On April 30th over 5,000 people joined together for what is now simply known as La Gran Limpieza. The annual Los Angeles River cleanup began when poet and activist Lewis MacAdams' invited friends, family and co-conspirators (including Ed Reyes and Tom LaBonge) to collect plastic bags, grocery carts, strollers, and mattresses, all in an effort to convince public officials that the Los Angeles River was in fact... a river.

What difference 22 years of persistence and stubbornness makes! On a sunny river afternoon this past April 30th, "cleaning the river" was not a task for crazy mavericks, but an invitation to a day of service extended by our very own Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In fact, Mayor Villaraigosa himself was seen kayaking and picking up trash that morning with councilman Reyes at the Sepulveda Basin before landing at Rio de Los Angeles State Park. There the Mayor celebrated the public re-birth of the Los Angeles River with music by Ozomatli and our own StoryShare event, which captured the stories, longings, memories and songs about the past, present and future of the Los Angeles River.

We've bought you some of the amazing stories we recorded below, so sit down, relax and let the water flow as you dip in into these amazing, inspirational interviews and imagine what the river is and could be.

Click below to view their stories:

The Congregation

Peggy Soto

Paula Daniels

Jason & Yohan

The Arroyo Green Team

Abby Loces

Asdru & Ulises of Ozomatli

Lil' Rattlesnakes

Mike Sonksen / Mike the Poet

Miguel Luna

Matthew & Ryan

Martha Matthews

Lauren Frye

Larry Frank

Lyla Matar

John Wolf

John Kemmerer

Irene Barahona

Elliot Kwon

Broken English

Jeff Greenberg & Bob Forrest

Sandra Ellen Bacall

Daniel Sifuentes

Cecilia Dominguez



This is the second of four L.A. River StoryShare events that we will produce in collaboration with Councilman Ed Reyes and his river initiatives. You can watch more interviews from the December 4th, 2010 opening of the Pedestrian/Bicycle path in Elysian Valley.

About Story Share:
Departures StoryShare is an ongoing series of community recording events aimed at capturing the stories of individuals who have strong personal memories and history attached to their neighborhoods. Our goal is to create a collective narrative cartography of neighborhood stories by exposing the subjective and personal history through the eyes of community members.

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It's amazing that over 5,000 community members came together to make a difference and clean the LA River! For those who participated in the cleanup, remember to share your photos with us and we'll make a cool montage of how you show your love for the environment! http://www.lastormwater.info/blog/2011/04/20/show-some-love-for-earth-day-volunteer-record-and-share/