‘I am hopeful that with love we’ll conquer this’ Community gathers for day of prayer, calls to end violence

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Community organizers and faith leaders Saturday came together in a day of prayer, with a mission to help stop the violence on their minds.

The group gathered in the parking lot of the Walmart on Hudson Avenue, where four people were shot and one person was killed in June. Community members told News10NBC’s Emily Putnam that Rochester doesn’t just have a violence problem, but also a spiritual problem, and fixing one could help fix the other.

About 10 speakers from different areas of the community, all hit on a similar theme of needing to come together in order to curb the violence. Faith leaders from victory living Christian Faith Center, First Genesis Baptist Church, and other churches offered prayers for police, politicians, and family members of victims.

The group was joined by officers from the Rochester Police Department and deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, a representative from the office of presumptive Mayor-elect Malik Evans addressed the crowd and talked about how Evans’ administration plans to use federal money to create more programs for kids.

Bishop Gregory Wells told News10NBC he believes the violence is due in part to people being distressed and financially frustrated.

"I think we’re just seeing a reflection of people feeling’s coming out and so we think coming out playing a little music and just talking about it, letting people voice their opinions," Wells said. "We think we can bring some resolution to that, but I think that we have some community ills, some societal ills, that is a direct reflection of what we’re seeing in Rochester right now."

During Saturday’s service, there was a moment of silence that lasted 38 seconds, in honor of the 38 victims of violence so far this year in Rochester.

One of those victims, was Eric Ruise, who was gunned down on Jefferson Avenue on June 16. Eric’s father, David Sturgis, told News10NBC through his family’s pain, he was there to pray for a purpose.

"I’m here at this event today because it’s painful, yes I hurt," Sturgis said. "His siblings hurt. but we’re hopeful."

Check out this extra with David Sturgis, as told by News10NBC’s Deanna Dewberry.

[anvplayer video=”5042485″ station=”998131″]

Sturgis, like others at the event, said they are people of faith, and the hope is for healing.

" I am hopeful that with love we’ll conquer this we’ll get through this," Sturgis said.