‘Empowering for neighbors:’ Volunteers clean up Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood

Volunteers clean up Milwaukee's Harambe neighborhood

MILWAUKEE -- Rain or shine volunteers in the Harambee neighborhood were determined to take on a big project.

With some grabbers, rakes and brooms, volunteers hope to make a sweeping change in the Harambee neighborhood on Saturday, May 19.

"We are trying to promote safe happy healthy neighborhood," said Safe and Sound organizer Adrian Spencer.

Folks came out in droves, meeting at Clinton Rose Park to be assigned their task.

Volunteers clean up Milwaukee's Harambe neighborhood

Adrian Spencer

"We have 800 people signed up," Spencer said. "It's a 160 neighborhood blocks."

Five different organizations along with area residents tackled the massive community clean up -- even Alderwoman Milele Coggs got her hands dirty.

"I have a policy. I never ask of others what I'm not willing to also do," Coggs said.

Helping rid the streets of unsightly trash littered about.

Volunteers clean up Milwaukee's Harambe neighborhood

"One of the biggest complaints we get all summer is about cleanliness in the neighborhood," Coggs said. "People often wonder what they can do about it."

Volunteers clean up Milwaukee's Harambe neighborhood

And this is it. With garbage bags in hand, these folks were glad to do their part.

"Giving back. I like to help people," said Laquanda Westbrook, a One Touch Missionary Baptist Church volunteer.

"I feel like it shows God's love to all of his children and that's what we are here for," said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints volunteer, Sister Peikert.

It was their mission to help change the landscape and mindsets by facilitating a sense of pride.

Volunteers clean up Milwaukee's Harambe neighborhood

"Having an event like this really is empowering for neighbors," Spencer said.

And ongoing, utilizing tools meant to make a lasting impact.

"Get a picker, a broom, a shovel or rake -- they can keep afterward," Spencer said, "The hope is they will continue to clean up all summer long."

The cleanup was originally schedules for April but got snowed out. On Saturday, the cleanup concluded with an after party complete with food, games, activities and a resource fair.

Volunteers clean up Milwaukee's Harambe neighborhood