Over 100 Turnout for Community Prayer at Central Park
Alderman and Rev. Kristian Rosado, Mayor Erin Stewart, local religious leaders, elected officials, and members of the New Britain Police Department led a community prayer at Central Park in a sign of solidarity against violence on Wednesday night.
Following last week’s shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota as well as five Dallas, TX police officers, the City held the prayer to pray for peace and unity in the country.
“In such a short time the whole Country was put in a whirlwind. As the nation was responding and trying to make sense of it all, the City of New Britain began to quickly come together collectively in a pro-active fashion in order to guard against the very thing that are the root causes of hate, bigotry, racism and violence,” said Rosado. “Over the last week we have seen such an outpouring of prayers, love, appreciation and encouragement poured out among the victims of unlawful violence. I make this urgent call to those that are gathered here that we must choose to be the head and not the tail when it comes to properly responding to tragic events and each other.”
Rosado added that we need to be an “All American City in the way we love, the way we educate our children, the ways we govern our community and how to respond to tragedy.”
Mayor Stewart told the crowd of about 100 that, “It is extremely unfortunate that tragic events have brought us to the point that we are standing here in Central Park together like this.”
She said moments like this bring us closer together as a community.
“The gun violence that is taking place across the country almost on a daily basis is heartbreaking, unexplainable, unacceptable and it is absolutely avoidable. We pray not only for those who lost their lives, but for those who just want to get home at the end of the night,” Stewart said addressing the New Britain Police Department. “The members of our police department are some of the best police officers in the State. We are lucky to have them keeping our community safe and putting their lives on the line when an emergency strikes. We need them as much as they need us.”
Residents of the City dropped off food and other items to the City police department last week to show them how much they were appreciated.
“We have all walks of life that live along side of each other here in the City,” said Stewart. “We are setting an example that others across the State and Nation should be following. We are setting a new standard for what citizens and their interactions with the police department should look like.”
Rosado then said a prayer and asked that residents go to someone they don’t know and give them a hug.
Police Chief James Wardwell said this event affirms what the department has done over the past four years.
“We are building relationships and are never satisfied that it is strong enough. We always want to improve in doing what we do and listen to the community we serve,” Wardwell said. “If there is not a bridge existing somewhere, we will build one. For the bridges that exist, we want to make them stronger. We are not reactionary. We have been pro-active for years.”
Other leaders praised the community and the police department.
“I think it is so important that our community is together,” said State Representative Robert Sanchez. “If we continue with our unity, we will never see what is happening around the Country happen in New Britain.”
“Our police department has been an inspiration to the community and they work well with everyone,” said Ald. Jim Sanders Jr. “Our department is integrated with the community. Our department and chief are phenomenal.”
“It was very good to have this event and to see the community respond,” said Ald. Carlo Carlozzi. “More and more communities should have the relationships we do between our police department and our residents.”