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01 • 22 • 2021

The Most Important Cleanup of the Year

By John Weber

In the aftermath of the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th, a single Congressman from New Jersey spontaneously conducted what we are calling the most important cleanup of the year, although it was far from any beach.

Congressman Andy Kim from NJ’s 3rd Congressional District had just finished voting after Congress regrouped following the attempted insurrection. Walking the devastated Capitol Building afterwards, the Congressman did what so many Surfrider Foundation volunteers do all the time; he grabbed a trash bag and started cleaning up.

Congressman Kim received recognition for this on CNN and participated in numerous interviews on the subject. He humbly claimed it was an ordinary act but that “his heart was broken” to see the building that is such an iconic symbol of our democracy so trashed and so disrespected.

We touched base with his office and the Congressman sent this statement: “The same thing that drove me to spend the night of January 6 cleaning up after the attempted insurrection in the Capitol is the same thing that drives each of you who work to keep our beaches clean: the idea that if something is broken, we can work to fix it.

As Americans, we know that whether it is a local beach cleanup or working to clean the halls of the Capitol, we have a duty to help one another, to look out for our country and communities and help move us forward.

I applaud the members of the Surfrider Foundation who do this day in and day out in order to keep our home in New Jersey clean and healthy.”

The Surfrider Foundation instinctively provided the Congressman with a Surfrider Foundation hoodie. We hope he will proudly wear it since he has earned his cleanup street cred. We also sincerely hope he will never have to clean the Capitol again. 

Will you do your part? Does this inspire you to grab a data card and do a solo cleanup? Does this make you want to help fix what is broken about our reliance on single-use plastic? We hope so. A dirty beach awaits you.