A group of Connecticut power players are coming together on a mission in the community to help end gun violence. They’re looking to the teachings of a community legend still working today to try to make change happen.
For Carl Hardrick, getting in the way of violence in the capital city is life’s calling.
Known in the community as “Brother Carl,” for decades this Hartford native, a son of Bellevue Square, has worked to help young people in the community choose alternatives to violence and dream of a better life for themselves and their families.
And now, the work of this man of the people is the basis for the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute for Violence Prevention.
It’s a training program that will put more people like Brother Carl, violence interrupters and interveners, into the streets to try to deter gun violence.
“We go from the suites to the streets. We go from the jail to Yale. We get as many people as possible to look at how do we solve this crime problem” said Hardrick.
It’ll be based inside the Wilson Gray YMCA and train cohorts of violence interrupters beginning in December. Powered by community and corporate partners and a team of ambassadors from The Cloud Company, Trinity Health, Big Brothers Big Sisters and more.
JoAnn Price, managing partner of Fairview Capital is one of the Institute’s visionaries.
“We use brother Carl's image, and work to be able to say that this man is a Community Hero. So when we look at the Institute, we look at him as a role model to be able to build” said Price.
Stephen Bayer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford helped dream up the idea.
“It's an action on the part of the community that provides not only hopefully, violence prevention, but hope. Hope is the power that moves the community” said Bayer.
For Brother Carl, this work is more personal than ever. His grandson Makhi Buckley was shot to death in Hartford over the summer.
Still working hard in his community after decades of never giving up, Hardrick says this new effort is all about making sure his work and the power of community can live on forever.
“I don’t have all the answers. But I know what I do. I know what works and I know why it works.”