In the aftermath of the George Floyd murder,
Protests and looting occurring nightly across America are being followed by a different phenomenon the following mornings: volunteers swooping in to clean up the garbage, debris and graffiti that is often left behind.
In communities from California to Florida to Rhode Island, people are showing up with brooms, shovels and paint to help damaged businesses and neighborhoods. Like the protests, the efforts are sometimes spontaneous and sometimes highly organized.
One group of cleaner-uppers, Shannon D’Souza and five friends, drove in a caravan of three cars re the clean-up.
It’s our way of protesting, said Ms D’Souza, a 35-year-old dancer, as she painted over graffiti left on a gate in front of a market near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street.
“They support us, so we have to support them,” she said of the neighborhood businesses.
A Kroger spokeswoman said many nearby residents came out to assist in cleanup efforts, which helped the store reopen quickly.
In Minneapolis, ad hoc cleanup crews have shown up almost every morning after looting, vandalism, and even fires have occurred amid largely peaceful protests.
Some of the cleanup efforts were organized even before the damage was done. In Long Beach, south of LA, looters were still rampaging through the downtown district—causing millions of dollars in damages to an estimated 80 businesses, according to local estimates—on Sunday night when Sal Flores-Trimble created a cleanup event for the next morning on Facebook.
All of this is highly commendable—it’s good that the clean-up efforts occurred without requiring cities to do so exclusively—but something is lacking.
There’s no indication that any of today’s protesters ever joined those next day clean up efforts. Of course, the rioters and the looters create most of the mess and would interfere with any prompt cleanup efforts. But where are they those following mornings when “America cleans up?”
It’s true that the looters and rioters were absent from the Tea Party protests of the prior decade. But it’s also true that the Tea Party protesters cleaned up after themselves; there was no need of “community effort” later on.