Antonio Harris has never been the kind of guy to sit back and not do anything when there is someone or something in need.
Harris, aka Loyalty, a budding rapper and emcee, saw that Pinti Field was looking drab with a constant barrage of litter and trash being strewn around the park.
Harris and his group, Loyalty’s Nation, decided to roll up their sleeves and get involved. The group reached out to Positively Rome and asked how they could get involved with some neighborhood clean-ups.
“We kept noticing Pinti Field was being disrespected by people leaving soda cans, water bottles, diapers, and left over party materials at the pavilion,” Harris explained.
“The city parks guys can’t possibly keep up with this kind of problem, and we felt it was on us to set an example as local citizens, and get that park cleaned up,” he added.
Loyalty’s Nation began cleaning the park a few days a week, and in a short time they began to see a shift in behavior at the park. The group wear’s bright yellow shirts and comes to the park armed with garbage bags, litter grabbers, and buckets from ACE Hardware. The group admits they’re hard to miss.
“After a few times at the park, some of the kids really perked up and actually started to help us clean the park,” Harris said.
“We try and talk with the kids and parents, we thank them for helping us, and we thank them in advance for not littering. It’s not perfect — there’s still little — but we’re seeing less of it, and we’re building relationships,” the community advocate added.
Harris said he grew up in an orphanage and has had to battle loneliness, depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety.
He said he was institutionalized, medicated, and didn’t have parents, but he always believed in himself as a selfless leader — and eager to influence those around him in a positive way.
As he persevered through life, he began his own record label, clothing line, recorded multiple music videos and albums, and participates in public speaking engagements — as well as community service projects like the Pinti Field effort.