Video report by Mike Magnoli, Fox CT
Text by Kelly Glista, Hartford Courant
HARTFORD — Standing above the 383 white crosses laid out carefully on the Capitol lawn Saturday morning, Rev. Henry Brown called for justice and closure for the families of the victims those crosses represent.
Each cross held the name of someone killed by a gun in Hartford. The crosses were carried to the state Capitol by family, friends and members of Mothers United Against Violence, as part of the group’s sixth annual march and rally to end gun violence.
“I don’t know about you, but people are tired of gun violence,” Brown said.
The group was joined by members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and other groups, as well as Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Hartford police chief James Rovella and ministers from several Hartford churches.
They marched more than a mile from the Wilson-Gray YMCA on Albany Avenue to the Capitol building, chanting and carrying signs and photographs of loved ones.
“We are determined never to forget their names,” said Pastor Sam Saylor. Saylor’s son, Shane Oliver, was shot and killed in 2012 at the age of 20.
The group’s president, Henrietta Beckman, who lost her son Randy to a shooting in 2002, urged the crowd to not give up on the children of the community.
“Our children need safe streets,” she said.
There have been 24 homicides in the city of Hartford since last year’s event in March, 20 of which involved guns, according to MUAV. On Saturday morning a bell was rung for each victim.
“Victims are the same everywhere,” said Stan McCauley, the event’s keynote speaker. “But how you respond to it is what makes the difference.”
Hartford saw 23 homicides in 2013 and 22 in 2012, according to police statistics. Statewide, the number of murders dropped below 100 for the first time in a decade last year, according to a memo from the governor’s office.