SAN JOSE, Calif. - In San Jose, the process of moving from chaos to clean up resumed Monday, after riots erupted during demonstrations against police brutality.
“What we’re seeing now is the power of our city to leverage the great energy and spirit of our community,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, (D) San Jose, outside City Hall.
Around 10 a.m., 87 volunteers lined up, signed up with Beautify-SJ, and then headed out. Armed with spray bottles and Brillo pads, they applied elbow grease to try and erase the eyesore of civil disobedience turned riotous, in the downtown area.
“I just wanna be a part of something that can really help with what’s going on with our community,” said Anna Nguyen, a volunteer to came to town from Santa Clara.
The larger community has an open wound, caused by nights of violence and destruction. Protests denouncing the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police have been coopted by extremists. For the past few nights, violent clashes with law enforcement, as parts of San Jose were set fire.
“This is really the community rising up to say, we’re gonna take our city back for ourselves. And we’re not gonna allow people to use a peaceful protest in this way; to damage our city,” said Liccardo.
Many volunteers say witnessing the carnage on TV prompted them to act.
“We’re just trying to do our part, and support the people who are hurting a lot right now. And do what we can to take care of our city,” said volunteer Morgan Depenbusch, who helped pick up trash with her husband in downtown.
Burned out garbage bins are being cleared, graffiti is being scrubbed away, and garbage and other large items are being picked up.
“Right now with the ah, as difficult as it’s been on the city, and everybody else, I feel like I’ve got to do something to help,” said San Jose resident Michael Freeday, who also came to volunteer in the clean up effort.
Mayor Liccardo says clean-up teams will we out again Tuesday and Wednesday. Additionally the city curfew, from 8:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. will remain in place as he says the city has specific information about more planned looting.