"Clean 4 Peace" held on Milwaukee's south side

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In the midst of all the negativity happening in the country, there were some positive actions going on Milwaukee’s south side. The first “Clean 4 Peace” event was held Saturday morning and the massive clean up effort was about more than just beautification.

They had shovels in their hands and a goal on their minds. “This is about unification and collaboration so we can all reach our full potential,” said Ramon Candelaria, with the Zilber Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative.

Residents and various organizations came together at the Journey House for a heavy-duty mission. Candelaria added, “We are going to  be cleaning up the sewers because of the flooding and all that. We’re going to be picking up trash, raking, we got some boarded up houses and some crews going to paint.”

Even city leaders rolled up their sleeves and pitched in. Alderman Bob Donovan said, “Garbage, graffiti, things like that it turns people off to a neighborhood, so we want to turn that around.” Alderman Jose Perez added, “What I hope is that we can create more synergy when people see their neighbors out cleaning.”

Mary Lou Navarro brought girl scouts out to help instill neighborhood pride. She said, “It’s a wonderful  opportunity for them to be a part of the community and for them to learn leadership and responsibility.”  Navarro believes the children can impact future generations. Candelaria said the event is about more than just tackling area eyesores. He added, “This is a start to us working together in a different way to having a consistent conversation and work ethic together to create a better quality of life for everyone.”

Small efforts that can generate major change. Candelaria added, “There is hope. There is a lot of good. People really do love each other and people really do care about how we live together and I think this creates  that opportunity as well so it’s much bigger than a clean up.”

More than 300 people showed up to the “Clean 4 Peace” event. City leaders said they plan to have at least two other similar events this year. Saturday’s clean up was one of many initiatives going on this Earth Day weekend.