HARTFORD -- A violent month of July has spilled into August. The homicide early this morning marked the 18th in Hartford this year. The seventh in a months’ time. This had voices from the community coming together asking for change.
This time those voices came from Hartford’s youth who are tired of the violence. They are asking for the community to come together and stop the hate.
“Gun violence isn’t the answer to all this,” said Jenais Belgrave.
Belgrave was among the youth from the New Wine Church and Community who came together calling for an end the violence.
“We should come together as a community to help lift each other up instead of killing people for stuff that in the long run doesn’t really matter,” said Belgrave.
Their message was simple. They won’t stand for hate in their community. Ignacio Ramos drove from New Haven with his son, Israel, to stand with the others. It was something he felt was important for his son to see.
“For him it’s important that he knows that life is important. That nobody has the power to take other people’s lives away. Only god,” said Ramos.
Ramos and the others wanted to set an example for the next generation that they hope will bring about the advancement the city needs.
“It’s important that they stand together so that they can stand for something more than just your average every day," said Darlene Perez the Youth Leader at New Wine Church and Community . "They need to know that they can change and impact the community as well.”
The signs and shirts they wore carried the slogan "Hartford Strong". Perez says it begins with taking pride in your community and be willing to be apart of the transformation.
“This doesn’t have to be what it is. The violence doesn’t have to continue. We can change that,” said Perez.
Together they are Hartford Strong, hoping the violence ends with love, God and a willingness to turn the other cheek.
“You're still a man and more important you’re still alive,” said Ramos.
During a service that followed the rally they spoke about peace. They called for a Hartford that could be a place where they feel their children could be safe. As a community they hope to be a part of that change.