Lansing, MI (Great Lakes News) – When protests in downtown Lansing last weekend began to turn violent, State Rep. Sarah Anthony in conjunction with Downtown INC., took to social media to promote a cleanup effort planned for Monday morning.
It was estimated that more than 100 volunteers from the Lansing area and other parts of Michigan worked from 5 a.m. until the early afternoon to clean up broken glass, graffiti, and litter off of Washington and Michigan avenues.
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Lansing resident Joseph Cecil, one of the many volunteers who took part, expressed great pride in working to restore the city.
Cecil only attended the cleanup for an hour and a half, but said that he saw a massive amount of people there, and left feeling greatly encouraged by the togetherness of the community.
Excitement characterized the community of volunteers according to Cecil, who,—despite still living under lock down measures,—laughed, waved, and chatted with one another.
“There was just people from all over the place that showed up and wanted to love on the city, love on their community, and clean up what had happened,” Cecil said.
“What began as a response to the damage became just a downtown beautification project nearly.”
Volunteers from church groups across the city and many random volunteers that came in varying group sizes working together represented the community that he saw while participating in the cleanup.
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“We were really overwhelmed by how many folks showed up, and not just the individuals that I invited by word spread in less than 12 hours of promoting that we were going to do this initiative,” Anthony said.
Anthony attributed her desire to help facilitate the event to her love for Lansing. As a member of the legislature and a voice for the community, she felt that this was an important time to show leadership outside of her legislative role.
“Sometimes it’s important to show leadership by picking up a broom or mobilizing people, or, you know, framing an issue in a way that maybe convicts people, maybe inspires people, maybe just makes people think and reflect on, you know, their own place in the world,” Anthony said.
Another state representative that demonstrated leadership and also one of the many volunteers from outside of Lansing, was state Rep. Ben Frederick. He drove down from Owosso that morning to aid in the cleanup.
Like many others, Frederick discovered the initiative through Rep. Anthony’s social media.
“I just was delighted at the opportunity to be able to support the Lansing residents in not only doing what they could to remove any evidence that was possible of the damage, but we also had such a huge turnout that it blossomed into a full citywide beautification and cleanup which was just fantastic,” Frederick said.
As a lifelong Owosso resident, and 18 year public servant working in Lansing, Frederick expressed that he felt led to help in the effort.
“I know what it feels like if you’re part of a community that had something suddenly happen, Owosso has had lots of other things cause destruction, natural disasters,” he said, “And the best thing you can do for a community that is suffering from that type of visual damage is to try and to restore it as fast as possible.”