To make a positive impact on World Environment Day in June 2023, the Los Angeles Dawoodi Bohra’s Project Rise team partnered with Volunteer Cleaning Communities for a street cleanup near Ezzi Masjid. Exemplifying the power of community collaboration, 20 volunteers equipped with gloves, trash bags, and metal tongs were divided into two teams. Together, they filled fifteen huge garbage bags with accumulated litter, a lot being building aluminum slats.
The street cleanup began at 10am with a visit by Mike Feuer, former Los Angeles City Attorney, who said, “It is such a pleasure to join with an interfaith group at Ezzi masjid on Sunday for a community cleanup. With members of the Dawoodi Bohra community leading the way, this event displays how inspiring it can be when we join together to improve our neighborhoods. Thanks to all those who participated.”
Jill Mather of the Volunteer Cleaning Committee said this was her second year organizing a cleanup with the masjid. She noted that, while streets may look very clean when driving by, the view changes when walking with metal tongs and trash bags. Your eye gets trained to look for little bits of litter that one would usually overlook like cigarette butts and pieces of plastic amongst the green, flowering shrubs that line the sidewalk.
Mather humorously compared the experience to an Easter egg hunt, emphasizing the importance of actively exploring the streets to identify and collect litter. Sometimes, unexpected treasures are discovered, like the time she found three rolled-up hundred-dollar bills discarded among the shrubs. Cash Vanderwort, a dedicated collector who regularly participates in these street clean-ups, echoed Mather’s sentiment, sharing his consistent success in finding treasures during Sunday morning clean-ups.
Even without the discovery of dollar bills, the act of keeping our streets clean is its own reward and treasure. It is a fulfilling way to celebrate World Environment Day, taking care of the areas where we live and gather as a community. Through collective small actions, we can make a significant impact, and the streets surrounding our masjid now appear cleaner than ever before.