Volunteers Clean up After Downtown Riverside Protest

Jun 2, 2020

Reyna Pizarro and Camerin Delfin cleaning up graffitti on Orange Street in downtown Riverside on June 2, 2020.
Credit MEGAN JAMERSON/KVCR

Thousands gathered in downtown Riverside Monday night to protest the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. While it was mostly peaceful, volunteers showed up Tuesday morning to help clean up. 

Tuesday morning, volunteers were out cleaning up downtown Riverside. It was the day after hundreds gathered there to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. By 8:30 a.m. there was little sign of the previous night’s event except graffiti and boarded up windows.

Reyna Pizarro and her friend Camerin Delfin who attended the protest, were at the corner of Mission Inn Avenue and Orange Street, scrubbing away at some graffiti on the side of a parking garage. Pizzaro says they left the protest before they saw any vandalism, so they checked online this morning to see how downtown was looking.

“We didn’t see a ton of like posts about destruction or anything like that but we just wanted to come and make sure everything was good and do what we can," said Pizzaro.

Richard Toliver, an educator wearing an #IRunWithAhmaudArbery shirt stopped to look at the work the women were doing.  He lives in Sun City and wasn’t able to make it to the protests, but when he heard there was damage he wanted to come help. He says that as a black man he thinks it’s important for people to understand the protest message and he hopes the dialogue can continue.

“Do I think you should be looting and vandalizing? Of course not," said Toliver. But I think that people should be aware that there is a lifestyle that I live that other people are not accustomed to.”

Across the street in front of the Chinese Pavilion, Rocio Rohas, a teacher, was picking up trash. She said she was there to represent those who marched peacefully during the clean-up efforts. She lives a few blocks away and after the curfew offered food, shelter and Lyft rides home to young people passing by.

“I just want other people to know that it's ok to protest, we were peaceful during our protests and it was a wonderful experience,” said Rohas.