In an effort to restore the respect of South Tucson streets, David Garcia leads neighborhood clean-ups by picking up trash, cutting dead grass, and more.

His project is called “Barrio Restoration.” To Garcia, the project signifies beyond just landscaping. He’s worked in neighborhoods that are cleaner, and wants that for his.

“I saw a need in my barrio, weeds and trash throughout the hood. I wanted a clean neighborhood for us, for our neighbors. We deserve it,” he said.

His vision for this project was at first a difficult task to follow through with because of the doubts people had. He said many thought the work would not last, which only encouraged him to work harder. He said it’s an investment he’s made with pride.

Garcia said his mission is in “creating a clean and safe environment with a goal to encourage our people to take ownership and reinvest in our barrios and culture. We envision our community of BIPOC [black, indigenous, and people of color] to be unified through cultivating and planting seed and creating growth.”

For years, his neighborhood in South Tucson has been littered with debris and weeds. He found power in transforming the image of the neighborhood because he saw how it could improve it’s reputation.

“Cleaner streets equals safer streets,” said Garcia. “In the process of cleaning up areas in the hood we connect with neighbors and organize barrio clean-ups to team up and landscape larger areas.”

Garcia believes the responsibility falls on the residents to ensure their community looks good and feels better. His goal is to get others to feel a sense of ownership and pride for their neighborhood.

“The streets belong to us and it’s up to us to keep them clean. It’s a representation of us and if we want other people to respect our hood we have to start doing it ourselves,” said Garcia.

On May 20 at 10 AM, Garcia is holding a “Barrio Fiesta de Agua” celebration to bring the community together. This celebration is for everyone to come together with pride for the community and for the children finishing up school. The event will be at Mariposa Park and will have food and fun water activities.

Anyone looking to follow David Garcia’s work can follow him on Instagram @barrio_restoration_.