HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Greater Hartford NAACP started their “Wake Up Wednesday” initiative this week to unite the community amid increased violence in the city.
It’s all about bringing resources to people, so they set up a booth in the parking lot of Unity Plaza off Barbour Street.
The new initiative follows recent violence in Hartford, which saw six homicides in less than a week.
“We’re in crisis,” Greater Hartford Branch NAACP President Corrie Betts said. “That state of mind of urgency, 28, that’s unheard of.”
“Double murder, a person just got killed on the highway, another person just got killed, another person just got shot,” Connecticut NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile said.
A man was shot and killed Monday night on Lyme Street, marking the city’s 28th homicide of the year, exceeding last year’s numbers to date.
The NAACP says this event will fight back against this violence and bring unity. They want people to come out and have conversations that spark positive change.
Gail Hunter-Martin, 78, had those difficult talks Wednesday and hopes this helps the community she’s lived in her whole life.
“Who is it this morning,” Hunter-Martin said. “Whose mother does not have a child or doesn’t have a person? It’s every morning when I wake up, it’s somebody’s dead, and it wasn’t always like that.”
Wake Up Wednesdays also aims to bridge gaps between residents and resources by bringing them to the community. The booth had voter registration forms and sign-up sheets to join various organizations on Wednesday afternoon.
“Jobs, education, whatever it is to strengthen whatever infrastructures have been weakened,” Betts said.
Hartford State’s Attorney Sharmese Walcott showed her support. She said they are increasing their number of trials, but that’s only part of the solution.
“We are not going to arrest and prosecute our way out of it,” Walcott said. “It’s a piece, it’s a tool, but in addition to that, we need to strengthen the community. We want to stop or slow the number of cases coming that are coming through the door. It’s addressing the problem on all fronts.”
The events will have morning (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), afternoon (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.), and night (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) shifts so people will have the opportunity to attend before or after work.
They are asking volunteers to take four-hour shifts to help make this an all-day event.