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.
We are already seeing volunteers from across Baltimore joining together to clean up damage.
— Stephanie (SRB) (@MayorSRB) April 28, 2015
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.
— Michael Mathes (@MichaelMathes) April 28, 2015
Rioters wreaked havoc in Baltimore last night – but this morning, volunteers are rallying together to clean up damage pic.twitter.com/qIxBVwvH8R
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 28, 2015
— M Soprano (@mjctical) April 28, 2015
— Josh Weinberger (@kitson) April 28, 2015
Local sweeps the front while looters push carts out off the side. pic.twitter.com/GCkQVztdHb
— Tom Rodgers (@TomRodgersNews) April 28, 2015
— CBS D.C. (@CBSDC) April 28, 2015
This morning Baltimore youth cleaning up their neighborhoods. pic.twitter.com/b36gJS5WZD
— Mia (@itsmjdavis) April 28, 2015
— Vanessa Herring (@VanessaWBAL) April 28, 2015
Chaos and curfews in Baltimore. As the criminals loot and set fires, people like Jason Butler show up to clean up. pic.twitter.com/pMAPW9zwao
— Gray Hall (@GrayHall6abc) April 28, 2015
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) April 28, 2015
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 28, 2015
Jeanetta Riddick in pink out here cleaning up. She worked at the CVS that burned. "What are we left with?" pic.twitter.com/lOUWbVVOTK
— Jessica Anderson ☀️ (@janders5) April 28, 2015
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) April 28, 2015
— Tru (@TruDatBlog) April 28, 2015
Clean up efforts underway at CVS intersection in Baltimore this morning. pic.twitter.com/lCgQNkjbuR
— Athena Jones (@AthenaCNN) April 28, 2015
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) April 28, 2015
— AOL.com (@AOL) April 28, 2015
H/T AOL | Illustration by Max Fleishman