WAUWATOSA, Wis. - A few businesses that were damaged and looted near North Avenue and Swan Boulevard in Wauwatosa were given a helping hand by volunteers early this morning.
This was their way of helping end the pain and sending a message to say to everyone hurting. We hear you, we feel for you, and we want to do what we can to find peace, quickly cleaning up these sidewalks that were left littered with glass.
Sweeping into action the minute curfew ended, a few dozen people turned out at 7 a.m. to do their part to clean up, and talk, to try and begin to heal the festering wounds.
"I live here, this is my community, so I wanted to come here and help out," Tosa resident and teacher, Jon Etter said. "Nobody wants to see this. Nobody wants to see the Cole family on TV in pain either. Nobody wants to see a police officer not coming home. Let's just be good to people."
It's a conversation they say has perhaps been lost to the exhaustion of months of unrest, social distance and division.
"There's no place for violence in our community," said Jill Moran of Persisters Citizen Action Group.
Persisters Citizen Action Group is one organization hoping these efforts could be a start to bridging the gap in Wauwatosa.
"I feel terrible for the peaceful protesters that a couple of idiots decided that they were going to do something else and that's unfortunate," Moran said. "We're joining with other citizen action groups calling for peace and calm."
While most protests remained peaceful, a few businesses damaged and looted including a Family Dollar, Boost Mobile and a gas station are left to pick up the pieces.
"Let's understand where all people are coming from," she said.
Though most of the businesses downtown are boarded up, many are open as usual today.
Many of these volunteers are residents of Wauwatosa, some work for the schools and government. They say with cleanup handled they want to find more ways to move forward as a community and bring everyone together.