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Baltimore residents emerge to clean up a city trashed by violence

They’re not interested in making a scene. They’re interested in cleaning one up.


Aaron Sankin


The city of Baltimore descended into violence Monday night as mass protests sparked by the death of Freddie Gray—an African-American man who died in police custody—turned chaotic.

By late Monday, the same day as Gray’s funeral, stores had been looted, over 200 people had been arrested, police cars had been set aflame, and over a dozen police officers had been injured. Civil rights groups tried to calm the rage of Baltimore residents, while Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) declared a state of emergency.

Early Tuesday morning, however, a large group of Baltimore residents sought to counter the narrative of violence by volunteering to clean up the damage.

Many people came out on their own, but there is also a large coordinated campaign to clean up the city. One Facebook event urged residents to come out on Tuesday morning with cleaning supplies like “heavy duty trash bags, gloves, brooms, dust pans, trash cans, containers, and anything else that would help.”

Over 2,200 people have signed up to be a part of that event, and it’s not the only one. Posts on the page list other efforts by churches and community groups to get people together and repair the damage.

Community members have created an online form where people can request cleanup assistance from participating volunteers.

One commenter on the Facebook page urged people interested in cleaning up to first talk to property owners and residents.

“It is possible that what people need is taking photos of destruction for insurance claims, filling out insurance claims or bringing medicine to those whose CVS was destroyed,” wrote one Baltimore resident. “Everyone’s heart is in the right place, but please do not assume that you know what is helping. Always ask.”

This is what it looks like in Baltimore right now as residents emerge to pick up the pieces.

H/T AOL | Illustration by Max Fleishman

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