Troy Unity House hosts gun awareness block party

Rensselaer County

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As gun violence continues to rise in the Capital Region, the Unity House in Troy invited the community to stand up and speak out.

In recognition of gun violence awareness month, the Unity House held a block party fundraiser event on Friday night to benefit community safety.

“Our city has been plagued by gun violence and so has the Capital Region. So many families have been affected,” said Sarah McGaughnea, Unity House Program Director.

With the community being largely affected by violence this past year, Unity House Domestic Violence Services team members felt it was important to come together and raise awareness about gun violence.

During Troy Night Out this week, it featured a night of live music courtesy of the Brule Country Bad Boys and talks from gun violence awareness speakers.

“We got some speakers and a lot of musicians who have all donated their time because they feel this is so important and have been impacted by the uptick in gun violence,” said McGaughnea.  

The pandemic has had an impact on groups working to curb gun violence.

“There hasn’t been as many events in the community, so we are bringing more awareness with all the events we are doing now,” said James Chestnut, program manager for Troy 518 Snug.

The Unity House also partnered with local restaurants, Nighthawks and McAddy’s Pub. They all teamed up to teach young people about other ways to solving conflict.

“Kids love music, they love being together and they love good food. I mean theres no reason that you couldn’t use this as an alternative to doing something else,” said Shelly Hegan, Troy resident.  

“It’s utilizing the arts which are often underutilized. The arts actually brings all realms of people together,” said Sean Iacopelli, local performer.

Organizers say this event is a way to raise awareness all and proceeds will support Unity House’s anti-community violence efforts.

“We need the opportunity to grow and be able to do things in life thats productive so we can make this whole community productive at the same time,” said Chestnut.

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