Volunteers return to State Street to help clean up another violent night
For the second day in a row, peaceful daytime protests gave way to violent nighttime confrontations. And, for the second day in a row, those gave way to the community rallying together to help restore the city they love.
“This is my City. This is my community. So, of course, I’m out here cleaning up,” one of the volunteers, Allen Robinson, said. Robinson lives on State Street, where the night before protestors marched for hours before clashes with law enforcement erupted about a half-hour after the 9:30 p.m. curfew for the Isthmus went into effect.
“I’m a little sad to see it. I would rather just see a peaceful protest, but I’m not going to blame for being as mad as they are,” Madison-native Hayden Aguirre, who came out to help the cleanup effort, explained.
Volunteers like Robinson and Aguirre came prepared early Monday morning, many of them bringing their own brooms and trash bags, stopping where they saw glass to sweep it up. According to the Madison Police Department, the bus stop on Gorham Street and Ragstock suffered some of the worst of the damage overnight.
Robinson, who has lived in Madison all of his life, believes the unrest in the Wisconsin capital goes beyond the death of George Floyd, who died last Monday while in police custody in Minneapolis. The officer who was seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck was arrested on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.
“The murder of George Floyd wasn’t and this isn’t. This clearly isn’t just about that this is the sort of unrest that has been building for a long time,” he explained. “It’ incredibly difficult to see.”
Sunday night’s violence in and around Madison’s downtown area led to 15 arrests, injured several officers, and saw even more stores looted. But, as volunteers continued their work the next morning, they are hoping to heal some of the damage and, maybe, sweep in some change.
“If you’re not going to see systemic change then you’re going to continue to see unrest,” Robinson added