ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Multiple local organizations teamed up on Saturday to stand up against gun violence and other crimes plaguing the streets of Rochester by holding festival-like events.
Overcome Worldwide Initiatives Inc. and Uniting and Healing Through Hope of Monroe County hosted two separate gatherings at Parcel 5 and the Highland Bowl. Both events used live music performances, poetry, prayer services, and more to take back our streets from crime.
People like George Alexander and his granddaughter trickled into Parcel 5 and the Highland Bowl to send out positive vibes, showing Rochester that they won’t tolerate crime.
“We need to come together and try to stop the violence,” Alexander said. “I know it’s hard but everybody is sort of coming together and that’s all you can hope for. One day everybody will get the message and things will get better.”
Long-time Rochester residents like Sharon Outler and Carl Williams reminisced about a time when shootings and other serious crimes weren’t popping up on a weekly basis.
“Maybe some of the laws got relaxed and a lot of people don’t have respect for one another and when they don’t have respect for you it just leads to chaos,” said Williams.
Outler and Williams also hope that community events such as these can push the Rochester community to not tolerate violent crime.
“Coming to this event will help people hopefully see how everyone is invested in the community and want change,” Outler said.
Leaders of both organizations hosting the events said they saw their message spread more effectively through prayer services, local poets advocating for peace, and live music.
“We’re going to seek God on behalf of Rochester. So much going on and we believe in the power of prayer and so it’s time for us to stand up as a unified body,” said Ken Sayres, Executive Director of Overcome Worldwide Initiatives Inc. “The body of Christ to say we believe in Rochester, we’re standing for Rochester, and we’re praying for Rochester.”
“We have to come together and that’s why we’re calling it to stop the violence,” said Clay Harris, President of Uniting and Healing Through Hope of Monroe County. “It’s a family affair because we need to bring the family back together. Because that’s the unit that stabilizes a society.”
The Uniting and Healing Through Hope of Monroe County plan to continue their gathering at the Highland Bowl on Sunday morning — starting with a church service on stage from 10 a.m. until the afternoon. Performances ran until 9 p.m.