New faces join Rochester City Council, weigh in on city violence

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — City activists who marched their way to a seat on the Rochester City Council have a focus to end city violence. Five members of the community were sworn in to the city council Monday.

One of those new faces sitting on council is Stanley Martin, an organizer of Free The People Roc. She says, her plan is to use her community action skills, to curb city violence.

"All that happens here, all this voting nonsense, it doesn’t matter if people are still dying in the streets,” Martin told News10NBC.

Martin says it’s disturbing that gun violence took the life of another young teen. A 14-year-old was shot and killed Sunday night while walking to his neighborhood corner store.

"It’s unfathomable to think that our youth are losing their lives at such an alarming rate,” Martin said.

Martin, a longtime community activist knows firsthand what’s happening on the ground in Rochester. From organizing city-wide marches, now to a seat of power, she says ending violence will be a challenge.

"Ensuring that they have access to employment, access to education, access to safe recreation to curb the violence, I believe that if they have a sustainable living wage and access to opportunities things might change,” Martin said.

Mayor Malik Evans also said fighting city violence is going to be difficult.

"Our most pressing challenges is the community solutions we have to get guns off the street, we have to arrest the most violent offenders and we have to interrupt disputes before they become violent or lead to violence,” Evans said.

Along with Martin, other members were sworn in Monday, including, Kim Smith, Miguel Melendez, who is now the council president, Mitch Gruber and Willie Lightfoot.