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70 help to clean up litter

Ethan Torres, 7, could have played video games or watched Saturday morning cartoons.

Instead, he and more than 70 volunteers walked the neighborhoods around Selma Middle CHAT Academy to pick up litter as part of the service project with the events of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and National Voting Rights Museum and Institute’s voting rights weekend celebration.

“I want to pick up garbage,” Ethan said. “I want to help out. This is good for the environment.”

Weekend organizers added the service project to the weekend agenda to help the community integral in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the bill into law 45 years ago on Aug. 6.

Volunteers divided into six small groups and ventured out with maps highlighted with their group’s cleanup locations.

“The motivation behind the service project was wanting to give something to the city that gave Americans voting rights,” said Matt Wynalda, project coordinator. “We wanted to give people the opportunity to celebrate, but also put in a lot of work.”

One team added a fun competition among themselves, offering a reward for the person to pick up the most trash.

“I think I might make it a milkshake or something like that,” said Fontella Pappas.

Local and out-of-town volunteers assisted in the cleanup.

“I came out to support what was happening in the community,” said Jessica Allen, of Atlanta. “You can do so much more when you have more people. Many hands make light work.”