Community members will have the chance to spend a day with police officers in Hartford on Saturday.
It's an effort to Stomp the Violence. Community leaders said they hope the event will be an ongoing dialogue in the capital city.
With cymbals crashing, members of the Hartford's Proud Drill, Drum, & Dance corp got used to the stage at the former Quirk Middle School on Friday.
The group is dedicated to giving young people a violence free atmosphere and was founded by Terry Starks.
"To keep the kids off the street, that's our main focus,” Starks said. “That’s our goal."
Starks said she is no stranger to violence herself. Nine years ago, her daughter's boyfriend was shot and killed in front of her on the street in Hartford.
"From day one it was like, ‘we have to do something,’” Starks said. “We have to do something."
Continuing with that mission, her group will be part of Stomp the Violence on Saturday. The day focuses on solutions with the community and the police department.
"There is no line,” Hartford Police Sgt. Steven Austin said. “We're all here together and we can only grow and elevate ourselves as a community if we're all in this together."
The idea came out of a community forum this past summer during a deadly streak of violence in Hartford.
"One event by itself won't do that,” Richard Frieder with the Hartford Public Library said. “But, if enough of them are done and if there's enough relationship building, it can contribute to minimizing or preventing violence in the neighborhood."
The event is intended to be fun, but also address the serious topic of violence and how to stop it one young life at a time.
"We just happy to be a part of this environment that's going to change lives throughout the New England area, but most importantly our 18 square miles of Hartford Connecticut,” Dean Jones of Hoopwave said.
Stomp the Violence starts at 9:30 a.m. at the former Quirk Middle School. It runs until 2 p.m. All Hartford residents are welcome to attend the event.
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