Volunteers Across the U.S. Are Uniting to Help Clean Up Cities After Nights of Protests

Many city streets and businesses are littered with broken glass and debris after protests turned violent

Protest clean up
Volunteers in Minneapolis clean up on Saturday on May 30, 2020 after a night of protests. Photo: John Autey/MediaNews Group/St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images

People across the country are uniting to clean up cities after nights of protests over racial injustice and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck.

The protests, which began earlier this week in Minneapolis, took place in over 30 cities nationwide, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, D.C., and Seattle. Some of the protests resulted in looting and vandalism as tensions and emotions ran high, with many city streets and businesses littered with broken glass and debris.

While some cities have hired cleaning crews, many have also seen hundreds of volunteers gathering to clean up their local areas.

"An army of volunteers are tackling the clean up in Center City and Rittenhouse," ABC News journalist Christie Ileto shared on Sunday morning along with a video of cleaning efforts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "The healing process has begun. Peaceful protests splintered off into violence and looting last night... this morning we're seeing the best of Philly!"

Protest clean up
People clean up a store in Los Angeles, California. VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

"My heart is lifted as I make my way through downtown with hundreds of people helping clean up our city. This is our Grand Rapids," another Twitter user shared from the Michigan city.

Meanwhile, in Buffalo, New York, volunteers gathered "just minutes after the curfew ended" to begin cleaning, according to News 4 Buffalo reporter Christy Kern.

"People are already showing up to help clean up the mess from protests in downtown Buffalo overnight," Kern shared.

In Scottsdale, Arizona, the Fashion Square mall was damaged after looters and protesters broke into the building and wreaked havoc inside. On Sunday morning, many showed up with bags and shovels to clean up the destruction.

"There are still some stories of hope out here of people coming together, people from different communities. These people are not even from Scottsdale or live in Scottsdale have come here [to help clean up]," one volunteer told Arizona Family.

Protest clean up
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles pressure sprays graffiti. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Seattle saw a similar sight after Saturday night's protests turned violent. The city's Police Department Chief Carmen Best told King 5 News that she was "totally inspired" by the community coming together Sunday morning.

“I’m totally inspired. It’s totally gratifying and so wonderful and heartening to see all of these people out here. Volunteers helping to clean up the destruction, and the graffiti, and all of the damage from last night,” Best told the outlet. “I’m really hopeful that calmer heads will prevail today and they won’t come into our beautiful city and make it look like this."

Protest clean up
Volunteers in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images
Protest clean up
People clean up damage to CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

The protests first began last week when footage of Floyd surfaced online. Derek Chauvin, the officer involved in the incident, has been fired from his post and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

Some city leaders have enforced a curfew to try and minimize violence as some clashes between police officers and protesters have turned hostile.

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