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All walks of life gather in downtown Grand Rapids for community cleanup

GRAM cleanup photo
Patrick Center

Repairs and cleanup are underway after Saturday evening’s vandalism targeted dozens of businesses along the City of Grand Rapids’ Monroe Center where storefront windows were shattered.

“We live right downtown, we were terrified last night and it’s really incredible just to see everybody pull through and help.”

That’s Halley Born. She’s one of thousands of residents gathering downtown assisting with a community cleanup effort.

“We decided with people being out here so early sweeping and cleaning up we thought we’d bring people water and granola bars just to keep ‘em going and make sure they know we’re here to help if there’s anything we can do.”

Contractors and construction firms offering muscle and resources boarding up windows.

“I would describe this as bringing out the best in humanity to counter balance the violence that happened last night.”

Carole Carlson is an attorney here at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge.

“We had probably 90 percent of the windows of our law firm that were smashed, but nothing was stolen and most importantly, no one was hurt.”

“I brought a shovel, a broom and another broom.” Corinna Morales lives nearby. “This isn’t the way it should be, you know, my 5-year old was watching and he said, ‘Mom, we don’t do that to our city, right?’ I said, ‘No, son, we don’t.’ But, you know, there are people that do. But at the end of the day I see a lot of unity here and it makes me happy.”

"We’ve got the bucket holder over there. She’s holding everybody’s drinks and waters. The girls have shovels."

Lisa Yerkes drove in from Byron Center with her family.

“Gigi is eight. Grace and Addison are 12, David’s 14 and Olivia’s 13. I think it’s good for them to learn that it’s not about racism. It’s about people coming together and for each other. You see blacks, white people, Hispanic people all coming together and it’s wonderful.”

In Grand Rapids, I’m Patrick Center.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.