Every Tuesday, a group of residents put real effort into the beautification of Williams. The group, Evolución de la Conciencia (Evolution of Consciousness), was started by sisters Lucia and Martha Ordoñez.
“Being activists motivate and inspire all members of the community; sharing movements of change with the help of children, youth, and adults,” Lucia Ordoñez said.
The sisters approached city officials in October of 2018, asking for essentials: trash bags, gloves, and safety vests. Since then, the sisters have been putting actions behind their passions with local volunteers.
Williams City Councilman Sajit Singh is also a volunteer with the group.
“(The Ordoñez sisters) came up with this idea of how to better this place, how to improve, clean this city up, to plant trees, to have gardens, to get the community involved at a grassroots level,” Singh said.
The group takes the recycling that they pick up and plan to use the money to start gardens and plant trees. Officials at city hall estimate it will cost about $300 per tree when factoring in standards such as irrigation. So far, the sisters have sold jewelry, gift baskets, and collect recyclable materials during their cleanup efforts.
Singh recalled when the group was asked to cover the Northview Park with ground covering. A considerably large pile of wood chips were delivered and needed to be transported to the playground and spread out. Many volunteers rolled up their sleeves, including personnel from public works and a random passerby on his way to an interview.
“This was a task that would’ve normally took at least two to three days and we were able to do it all in one day,” said Singh. “It was a lot of work, it was huge. We were able to help the city out and the community out. It was just unbelievable how much work and we’re talking kids too. Everybody jumped in and did it.”
The group welcomes people of all ages, and meet in front of Williams City Hall every Tuesday at 6 PM, rain or shine. The Ordoñez sisters have a firm handshake and a pair of gloves for anyone willing to help. Few words are needed, as the assemblage of activists speak in the language of friendly gestures and warm smiles. After a couple of hours, a pickup truck bed full of trash bags, and a mile or two worn into their shoes, the troop wash their hands and enjoy donated pizzas.
Appreciative local business owners and members of the community provide drinks, snacks, or places for the group to meet.
“They’re not in it for the notoriety,” said Singh. “They are organized, not with an agenda… well, they do have an agenda, but it’s not a political one.”
With the canneries open, the number of volunteers has lessened recently. The sisters are looking towards high school students that have expressed interest in the group’s mission for a project. ■