Volunteers Clean Up at Ferguson QuikTrip, Get Yelled At for "Helping the White Man"

fergclean.jpg
Kathryn Banks
Volunteers clean at the QuikTrip after riots on Sunday night. Erica Hampton is in the middle holding a shovel.
Erica Hampton didn't let her two young children watch the chaos unfold in Ferguson Sunday night. But as the sun rose Monday morning to reveal smoldering ashes and broken glass, she sat down with her ten-year-old son to talk about the destruction wreaked on the town.

"We talked about it, and we decided to go help," Hampton tells Daily RFT. "I'm just really about my community. That's just me."

Hampton's friend lives near the QuikTrip that was looted and burned Sunday night, so that's where she, her son, her four-year-old daughter headed on Monday morning, ready to get to work. Armed with shovels donated from Home Depot, the volunteer cleaning crew cleared the parking lot, which was covered in food wrappers and trash as well as burned debris.

"We couldn't pick up everything, but we got the majority," she says.

See all Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown's death and the Ferguson unrest.

The QuikTrip was ground zero for Sunday's violent unrest as looters stole alcohol, food and gas before moving to other nearby stores. On Monday morning, most passersby seemed more interesting in Instagramming a photo of the charred remains or finding a souvenir than in cleaning up.

"People would come by and take pictures and make comments and talk, but no one really, aside from a few people, would say, 'Hey, what can I do to help?'" says Kathryn Banks, who joined the cleanup with her husband after checking on a house they own across the street. "I said, 'We should really go help,' and before I knew it, (Banks' husband) was out of the car and had a broom in his hand. It's not about waiting for the invitation."

Some of the people who walked by criticized the volunteers for working against the efforts to fight for justice for Brown.

"People were yelling at us, saying hurtful things, like we shouldn't be helping the white man," Hampton says. "I'm not here to argue with anybody. This is not how you go about getting justice."

Banks, who took a photo of the volunteers that has gone viral this week, says the cleanup was as somber as it was therapeutic.

"We just all put our heads down and got to work," Banks says. "We'd felt hopeless and helpless watching everything unfold on the news the night before. This was a way we could give back. We felt like there was something we could do."

Not all the people who passed by the cleanup criticized the volunteers. Some joined in, others thanked them for their work.

"That was a community spot," Banks says about QuikTrip. "To see it looted and then go up in flames was just heartbreaking."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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232 comments
markie19
markie19 topcommenter


11 days ago

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WILS0N
WILS0N

Hats off to all the volunteers...you all are awesome!!

Sandy Reno
Sandy Reno

People like these make a community worthwhile not the looters or those that criticized them. Hold your heads high you all are whats right with the world.

ak016810
ak016810

Good for her! QT had NOTHING to do with the situation! The people chastising her should be ashamed of themselves

Gina Ackworth
Gina Ackworth

That's the subculture of the inner city. It's not going to change folks. Today, if there were a civil rights movement I believe there would be two factions, the inner city people and all others. Good for this family!!!

ibjenloftis
ibjenloftis

This amazing woman has set unjust pride aside and is helping her community by cleaning up after vandalizers and their poopy diapers. Shame on all the people (who are acting like animals) that are tearing up the community and breaking laws by throwing temper tantrums that's expected from a 3 yr old child. Grown adults obviously don't know how to protest without causing violence which they want to escape from in the first place. It makes no sense. I know for a fact that there are intelligent blacks and whites. Any color that will act like an idiot will make us all look bad. Pathetic. 

A big thank you to this lady and her family for being able to handle life from a mature perspective.

David Boone
David Boone

Its great to see that not all black people in Ferguson are not prejudice or bigots.

Janeyre Bronte'
Janeyre Bronte'

There will always be ignorant people. They blame White people, for their lousy lives... How stupid, can one be? Help clean up, people. It is the right thing to do...

Petey Clh
Petey Clh

This is an awesome story about some beautiful people doing a beautiful thing.

Toni Tocco
Toni Tocco

I have often found #TrentSheldon #RehabTime to be a great source of inspiration. I am hoping that his words and God's message reach everyone who is hurting.

emilybrigs
emilybrigs

While I'm certainly not a proponent of pillaging and commend someone helping out their community, wouldn't it be worthwhile to acknowledge the institutional racism which took place and ask yourself how you, your family, and your peers, might work to support a a shift in consciousness?

Mark Sullivan
Mark Sullivan

Yep, it's called Racism, and the Rioters are guilty of it, as is the person or people who yelled this

Garrison Smith
Garrison Smith

I don't think race is as big of an issue anymore. Some PEOPLE are just angry and find any reason to make trouble. I just feel bad for the ones who take care of their community and still have to put up with PEOPLE that have no CLASS.

Gordon Moore
Gordon Moore

Im sick of this bullcrap...those people who rioted werent doing it for that man who was killed...it was an excuse to loot...steal and take things. How did this help that man? And what are gonna do if its determined by all the different agencies that it was a justified shooting? And of course..here comes Al Sharpton. Do you really think he cares....all he cares about is media attention. You never see him except when theres something like this. And I have a lot of black friends..and white friends.and asian friends etc..but I dont think..of heres Dewan..hes my "black" friend. Hes just my friend.. What happened is sad. A young man lost his life. Was it justified by his own actions? I dont know...but I do know that l the thugs who looted stole and destroyed their own community were NOT justified. They were just ignorant.

Sherrie Byrum Gleber
Sherrie Byrum Gleber

Has the "white man" now turned into a QT? They are helping their community that the idiots destroyed. Anybody with commom sense see and knows whats going on here.

