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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Women’s group aims to reduce violence

By Alexandra Sanders
Special to the Register
NEW HAVEN
— Sisters With A New Attitude, a local nonprofit women’s organization, will hold support meetings every Wednesday for women interested in reducing violence in the city.
The sessions, dubbed “Meeting of the Moms,” begin in June and are intended to provide a forum for women to brainstorm for solutions to end gun violence and find ways to protect their children and children in the community.
“There has been a lot of violence in the community. The son of a woman in the community died. He was a friend of my son’s. That really hit home,” said Deborah Elmore, president of SWANA.
Meeting of the Moms is an extension of SWANA. The Moms meetings will be held every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Wilson Library in New Haven in addition to the regular SWANA meetings, which are held the first and third Saturday of every month from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at 50 Fitch St. Anyone can become involved in the group.
“The door is always open,” Sister Elmore said.
Usually about 60 different women attend SWANA meetings. The new Moms group consists of mothers who have lost children or family members to gunfire as well as those looking to protect the community. On its fliers, the group urges brainstorming and action before more people have to make a “grave” decision.
Through previous brainstorming, SWANA has thought of possible solutions of curfews, jobs or mentors to help troubled youth. Many kids don’t have a father because of drugs or jail among other reasons, but kids need a good role model, said Elmore.
SWANA, affiliated with the Connecticut Women Consortium, was originally formed in 2002 by Elmore as a safe haven for women. It was initially a place where women could go to vent or receive support or encouragement. The growing rate of gun violence in the community has made the group increasingly more violence prevention oriented.
“I’ve heard enough heartbreaking stories. Someone needs to step up and do something,” said Elmore.
Alexandra Sanders is a New Haven Register intern.

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