HARTFORD - Reverend Al Sharpton is joining the Hartford community demanding an end to the city’s violence. He’s also donating $1,000 of his own money to help build a memorial for the victims.
On Saturday afternoon, Rev. Sharpton was one of around 150 who marched a mile and a half through Hartford from Mount Moriah Baptist Church to Shiloh Baptist Church, culminating in a rally inside. Local Reverend Dr. Boise Kimber invited him to Hartford to speak after a dozen shootings in less than a month.
“If I could help to encourage them and help to give a sense of self-worth by marching through the community with the churches, I think that`s the least I could do,” Sharpton said.
Before his turn to speak, another local preacher, Pastor Marcus Mosiah Jarvis, interrupted the program. He questioned how a collection for Sharpton’s non-profit The National Action Network would help the people in Hartford.
“Don’t you come up in here asking us for money,” Jarvis shouted.
Sharpton responded by taking the podium. He said the money raised will stay in the city to build a memorial for victims of violence. He then donated his own money to the fund.
Sharpton encouraged the community to give young people hope and to prove to them their lives matter - that they don’t want their names on that memorial.
“Let’s bring kids and say, ‘Look at that. This kid died this way, this kid died that way,’ and if we tell that story, maybe you can get to some kid," he said. "If it saves two lives it`s worth it.”
The idea for the memorial wall came from Hartford’s Rev. Henry Brown’s speech during the rally. Brown says he hopes Saturday’s conversation will continue after Sharpton is gone.
“He`s a national figure and we`re glad that he came," Brown said. "But the question remains when he leaves - where do we go then?”.