Message of Hope Erected After Violence in New Haven

By Josh Chapin and Stephanie O'Connell
|  Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014  |  Updated 11:05 AM EDT
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A New Haven organization is sending a message to its neighbors, saying

A New Haven organization is sending a message to its neighbors, saying "You are important to us." It hangs across the street from the Westville Manor apartments after a series of violent incidents.

A non-profit organization in New Haven is hoping that the three simple words, “You Are Important,” will help to spread an anti-violence message to the city youth after four shootings in six days since last week.

Solar Youth, a nonprofit that helps young people become problem solvers instead of makers, created the message and the words adorn a banner strung across a fence in the Westville Manor section of the city.

“This came not necessarily from any kind of long-term strategy,” Joanne Sciulli, director of Solar Youth, said. “This was just a response from our hearts.”

Solar Youth decided that the corner of Springside and Level streets would be the best location for the banner since it is a high-visibility area.

“People need to hear that message all over,” said Fred James, a New Haven resident. “Not just here, everywhere.”

After putting up the banner, the organization invited neighborhood residents to write their own messages of hope and anti-violence. They said they hope will translate from the canvas to the streets.

“What's going on now lately is not where you want to feel comfortable and we wish it would come to a halt,” said Loretta Parker, of New Haven.

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