Daniel Hunt - New Haven Community Advocate
In the City of New Haven, there have been some new non-traditional emerging forces happening consistently for over the past two years that have been a part of reducing group/gang gun violence and attempting to reconcile police to the community with little or no fanfare. Some time ago, a young man from the Hill by the name of Daniel Hunt came up with the brilliant idea of creating “Community Walks .” In these community walks, the Chief of Police or one of his assistant chiefs, along with the department’s command staff, would join Daniel to walk throughout designated districts, which most often were communities of color. How Daniel, an education para-professional, arrived at this concept has been life-altering and ingenious. What is achieved with great success was a way for police personnel to interact with the communities they served in a more personal manner. When a train of police officers, along with social service providers, educators, everyday residents interact with residents on their front porches, over their fences, or standing at a bus stop or corner. It breaks down the perceived distance and enmity that most people believe to exist between police and the community. It lessens the fear that a child might have of a policeman, teacher, or city official when they are engaging you just like a parent, aunt, uncle, or even your grandparent. When the gift of laughter or concern is made real, and people realize that all are here to help, and let you know they care. To be a part of one is truly a joy because of the connections that are made to the community, but also, more importantly, by those that participate in the walks. Those that participate run the gamut of professions and walks of life. What brings them to the walk is a way of implementing or fulfilling community outreach in
tion, a member of the clergy, or a neighbor who wants the best for their community, all are compelled to reach out, touch, and to be a part of the change — knowing that it’s time to tear down the old models of alienation, and to replace them a new model of how our communities are treated, and how we of the community build stronger ties to access the reins of power. Daniel Hunt, a young activist, deserves to be applauded in the successful and consistent way he has created for the police and others to come in contact with the community. Daniel received an award in 2018 for his actions, but the truth of the matter he deserves many more. For someone of his age of twenty-two, he exhibits great wisdom in achieving this monumental method of community engagement, empowerment, and healing.
Project Longevity New Haven salutes and thanks Daniel for doing what he does best as a community activist. He is truly on the front line of the battlefield, making a difference for us all. He truly magnifies and embodies the Project Longevity motto of “ Together, We Will Save Lives.”
- Stacy Spell, Project Longevity New Haven -