DENVER — Community members gathered in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood on Saturday in response to recent violence in the northeastern part of the city.
The Struggle of Love Foundation partnered with the Denver Safe Haven, Denver Police Department, and other organizations to host a community event at Montbello Central Park.
It provided an opportunity for community members to learn about resources available to them to help them cope with violence in the community.
“I think that the biggest takeaway for all of us is to be able to bring the sense of togetherness during this time,” said Auon’tai Anderson, the operations manager at the Struggle of Love Foundation. “This community is hurting.”
Saturday’s event also gave community members a chance to hang out and build stronger bonds with other community members and people from organizations who are working to address violence.
“We’re all focusing on the same mission and that’s to keep our community safe,” said Anderson.
Izayah Aggers is just 18 years old, but he has already lost more friends than most people twice his age.
“Lately, it's been pretty bad,” said Aggers. “I have a lot of friends that have passed a lot of friends that’s been missing.”
Aggers said one friend was killed in violence this past week.
Denver Police say 16-year-old Tayanna Manuel’s body was found near the intersection of Telluride Street and Green Valley Ranch Boulevard.
“She was a sweet little girl. She just passed for no reason,” said Aggers.
According to the Denver Police Department crime dashboard, 86 people have been murdered in the city this year.
Thousands of other people have been victims of other types of violent crime.
Overall violent crime in Denver has increased by 22% over the past three years, according to the dashboard.
Aggers said he does not understand why such violence occurs.
“The thing that goes through my mind is ‘Why? Why are we doing this to our own community? Why are we killing our own community?’” Aggers said.