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Volunteers donate time, pick up litter near National Mall after tense few weeks in DC

After a turbulent start to 2021, the group wanted to give the city something to smile about.

WASHINGTON — After a challenging start to 2021 in D.C., some people wanted to give back to the city that’s been through so much lately.

"I think there was even more of an urge ... to like really get out and help because we felt so helpless sitting at home like watching what happened," said Katy Koza.

Stunned by the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and troubled by the animosity surrounding it, Koza wanted to put a little good back into the city.

"I've always liked making the city a better place," said Koza.

The super-heightened security measures that came as a result of that attack are still visible around the National Mall.

But it's also clear the level of security is slowly decreasing. 

On Sunday morning, joggers and walkers took advantage of the open sidewalks along the edges of the Mall that, just a few days ago, were off-limits to nearly everyone in D.C. 

As security slowly loosens downtown, a group of D.C. locals got to work making the city just a little more beautiful, by picking up litter.

This weekend, about 20 volunteers who connected mostly online went to work near the Mall.

"That's what's cool I think its like ... the feeling of community and solidarity with all of it," she said.

According to Koza, the Mall cleanup was only the beginning.

"I think really, there's no rules, the sky's the limit," she said. "We're open to any kinds of projects. I think all of us just really want to make the community a better place."

Koza says the group hopes to continue doing cleanups in different spots all across the city at least once a month.

You can follow them on Instagram at @district.cleanups.

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