More than 300 volunteers gathered at the corner of Queen and Locust Street on January 30 to kick off a cleaning effort throughout Inglewood. Mayor James T. Butts, Councilman Ralph L. Franklin and other City leaders and workers partnered with members of the World Mission Society Church of God in the cleaning effort that covered the area between Florence Avenue and Regent Street from north to south and between La Brea and Spruce Avenue.
“I was contacted from the World Mission Society Church of God and they pretty much said that they had heard about Councilman Franklin and the community cleanups I engage in,” Franklin said. “Their group collectively has decided that they now want to embark on Inglewood and give of their time to help clean up with some of their members and church members.”
The church representatives and volunteers arrived as early as 7 a.m. to begin setting up and coordinating the distribution of volunteers, tools and supplies for the cleaning effort. Sylvia Baker, a volunteer who also happens to be a church member and an Inglewood employee, was the one responsible for linking the City with the congregation.
“Being a member of the church, we have served so many different communities—and being a City employee, of course have served Inglewood, so we just felt that it was very important that our church be able to, through Heavenly Mother, share the love in the City of Inglewood,” said Baker, who is part of the City’s former redevelopment agency. “We select different cities all the time and there are quite a few members that do live in the City of Inglewood. The doctrine of the church is that we are here to serve and not to be served, so we feel that it is an honor to be able to serve the City of Inglewood and I am very happy because I am proud to be an employee as well as a member of the church.”
Pastor John Lee with World Mission Society Church of God considers the event an opportunity that has several needs. “Any area we can help in we will. We know that Sister Sylvia [Baker] is our church member and also Inglewood is the central piece of Los Angeles area,” Lee said. “At the end of the year, a lot of people are interested in gift buying as part of Christmas and New Year, but we understand that there are some areas that need more help. That is why we go into those areas to clean up. One of our teachings of our Heavenly Mother, who was head of the church, is to love our neighbors as ourselves and this is part of practicing that teaching.”
The clean-up not only has long-term objectives, but it helps in the short run as well. “In order to attract people to come to Inglewood, I want to make sure that they actually see that we are a community of unity and that we believe in having pride of possession,” Franklin said. “The first thing people see from the off ramp is that corner. When they asked me what can we do, the Mayor and I worked together as a team.”