ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester-based organization announced a “Stop the Violence” campaign in an effort to help curb recent violence in the city.
Uniting and Healing through Hope of Monroe County plans to reach out to at-risk populations and try to help steer them away from violence.
Church Leaders, school officials, police agencies and many others gathered to kick-off the campaign on Thursday. Organizers say it has to be a collective effort.
“We’re here to come together to finally shine a bright spotlight on some darkness that has been permeating in our community for decades,” Founder Clay Harris said. “We have not put a concerted, consistent effort to combat it and to hopefully eliminate it.”
The group plans on holding semi-annual summits and establishing a task force to identify root causes of violence in Rochester.
The University of Rochester Medical Center also held on Thursday to address gun violence in Rochester and what can be done to help combat it. The keynote speaker, Dr. Eugenia South, an assistant professor from the Perelman School of Medicine, says a lot of it has to do with the lack of resources available to some communities.
“Often times when I hear people talking about gun violence, I hear people saying , ‘what is wrong with those kids? What’s wrong with them?’ Because it often is young people and adolescents,” Dr. South said.
“And that’s the wrong question. The question is not what’s wrong with them. The question is, ‘what is wrong with our system and our structures that have allowed something as terrible as gun violence to proliferate in our Black urban communities?'”
Dr. South adds greater investments in the community and more revitalization projects could help curb the uptick in violence.