What is it? Hartford Together is a growing coalition of Hartford organizations who are joining together to put an end to violence in Hartford, and specifically gun violence. Hartford Together is not an organization but rather an informal association of organizations, agencies, and individuals committed to ending all forms of violence. How did it start? In 2015 some members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford met with Dr. David Hemenway of Harvard’s School of Public Health to talk with him about how Boston had handled violence and how they had managed the “Boston Miracle.” The Boston Miracle refers to a period when Boston reduced youth homicides to ZERO for multiple consecutive years. Energized by this conversation they began reaching out to institutional stakeholders in Hartford to explore how they could bring focus to violence prevention efforts in the city. Shortly thereafter, they had support from Mothers United Against Violence, Project Longevity, Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Many others have joined in since then.
Who is part of this? Everyone is welcome. The existing list of involved organizations is reflected in the logos at the bottom of the page. In fact, for this effort to succeed we need everyone together. Hartford Together seeks to serve as a meeting place, a tool for conversations, and a structure that can serve to keep the focus on violence prevention across organizations, agencies, within the community, and even outside the community. Only by keeping a focus on efforts to reduce/prevent violence will we be able to garner the support for policies that will build on violence prevention work that is currently ongoing. There is no single agency, organization, or individual that can solve the problem of violence alone. How can we put an end to violence in the city? There is no easy answer because there is no single thing that we can do that will stop violence. There are, however, lots of things we can do to stop/prevent violence. And when we do lots of things together we can make a difference. One of the lessons from Boston (click here to download a brief on what happened in Boston) is that we need intensity and focus from everyone on this issue. Together we can reach a “tipping point” after which we will be able to measure a reduction in violence. In the City of Hartford we already have many organizations and programs dedicated to building safe communities and reducing violence. The good news is that progress has been made. Hartford Together seeks to further collaboration and cooperation among all parties in an effort to accelerate advancement to the “tipping point.” The following is a list of many but not all organizations and programs currently working on reducing violence in the city:
[if we missed your organization or program, please send us a comment]
Who is in charge? Hartford Together is led by a Steering Committee that makes decisions by consensus. Institutional members include the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, Project Longevity, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center, the Connecticut Injury Prevention Center (Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center), UCONN School of Social Work, SINA, and Mothers United Against Violence. We hope that you will join us. Steering Committee meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend, so please contact us to learn more.
What do we know? We know that other similar coordination/collaboration efforts have been tried in the past. These efforts even met with a degree of success but in the end could not be sustained. It is long term commitment to solving complex problems that will make the difference in Hartford. We believe that to sustain Hartford Together we need to meaningfully engage with stakeholders at the individual and community levels and with agencies across sectors in creating a sense of common purpose. We know that change cannot be imposed from the outside but that it needs to come from the community. We know that building trust and coming to understand the value of partnership will be the key to success or failure. We also know that a key group of motivated people can change the trajectory of events for good or ill. We ask you to join us in this effort, Hartford Together.