Community gun violence task force launched by local organizations

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Two community groups in Albany are forming a volunteer-led task force in an effort to stop the shootings and heal the deep wounds of recent gun violence.

“We just kind of had the perfect storm, and unfortunately, that perfect storm resulted in harm and loss of life,” said Dannielle Hille, of A Block at a Time.

In June alone, four people were killed and more than 30 people injured in shootings across Albany. Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins chalking it up, in part, to a small group of violent offenders taking advantage of the pandemic’s impact on police. 

“Once again, we have failed our community by not coming together,” said Eva Bass of Bridge the Gap.

The leaders of both non-profits have launched a gun violence task force to give the community a voice rather than leaving it up to police and government agencies.

“If you feel like you want to be involved and you want to help, this is the place for you,” said Hille.

With the first meeting to be held virtually this week, the discussions will focus on strengthening existing resources and brainstorming new ones. 

“Support where we’re weak and come together to strategize to take action,” said Bass.

The impact of the recent shootings stretches well beyond the victims.

“Every time you hear of shooting it’s like a little stab in your heart again and those memories flood back,” explained Ruth Senchyna.

She lost her nephew to gun violence out-of-state years ago, and she’s among those on the task force turning tragedy into activism.

“Everybody is seeing that people are dying, they’re hurting, and we really need to figure out how we can fix that,” said Bass.

The goals: find solutions and heal a community’s pain.

“For me, I feel that the best therapy is getting involved to change reality,” said Senchyna.

If you have a question to submit to the task force or if you’d like to join, click here.

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