Residents in the Clay Arsenal section of Hartford spent Saturday afternoon cleaning up city streets and concluded their day with a cookout.
Members of the police and fire departments joined the residents for the ‘Know Thy Neighbor’ event that organizers describe as crucial to build relationships within the community and familiarize residents with city leaders.
"This is very special,” said Hartford Fire Chief, Reginald Freeman, “when you can change neighborhoods, you can change a city."
A small section of Mather Street was blocked off for a few hours as neighbors volunteered to help clean up trash.
“We should know each other, we should know who our local policeman are, and our firefighters, as well,” said Reverend Eliezer Mercado, an organizer of the Faith Based Initiative non-profit in Hartford.
"During these times, it's definitely extremely important to bridge that gap," said Mercado.
Mercado stresses the importance of residents to come together to get to know one another, especially members of the police and fire departments.
"The first time that the community sees their fire department should not be during an emergency," said Freeman.
While the cleanup concluded with a cookout, organizers plan to continue to schedule initiatives similar to this event. As part of the initiative, residents, police officers, and fire fighters have had several meetings to discuss ways to improve their community and the city.
“It gets people aware of who is in the community, who is helping out, who the advocates are, said Hartford resident, Nichole Kane, “and who they can look up to in the community.”
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