Free Root Operation Hosts a South Side Community Cleanup Led by Black Moms

Free Root Operation (FRO) will host a community cleanup day at Abbott (Robert) Park on September 9th, 2023 from 9 am-1 pm as part of the nourishment pillar of their 6-month wellness program, BLOOM. The BLOOM Program serves Black women and single mothers from the South and West sides, often erased from gun violence advocacy, as a public safety infrastructure.

Planned and executed by participants, this cleanup day is a pivotal step in empowering the women FRO serves to be active agents of change in their communities. 

“It was important for us to create space for the mothers we serve to create an impact in their communities on their own terms”, says Eva Maria Lewis, FRO Founder and Executive Director. “The Clean-Up Day is an opportunity for them to exercise their agency as pillars of the community, and to also show how taking care of our environments is directly tied to our communal well being. It’s more than cleaning up trash, this is about wanting more for our communities.”

During the cleanup day, Free Root Operation will be joined by family and friends of the 2023 BLOOM Cohort. Together, they will fellowship and pick up trash in the surrounding area. As they do, they will be working toward establishing a deeper connection to their local land and repairing their relationship to the environment that nourishes us.

BLOOM participants will also be handing out resource sheets that they have created on financial literacy and healthy eating. These sheets will also include QR code that links to a larger resource database on youth programming, housing assistance, domestic violence contacts, sex trafficking hotlines, mental health hotlines, and addiction resources. 

Free Root Operation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by award-winning human rights advocate Eva Maria Lewis. Their mission is to address the root causes of gun violence through wellness programming, cultural activations, and a method of critical care, which are substantiated by research centering communal wisdom. They take an innovative approach that serves as the nexus between championing Black women and their families and preventative measures of poverty-induced gun violence that demands integration into culture. Their operation is to restore communities impacted by poverty-induced gun violence to safe, abundant, and liberated sites of Oasis. 

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