PILSEN — More than 20 students and Pilsen neighbors picked up trash Wednesday along 18th Street in the neighborhood.
The clean-up event was organized to empower community members and keep the neighborhood clean, said Alex Esparza, executive director of the Economic Strategies Development Corporation. The group organized the event with Benito Juarez High School students and Alds. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) and Patrick Daley Thompson (11th).
“A clean neighborhood speaks well for those who live in this neighborhood,” Esparza said.
The clean-up was held in the area from Halsted Street to Ashland Avenue and 18th Street and Cermak Road. Sigcho-Lopez said it was promising to see students and community members participate.
“It takes a village, but it starts on our blocks and our homes,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Thompson lauded the students who volunteered for the event. Cleaning the neighborhood “makes a big difference,” especially going “block by block” in the community, Thompson said.
The Economic Strategies Development Corporation also held clean-ups along Cermak Road from Canal Street to Western Avenue, Esparza said.
Benito Juarez teacher Johanna Fernandez accompanied 12 students as they volunteered. For about seven years, the Student Voice group at the school has been involved in clean-up and recycling efforts in the community, the school and at nearby parks, Fernandez said.
But because of the pandemic, Wednesday’s event was one of the first of its kind this year, Fernandez said.
Benito Juarez senior Morelia Bermudez, 18, was excited to participate. The Little Village resident said it was a great opportunity to get out of the house for a good cause and to help the community where she’s been a student for four years.
“I’ve been a big supporter of the community all my four years attending Juarez,” Bermudez said.
Pilsen resident Jackie Gaytan, a dance instructor in the neighborhood, and Casimiro Peña, a community organizer at the Obama Foundation, also participated in the clean-up.
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