Brian Irving, truck driver, has lived in Atlanta for more than 50 years.
When he heard the news about the protests, the first thing that came to his mind was a John F. Kennedy quote.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”
The recent injustice surrounding the death of George Floyd fueled protests across the country. It all started when a Minneapolis police officer was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck. In spite of the victim’s pleas, the officer did not budge. Hence, he was charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder.
Concerned citizens and allies, angered by the injustice, marched through the streets and demanded an end to racism.
When Irving saw the aftermath of the protests, he immediately grabbed his power washer and cleaning product to wipe the graffiti away. According to CNN affiliate KTRK, Irving was seen cleaning his city around 2 a.m.
This act of concern toward his city started a spark. Come Saturday morning, dozens of volunteers gathered in downtown Atlanta to also lend a hand.
G.J. Hawkins and his wife told CNN that they were part of the protests. They said they felt good and believed that they “really did write history.” After seeing what’s left behind the protests, the couple decided to call for help in cleaning their city through social media.
“We feel like it’s our duty as Christ-followers to not only stand up for justice but to also stand up for our city,” said G.J. Hawkins. “One of the ways we get to express that is by helping to clean up and rebuilding.”
But this act of kindness didn’t only happen in Atlanta.
CNN affiliate WCCO, also reported about communities in Minneapolis uniting to restore their neighborhoods.
“Just the community coming together to beautify north Minneapolis has been amazing,” DeVonna Pittman told WCCO. “When we first got out here this morning it was devastating, but people showed up and folks came out here in droves. We can see the difference.”
At a news conference Saturday, mayor of St. Paul, Minneapolis praised the communities for rebuilding their cities.
“Across the Twin Cities yesterday, across St. Paul yesterday, we saw countless neighbors show up for each other,” Mayor Melvin Carter said. “They weren’t cleaning their cousin’s store or their uncle’s store,” he added. “They were just coming to help each other, to clean up our city.”
Executive director of the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, Felicia Perry, told WCCO that she knew her neighbors would join her in the restoration of their city.
“What you are seeing is a reflection of the work a lot of us have already been doing when we’ve been looking out for each other, when we’ve been taking care of each other, when we’ve been supporting each other’s respective work,” she said.