Victims of violence themselves, Hartford family helps others

HARTFORD — It’s been several years since Tyrek Marquez was shot in the head when he was 7-years-old.

His family is turning his pain into something good by giving back to members impacted by violence in the Hartford community.

Tyrek Marquez went out for what he thought was a day of fun back in 2008, when he attended the West Indian Parade with his friends on Main Street in Hartford. A fight erupted, and as shots were fired Marquez was hit in the head.

Eight years later his mother held a Victims Against Violence Holiday event, where about 200 people came out.

His mother, September Chatfield, put the event together, for support for anyone who has faced any kind of violence, not just gun related. Chatfield said she has been able to support about 26 families through community donations, who have gone through violence themselves.

“This is a healing process for me and my son because I felt as though its going into the community helping those while they are under so much distress because they have been impacted or they lost a family member,” Chatfield said.

“When I was in the hospital for two months my mom lost her job and we were going to get kicked out of our apartment, so nobody really wanted to help us after I got shot and my mom had to care for me 24 hours,” Marquez said.

Community members rallied behind Chatfield by either sharing a story of violence they’ve faced in their life, or dancing the pain away to an uplifting song.

Each child was able to pick a toy at the end of the event to take home for the holidays.

“When she does this it’s kind of joyful to see all the kids some of them who are gonna have a good Christmas, and some of them who are here be has they really aren’t going to have a good Christmas,” Marquez said.