Organizer unphased by small turnout for Thursday’s ‘Stop the Violence’ marches

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BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WHEC) — Community activists are pushing for engagement when it comes to ending the violence epidemic we have in the city.

There was a small crowd during Thursday night’s marches, but that isn’t going to stop the mission. Clay Harris, the founder of United and Healing Through Hope of Monroe County, was unbothered by the size of the crowd.

He said change isn’t easy, but this is only the beginning.

"You know what God told me?" Harris said. "If 10 people show up it’s success because it has never been done before so we’re excited that we got about 30 people.”

They say one’s a party but two’s a crowd, and that’s how Harris takes his events. With signs held high marchers came from Westfall Road and Jefferson Road, meeting up at Monroe Community College for a conversation on violence.

"A lot of people are disappointed and hurting that people are dying and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing we want them to come out and help,” Harris added.

Seventy percent of the city’s 2021 homicides involved a gun. The others were stabbings and crashes. About 60% of these homicide cases are still open. In the crowd were Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and police officers from around the county.

"If it’s not a homicide but we do tend to see some violence in our calls in town we are here to help in any way we can,” said Julio Montes of the Brighton Police Department.

Multiple town supervisors say their concern is the spread of violence to smaller suburbs and hope to plan for larger walk and talks soon.

"We need to do something to restore people’s belief in themselves and peoples support for the community as a whole,” said Rush Town Supervisor Gerald Kusse.