VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A new group is supporting peaceful protests in Hampton Roads from the sidelines, cleaning up at marches and giving water and supplies to protesters.
The "757 Uplift Organization" is only a few days old, but it already has a few hundred followers on Facebook. Group members attend marches and rallies to clean up anything left behind or damaged by protesters who are calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality.
Greg White, a leader of the group, is now trying to track each protest in Hampton Roads himself, showing up with water, trash bags and brooms.
“No matter what, I feel like there’s always room to do something," White said.
Inspired by protests across Hampton Roads and wanting to help the community, White said he feels he is best served as a cleaner, a supporter in the back of the marches.
“This is just a small part that we can do that we’re proud to do in order to support them," he said.
White connected with Steven Baker, another person with the same initiative. They worked together at the Norfolk protest Tuesday night.
“My whole thing is I just want to clean up the community," Baker said. "I can’t stop anybody from rioting and looting, but I can clean up afterwards. I can do something to help the community and help the message.”
White, Baker, and many others say they can help amplify the message of the protests by cleaning up. The grassroots group is receiving donations of cleaning supplies from individuals and small businesses every day.
“We're getting ready to gear up for some of the marches this weekend. Hopefully, we can sweep right behind it and it’s the least that we can do," White said. "There’s no better way that I can spend my time.”
With hotter weather, the 757 Uplift group is also providing water to protesters during marches.
White and Baker said they're ready to support as long as the protests continue.