As last night's violent protest in downtown Anaheim drew to a close, social media lit up with quickly made plans to meet at 6 a.m. in the parking lot of the Vons across the street from City Hall, in a shopping area that saw a Starbucks' windows shattered and a T-shirt store looted. When the sun came up on downtown Anaheim this morning, about two dozen people, some of whom had never met, unloaded brooms, dustpans, gloves and trash bags from cars.
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As just about every media outlet in the Southland looked on, the group swept up broken glass from six of the seven businesses whose windows had been broken, picked up the toppled water dispenser, and carted away everything from cigarette butts to herbal tea bags. Surprisingly, there were few beer bottles, and only one of the stores seemed to have suffered any serious looting. Hockey skates littered the floor of the gear shop across the street from Anaheim ICE, a restaurant owner swept inside while the volunteers swept outside, a guard stood outside U.S. Bank and politely declined assistance, and city workers drove up with new disabled-parking signs.
There were people from both sides of the debate, pro-police and pro-protesters, but the prevailing sentiment was that everyone needed to pitch in to clean up the city. Most didn't attend the protest. Two hours later, the vast majority of the cleanup had been finished.
This is Anaheim. Not violence; not looting; neighbors meeting to clean up the city they live in.