Last Saturday, Northwest Philadelphia neighbors gathered at Joseph E. Coleman library for a street clean-up along the Germantown business corridor.
Germantown United CDC and the Nu Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. organized the clean-up in response to damages to businesses that followed protests against the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Vincent Costello of Nu Sigma said Germantown wasn’t their first clean-up since the protests began. Their organization also helped clean 52nd Street in West Philadelphia.
“We’re just going to keep it going until we get everything back to at least some type of normalcy,” Costello said.
About 50 neighbors lined up west of the Coleman library entrance to check-in. Most people arrived with brooms and face masks. After checking in and recieving materials; trash grabber tools, gloves and trash bags, volunteers spread out up and down Chelten Avenue in.
Justina Barrett is a Mt. Airy resident but said cleaning up in Germantown was where she felt she needed to be.
“A lot of white people are looking to do things, and I acknowledge that,” Barrett said. “Cleaning up is like the tiniest thing I could do with my time when I literally had nothing else to do today.”
Costello said the clean-up is an opportunity for people to be involved. “I think that one of the biggest misconceptions about movements is that you have to [make these grand gestures] to show you’re in support of a movement. But every small part of a movement is supportive of the movement, from cleanups, to donating money behind the scenes, to actually impacting policy.”