ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A shooting that injured a parishioner at a Rochester church this week has created a renewed sense of urgency for supporters of the Stop the Violence Campaign in Monroe County.
Clay Harris, founder of Uniting and Healing Through Hope of Monroe County, discussed a planned press conference Thursday during News 8 at Noon.
“We called an emergency press conference because the church on Merrimac Street – two evenings ago when we were actually having our Stop the Violence Faith Conference Dinner we learned when we got out of there – that the church got shot up and one of the parishioners inside got shot,” said Harris. “We’re going to have a press conference there at 3:30 to show solidarity with the church and with churches in general, and – of course – with our general community. We want everyone to come out.”
Police are still looking for the person who pulled the trigger that night. Harris addressed the challenge of reaching that person and convincing them to change their ways. “Herein lies the quad-trillion dollar question and answer. The answer that I have and the only answer that I know is remotely possible is that we’ve got to reach their hearts and their minds. We have to supplant this hard-heartedness, this darkness of a heart, this non-conscious of light and non-value of life, with the love of Christ to be quite honest with you. I don’t know any other way and there’s no other love that’s greater than the love of God and the love of Jesus Christ. And if we can sit down and share by coming together and strategizing – and bringing solutions to the table is what we’re about to do – we’ll be able to reach these folk, whoever they are – and they’re primarily young people, and we’ve got to reach their families and we’ve got to let them know that there’s a better way in life. It’s precious and it’s the sanctity and we have to save it, including theirs.”
Harris has targeted June 5 for a community-wide outreach event. “On June 5 we have marches and rallies planned throughout the City,” he said. “We want people to participate. Got to our website www.unitingthroughhope.com and it will give directions and understanding about what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to bring every facet of the community, every town, and every village, whether you live in Pittsford or Henrietta or Chili or Brighton or the Four Quadrants of the City, we want to bring us all together because we are all a family, we are all a community, and we have to come together and not take this as being normal. And we have to put things in place to change it, but we have to take a stand. If we do take a stand, together we can make a difference.”