As the West Side grappled with the looting that swept the area on Sunday, residents joined together to clean up in the aftermath and they will continue to clean up through the end of the week.
The Austin Coming Together coalition is organizing three clean-ups in Austin on June 3. Kina Collins, an Austin civil rights activist who ran against U.S. Rep. Danny Davis in the 2020 Democrat primary, put together groups of volunteers that plan to clean up the area around the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Lamon Avenue in Austin on June 3, with more clean-ups tentatively scheduled for June 4 and June 6. And another clean-up is being organized in East Garfield Park at the Westside Justice Center, 601 S. California Ave., between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. According to the flier, lunches and snacks will be provided.
ACT is planning to do three clean-ups on June 3. At 10:00 a.m., they will be cleaning around Lake St. and Laramie Ave, near By the Hand Club for Kids’ Austin location. At 12 p.m., they will be cleaning around the intersection of La Crosse and Maypole avenues. And, at 2 p.m., they will be cleaning around the intersection of Lavergne Avenue and Washington Boulevard.
Darnell Shields, ACT’s executive director, told Austin Weekly News that, while he didn’t condone the destruction of property, he understands where the anger was coming from.
“I know sometimes these things happens as a means to an end to really be able to get the attention of any and all to understand the importance and urgency of changing the inequity in our systems in how African-Americans are treated and mistreated,” he said.
But Shields stressed that community groups and residents must now take part in rebuilding and healing from the looting.
“We still live here and this is still our community and we still have to uphold what we have,” he said. “We’re going into the aftermath and we have to think about what rebuilding looks like and we all got to contribute to that. I think we need to be just as much as part of what that looks like in terms of reclaiming our community and cleaning it up.”
On May 14, ACT launched a food pantry that is open every Thursday. Shields said that, with grocery stores closed, the initiative is more important now than ever. As usual, the pantry is being held at By the Hand Kids Club, 415 N. Laramie Ave., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On June 1, Collins set up a GoogleDocs form that allows interested residents to register for the upcoming clean-ups based on their availability.
On June 2, cleanup crews went to the area around Madison Street and Kildare Avenue in West Garfield Park, but “it seems like other cleanup crews have done a really good job,” so they went to the North/Pulaski intersection in West Humboldt Park.
On June 3, they plan to cleanup the area at Washington and Lamon starting at 11:30 a.m. until around 1:30 p.m.
Interested residents can sign up for future clean-ups using this link: