In Washington, a U.S. House vote is expected on President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. The legislature is providing $ 5 billion to fight gun violence.
Before the weekend began, the two Connecticut senators gathered for a community roundtable in New Haven to discuss community outreach and how additional financial resources could help make an impact on a city that has experienced significant gun violence this year.
“It is simply not acceptable that gun homicide is the number one killer of black children and youth in this country,” said Senator Chris Murphy.
Addressing an issue facing many towns and cities in Connecticut, Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal listened to many people who are fighting to stop the violence.
The event, which happened on Friday, was powerful and informative. People who were directly affected by gun violence, and now seeking to end it, wanted their voices to be heard.
“It is 2021 and I am still on this battleground to fight gun violence,” said Marlene Miller Pratt, who lost her son to gun violence in 1998.
Miller Pratt was among those who supported the recent creation of the New Haven Botanical Healing Garden. A memorial, which includes hundreds of bricks, each bearing the name of a victim of gun violence in the city.
âWhen people walk in this garden, they see this trauma. They see this trauma that’s over the city, âMiller Pratt said.
Miller Pratt is not alone in this fight: Manny Camacho has joined the discussion. Despite being only 16, he says he was surrounded by violence as a child, growing up in Trenton, New Jersey, before moving to New Haven.
âI grew up being around gangs, I was taught the colors and how to identify rival gangs,â Camacho said. âYou basically learn to commit crimes. “
Camacho is a member of an awareness program known as âIce The Beefâ. The organization’s president, Chaz Carmon, said the program would be a program that could use an infusion of the Build Back Better Act.
âWe have no funding, I have never been paid for this work and we have been open for 10 years,â he said.
Mediation, education and advocacy are some of the things these community leaders are asking to increase if additional funds become available.
This is especially true for those whose names of loved ones are engraved on the bricks of the botanical garden.
“We are here in 2021 and we are still burying our youth,” added Pamela Jaynez, whose son was killed in 1997.