DENVER (KDVR) — Protests in downtown Denver have left a mark on the city. Grafitti can still be found on buildings and sidewalks.
Khyyam Cooper has made it his mission to clean things up and he wants others to join in.
Known to his friends as “Coop,” Khyyam says he wants the message to stay positive.
He posted his mission on Facebook and within hours, friends and strangers showed up to help him.
“I understand why the protesters are mad. They are angry. I feel their pain because I feel the same thing that they feel,” he tells Channel 2’s Natalie Tysdal.
He says it’s the negativity that hurts. He is erasing the negative words and statements but leaving the positive messages for now.
Each piece of graffiti takes 20 to 30 minutes to remove with chemicals that cost money and special wire brushes.
Coop’s calls for help brought in thousand of dollars in donations and the use of a commercial power washer.
Cooper found the time cleaning to be a good opportunity to listen to others.
“Step back and try to walk in the other person’s shoes. Try to think about where they are living and where they come from,” he says.
As an Air Force veteran, the graffiti on monuments is especially hurtful for Cooper.
“You’re putting your life on the line when you fight for your country. To see a statue defaced of a famous veteran, it hurt my heart,” he said.