For the second consecutive year, Hope 4 Johnstown is holding a community forum to begin the year setting the standard for zero homicides in 2019.
Hope 4 Johnstown, a local grassroots organization focused on eliminating violence in the community, will also present information about the Cure Violence model as a public health intervention to change the culture around violence, according to the Rev. Reginald Floyd, associate minister at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Hornerstown.
The forum, scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at Greater Johnstown Middle School, is meant to bring the community together in eliminating violence, but also forming a more cohesive community.
“We need community input,” Floyd said. “It’s definitely not about us, it’s about everybody.”
Cambria County saw 11 homicides in 2017, the highest single-year total since the early 1980s. Two homicides were investigated in 2018.
Floyd, a retired Johnstown police officer, said he responded to several homicide calls. Following years with little to no homicides, he also saw the number of violent deaths begin to increase again.
“I thought, ‘somebody has to do something,’ ” he said. “And then one day I looked in the mirror and I said, ‘somebody is me.’ ”
Just as athletic teams begin each season working to win championships, Floyd said the event serves to begin the year focused on preventing homicides and praying for the reversal of a violent culture.
Floyd said part of Hope 4 Johnstown is about letting young people and community members who aren’t Johnstown natives know what the town used to be and working toward improvement with a positive mindset.
“We all need to do our little part,” he said. “We are looking for solutions. There is hope.”