Residents, police invited to Saturday 'Stop the Violence' event in Arnold
Hank Commodore wants everybody to “get on board with love and stop the violence.”
That's why he's co-hosting an event this weekend with the same name.
“You see so many different things with all these shootings and stabbings and people killing each other,“ Commodore said.
“We need to learn how to love each other.”
Get on Board With Love and Stop the Violence will be held Saturday at Roosevelt Park in Arnold.
It is being thrown by Commodore, a former New Kensington-Arnold School District administrator, and Donielle Owen, founder and executive director of The Youth Project Inc., a New Kensington-based nonprofit.
The purpose of the event is to bridge the gap between the public and law enforcement.
“We (have) a lot of good role models in New Kensington and Arnold,” said Commodore, 69, of Leechburg. “We want to light the fire here and pass the torch all over the world.”
New Kensington police Chief James Klein said he will attend the event, which will feature community leaders, law enforcement officers and firefighters.
He said it will help his officers address citizens concerns and find out what is going on in the community.
“Everybody wants that community where you can sit out on your porch in the evening and watch kids play on the sidewalks, or around in yards, and not have to worry about crime affecting the area,“ Klein said. “The only way that can all come about is if the community and the police department work together.”
Klein said it's hard for his officers to find time to talk with residents, especially since beat patrols have been eliminated.
He said the event will be a good way for his officers to develop connections with citizens they don't know and strengthen relationships with the ones they already do.
“The days of having police officers walk the beat — it would be awesome if we could go back to that,” Klein said. “Unfortunately, with budget restraints ... manpower gets shorter and shorter, but the call volume never does.”
The event will feature games, raffles and giveaways.
Donations are welcome and will benefit The Youth Project Inc., which is trying to renovate its Fifth Avenue building.
The Youth Project Inc. offers mentoring, counseling, life skills, dropout prevention, education, career planning, drug and alcohol prevention and training for at-risk youth and first-time offenders, according to its website.
Owen, 43, of Penn Hills grew up in New Kensington and graduated from Valley High School in 1992. She said the event is meant to bring the community together and raise awareness for all the violence, racism and hate going on in the world today.
“Hopefully this helps change the mindset a little bit,” she said.