Stop the Violence and Drug Abuse Festival connects people with resources

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Organizers called it entertainment with a mission. Capital Rebirth held the Stop the Violence and Drug Abuse Festival at Reservoir Park in Harrisburg Saturday.

Hundreds of people joined the effort to combat both issues.

Families had a blast and learned something, too.

“We’re going to continue to harp on the issues,” said Mikell Simpson, the founder of Capital Rebirth. “We want to be the solutions.”

Musicians, dancers, poets and step teams all performed acts promoting positivity.

“When asked what his favorite part about the event was, 12-year-old Kingston Richardson said, “Probably all the diversity and all the nationalities here. I love seeing people come together, and the fact that all of us can be outside and in one little area watching people with amazing talents perform for us. I feel like that’s the best thing ever.”

While there were tons of smiles, there was also serious conversation.

Shirts surrounding the stage honored people recently killed in Harrisburg.

“We constantly say this is not the Harrisburg we grew up in,” said Madeline Williams of Capital Rebirth. “The headlines are constantly about violence, drug overdoses.”

“It’s so sad and tragic that people die every day of gun violence, drug overdose,” said 11-year-old Warren Bizzard.

But the tents that lined the park were full of resources to connect and educate people.

Generating hope is important.

“They’re helping the community,” said Bizzard.

“Really try to bridge the gap between the public and especially law enforcement,” said Blake Lynch, the Harrisburg Community Policing Coordinator. “This is really important, what’s going on nationwide right now, to build a bridge between the two.”

Organizers say everyone has a role in making a difference.

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