Evgenia Bennett
Evgenia Bennett

Most of us go to church every Sunday, so many of us celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving and Christ's resurrection, every one of us at least once had said a prayer... What is the point in doing all of that, if we right away turn around and start pointing fingers at "blacks" and "whites", and "redskins", and "browns", and "yellow people"?!! What is the point in waisting your time asking for your sins forgiveness, when you choose not to stay good and when you CHOOSE to find a reason to get involved in a conflict? What is the point in being a God-believer?? God DESIGNED us look different, just like He made flowers look different, or birds, or cats... BECAUSE IT IS MORE BEAUTIFUL, INTERESTING, DIFFERENT! How come we, the people, ALWAYS have this need for complaining about something?! If everybody on Earth would look Asian, then we all would hate each other over our different heights or eye shape or some other reason instead of admiring how amazingly different we all look. I think if each of us makes a little effort to bite our tongues at least three times, when we really feel like pointing out something negative and try to DO at least three absolutely not self-serving good things each day, we just might make ourselves and others a little happier. Happy people - kind people. Kind people - happy God. Happy God - Heaven on Earth. I understand that "all we need is love" technique is not really going to fix everything by tomorrow in the angry century we live in... But, hey, I am still allowed to dream right?

Deborah Winter
Deborah Winter

Mr Kennedy, I'm glad you're not on jury...you've made up your mind already. I would like to hear both sides Im sure the truth is in there somewhere. Good of people to help, god knows the looting is ridiculous and is just an excuse to steal. I bet it's not done when it's a drive by one citizen against another. This is a tragedy, the young man is gone and acting out tarnishes his memory and peoples opinions. Stop this insane behavior.

Daniel Waszak
Daniel Waszak

wow helping the white man!.. that isn't a racist comment is it

Debra Yakovitz
Debra Yakovitz

This is what community pride is all about. This is the lesson that the looters never learned. Unfortunately, they never will because they don't care.

Ken Brodzinski
Ken Brodzinski

Nice work guys! Now why can't Al Sharpton hold his news conference in that parking lot and bring some people to bear on the problem they caused?

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown

the finely education DUMBASS people telling them they are "helping the white man" fail to realize the good people cleaning up are trying to BETTER THEIR COMMUNITY. #ghettoBULLSHIT

Frederick Gilhams
Frederick Gilhams

This isn't about black vs. whites.It is about abusive cops vs. public

George Gnade
George Gnade

You all keep up the good work there are some no good white people to they come in all races and colors

hking878
hking878

And also praised for their commitment to their community

Meredith Myers
Meredith Myers

Burning a gas station and stealing beer, cigerretes, food, gas and whatever else doesn't so justice for anyone. It's called stealing and vandalism. ..it's a CRIME!!! I'm glad that some people in the community seem to care and move forward...

Vicki Hammer Rademacher
Vicki Hammer Rademacher

nice to see you posted a positive article...St Louis is not racist...we don't like criminal behavior....it does not matter the color of the skin...just the behavior!

amhatch05
amhatch05

I was deeply saddened by the death of that young man and just as heart broken about the looting and vandalism. I live in this community. When I saw the picture of those young people in front of Quik Trip, I was so proud. As one person commented, why was this not on the news? If it was, then I missed it. Way to go and God Bless. My prayers also go out young Michael's family and friends and that justice will prevail,

Katie Kirkpatrick
Katie Kirkpatrick

This is a glimpse of positivity in all this negativity. A pat on the back to this mom.

Megan Ebinger
Megan Ebinger

Well done mom! The best lesson you could have taught your children amidst all the negativity.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

A small town like Ferguson has an "inner city"?! LoL

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Did you fall off your high horse and hurt your head? Your attempted insult failed due to your poor grammar.

rdainestech
rdainestech

You pick the wrong people to put on a pedestal. The kid just robbed a store 5 minutes prior to his confrontation with Police. You saw the way he man handled the little Indian cashier. That should give you a good idea of what his mind set was when the Police confronted him. Not saying that this is definitely what happened but it is the most likely scenario given the circumstances.  You could be hit by lightning as well, but not likely. Trayvon Martin was another winner picked by your community to exalt.  I guess the pool of white on black shootings is so small compared to black on white that the black leaders have to seize on any case with ruthless zeal.   Dosn't matter that the victim was a scumbag, He's OUR scumbag! Gimmie a break.

quez
quez

Had the unarmed young man done what the police officer asked of him in the first place, he'd still be here to face charges and stand trial for stealing from the shop he and his friend had just hit before this one.  Unarmed doesn't mean defenseless.


Furthermore, this story is about people stepping up to do what's best for their community despite the lack of respect of property or safety shown to those who had nothing to do with the chain of events started by that unarmed young man.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

As white males, we are not qualified to say that race is no longer an issue. Why embarass yourself by making such an absurd statement?

rdainestech
rdainestech

The 100 million more dollars that Obama has set aside for the "My brothers keeper" program (Google it) is going to finally fix the black males issues with fitting into American Society and reducing violence. I just know it. The other hundreds of billions of dollars in special programs, grants, and affirmative action programs just hasn't been enough. This 100 million is going to be the one that makes the difference. I just know it.  

Seriously though, isn't special programs for minorities violating our rights to equal protection under the law? Imagine the good we could do with that money by letting whites and Asians who actually want to learn and educate themselves have the money to go to school.  Imagine all the veterans we could take care of.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

The property damage is incidental. The primary concern is the questionable police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

quez
quez

Incidental? Do you see the same picture I see? The owner of that shop had nothing to do with the chain of events started by that teenager's refusal to do as he was asked. Had he only cooperated, he'd still be alive today to face charges and maybe do some jail time for strong-arming and stealing from the unarmed gentleman in the previous shop.

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