaning up the Twin Cities- both literally and figuratively. Let’s all do this together- it’s past time for change.”
The collective efforts of Twin Cities residents to clean up the city following days of massive protests shows that not only are Minnesotans clamoring for justice, but they are also willing to help their community rise from the ashes of the week’s traumatic events, as well.
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