Chicagoans and P.E.R.S. members come together to clean up Chicago in the aftermath of the 2020 riots... P.E.R.S. News Desk - July 2020

In late May of this year protesters gathered in Chicago’s historic downtown in support of Black Lives Matter and  protest  peacefully to demonstrate their outrage of the death of George Floyd. They did it without causing damage or violence, but among them were those who were set on destroying parts of Chicago's famous downtown. Many concerned citizens watched in horror on TV that night as iconic shop windows were broken, stores were looted, and statues defaced with spray paint. It was a long night of discouraging news and heartbreaking images. It’s acceptable to say that many citizens close to this beautiful city were saddened and frightened at what was happening to the city they love.

 

The next day as the sun came up, it revealed city streets and sidewalks filled with glass and debris, ugly phrases painted across beautiful public buildings and businesses. The shock and dismay in the faces of those who dared to step outside was obvious. But that morning something miraculous happened. Groups of people came out of almost everywhere. Without being asked or seeking permission, they showed up to help clean and repair Chicago’s scarred face. They attended to the store fronts, public buildings, and well-loved statues with brooms, trash cans, and gloves. These people came from every background and generation. They gathered in small and large groups to restore the city back to life.  Lisa Hruskocy who has a background in nursing and law was one those citizens who appeared out of nowhere with a broom and a desire to rescue her city. Like others, she moved throughout the city looking to help wherever it was needed. As she began picking up broken wood, damaged steel, and trash she connected with others and worked together as a team. Lisa swept up shattered windows, found needed trash receptacles, and offered her loving support and help to anyone who need it. “What a wonderful blessing to be able to assist our poor city in a time of crisis” Lisa said of that morning.  It was that miraculous spirit that seemed to engulf the city. Every person you saw was helping and cleaning up the damage caused by the criminal elements who attached themselves to the BLM movement. There was no need of blame or malice, everyone just wanted the city to recover and that spirit is what drove those citizens on that morning. 

 

Members of P.E.R.S of Illinois also joined in the cleanup effort. “Protesting is as American as apple pie, but violence and destruction of property is completely un-American” says Mark Kennedy - Executive Director of IllinoisEMS.com. “several members of our organization along with countless members of the community got together that next morning to clean up the broken glass, help lift plywood and other material into windows to protect store fronts and clean up spray painted buildings and statues” - Kennedy said. Thousands of protesters converged on Chicago and protested peacefully throughout the day, but there were criminal elements within those protesters that were set on violence and destruction. Although the cleanup took several days, it was inspiring to see so many members of the public show to help the city of Chicago. 

 

Lisa Hruskocy & Mark Kennedy volunteer to clean up Chicago

the morning after the May 2020 riots

P.E.R.S. of Illinois Members In front of historic Central Camera Co. of Chicago

in business since 1899