Calaveras Street Celebration

5/11/2008 Fresno, CA The celebration on Calaveras street was the first of its kind, and people who live there couldn't have been more appreciative.

Fresno firefighters hosed down kids and repelled from a ladder truck while Fresno police played catch. It all happened on Calaveras Street Saturday, where Rob Defrees lives and works for change.

"If we can make every one of these young folks step up and be civic minded and morally responsible, we win. We don't have to build more prisons. And we don't have to take care of people dying because they put poison in their bodies," said Defrees.

Defrees calls drugs "poison" and said less are being sold here since he moved to Calaveras street a year ago.

Defrees invited bands and clowns to come to Calaveras Saturday for a block party called "An Evening of Music -- Hands Across Fresno."

The activities were for kids but adults were also excited to attend. Calaveras Street resident Roselie Burhop said, "I am enjoying today… My first time to experience this kind of thing."

Silvia Villanueva attended with her children. "I think it's good because we get to know our neighbors, and the people who live on the block."

Defrees also invited people to join hands Saturday night and create a human chain to show drug dealers and gang members they're taking their neighborhood back. He's hoping "Hands Across Fresno" will inspire more civic pride, one person at a time.

"This is important because this makes them realize that they can be brilliant. That there are folks in the city who are of the belief that they are brilliant," said Defrees.

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