Hundreds of volunteers clean up downtown Raleigh after looting, fires
At 4 a.m. Saturday morning, even as looting and fires were still happening in downtown Raleigh, nearly 200 volunteers had already signed up to get up early and help begin the clean-up process.Posted — Updated
By noon, nearly 450 people said they were attending the clean-up event.
Smith said, "There were about six different people on Facebook organizing clean-ups for this morning. We all discovered each other's efforts and teamed up."
Many volunteers didn't arrive empty-handed. Smith said people brought snacks, water bottles, cleaning supplies and colorful chalk to help maximize the clean-up effort.
By 11 a.m., much of the shattered glass was off the streets. Windows were boarded up. People were scrubbing graffiti off walls.
Messages of kindness, love and unity were scrawled across the sidewalk in washable chalk.
"We are all saddened and probably angry to some extent; however [rioting] is not the way to correct a wrong," said Faith Chaplin.
From protesting Saturday to volunteering Sunday
Some volunteers, like Jacquie Keller and Aryn Banks, attended the protest when it was peaceful.
Banks said when she heard of the later rioting, she decided to step up.
"I wanted to come back today to show that Raleigh is still beautiful. It’s still peaceful and that’s what I’ve experienced here. There’s lots of people helping out lifting a hand, cleaning up," she said.
Keller had also been part of the protests on Saturday, making an impact by making her voice heard. Sunday, she was making an impact in a different way--helping clean up the mess left behind by looters.
"We need the injustice to be addressed, but we also need love to prevail. And so, we stand for both of those," said Ester Thiz.
One volunteer lovingly drew a heart on the ground while speaking about unity and love. Another wore a mask that said "Be Kind."
Look for the helpers
"This is only the beginning," she said.
As the small businesses--many of whom were already facing economic hardship in the wake of COVID-19--pick up the pieces, they have hundreds of helping hands ready to offer assistance.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.