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Gun violence prevention advocates want more victim support for Connecticut's communities of color

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Gun violence prevention advocates in Connecticut want a state advisory panel to recommend more state help for gun violence victims of color. They cited a recent survey that found that two thirds of victims of color in the state do not get state help.

Hartford resident Aswad Thomas said he had a promising professional basketball career ahead of him in 2009 when he was shot twice in front of a convenience store near his home.

“Those bullets had ended my basketball career and nearly my life,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he needed help dealing with the trauma but none was readily available.

“No one told me about the flashbacks and nightmares and PTSD as being a victim of gun violence,” he said.

Thomas is now with a group called Crime Survivors for Safety. They provide assistance to gun violence victims in urban communities. He urged members of the state’s Gun Violence Prevention and Advisory Committee to recommend that the state use some of the money expected from President Biden’s Build Back Better plan to fund groups like his, because they cater to communities of color who are hardest hit by gun violence.

The state advisory panel holds its final public hearing on Wednesday. It will then prepare its recommendations to lawmakers and Governor Ned Lamont which are due at the end of the year.

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