HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It is the first-of-a-kind institute, where city leaders from New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford, and Waterbury can learn techniques to stop the violence and take them back to their cities.
“We can build, we can do research, we can do pilot programs, and we are training intervenors…,” said JoAnn Price, co-chair of the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute. “When you see people come together like this, there’s something powerful about that image.”
The Brother Carl Hardrick Institute for Violence Prevention and Community Engagement is named after Brother Carl Hardrick, who has served for decades on the streets in Hartford.
“You do it because you care. It’s not how much you know in this community or in the city or in the state, it’s how much you care,” Hardrick said.
The institution just finished its first class of 36 community leaders who all have the same thing in common with Brother Carl — they care deeply.
“The people that we serve, I was them at one time, and somebody came and gave me that safe place and that opportunity and now I am able to give back to the community,” said Jamaal Folston of Hartford.
“I’ve been through a lot of traumatic experiences in my life, so the simple fact that I can be that person to show that I changed, I am changing,” said Dayzra Bournes of Windsor.
Through four days of classes, they learned deescalating techniques, how to stop retaliation and organize people on the street.
“Positive strategies on coping skills as opposed to them being involved in gang violence,” said Rosetta Washington of New Haven.
“Putting out the proper information so retaliation doesn’t happen and we can prevent it the best way we can,” said Rev. Sylvester “Sly” Turner Jr. of Union Baptist Church in Hartford.
The next class will begin in a couple of months. In that time, they also hope to take the program and certify it nationally.