An American football player is being praised for helping to heal a wounded community, after his tweet brought a group of volunteers to downtown Phoenix to clean up the city.
After being dismayed to see how peaceful protests turned destructive in his city last weekend, Marquette King put out a call to action on the social media platform.
“I’m gonna be in Downtown Phoenix at 10ish with gloves and trash bags cleaning up the city. All races are welcome to come clean the city with me. Officers should come too. Let’s get to know each other.”
Marquette played for six years in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, and last played for the St. Louis Battlehawks in the XFL. Some of the volunteers who joined him knew him from his football career, including former Arizona State University quarterback Robert Nelson. But others were simply inspired by his positive message.
“I just went on Twitter and searched ‘Phoenix cleanup’ and I saw Marquette’s post. I didn’t know who he was,” one volunteer told Cameron Cox, a sports broadcaster for KPNX-12 News.
“I’m all about peace and love. That’s what I want my message to be,” Marquette told 12 News. He hopes that his little group will inspire those who want to make a positive difference in their communities. On Twitter later that day, he thanked all those who came out to help out, saying “It’s ok to be different! I choose to make an impact in showing love n peace. Make a difference but be smart and calculated.”
Phoenix isn’t the only city where volunteers have come out to clean up. In Seattle, a group of dedicated citizens of all ages got together to do the same.
Mayor Jenny Durkan praised those who showed up to help, telling King 5, “What I love to see here is so many people coming downtown to help. To help clean up, to remove graffiti, to reclaim the city that they love. That’s the spirit we have to be about going forward, is people coming together and find a way to really acknowledge the challenges that we have, make them better, but still love our city.”
Police Chief Carmen Best echoed the mayor’s praise: “I’m totally inspired. It’s totally gratifying and so wonderful and heartening to see all of these people out here. Volunteers helping to clean up the destruction, and the graffiti, and all of the damage from last night. I’m really hopeful that calmer heads will prevail today and they won’t come into our beautiful city and make it look like this.”