Video report by Mike Magnoli, Fox CT
Text by Kelly Glista, The Hartford Courant
HARTFORD — Outraged by an assault on a 72-year-old community activist this week, residents rallied outside of City Hall Saturday morning to show support for him and to denounce violence in Hartford.
“This is something that we needed to do because we’ve reached a new low, it seems,” said Andrew Woods, executive director of the nonprofit Hartford Communities That Care Inc.
Woods organized the rally and press conference after Carl Hardrick, known to many as “Brother Carl,” was robbed and beaten on his way from from work Monday night. Hardrick said five or six young people struck him repeatedly, forced him to the ground and attempted to rob him.
All they got away with was a pair of glasses, Hardrick said, but the crime galvanized the community into action.
“Somehow we’re not doing what we need to do in this community,” he said to the crowd on Saturday.
Loud approval rang out from the people gathered as Woods, Hardrick and other community leaders talked about the need to stop violence in the city, especially among young people. Woods brought up block watches, an idea he says worked in the past to bring down crime in some Hartford neighborhoods.
“We have got to look at some things that have worked in the past and bring them back now,” Woods said.
When young people are committing acts of violence, young people need to step up and stop it, Hardrick said.
Hardrick, who works at the Wilson-Gray YMCA and has been a leading voice and advocate for youth for more than 50 years, said he has walked streets in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and has never before experienced an attack like this.
“Walked all those streets and never been touched,” he said. “And then I tried to walk home.”