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Walk to stop gun violence set

GLOVERSVILLE — After experiencing the loss of a loved one due to gun violence, one family formed a non-profit to support other families facing similar losses, the Anthony Christopher Harris Foundation. The organization will host a Walk to Stop Gun Violence on Saturday at 1 p.m. setting off from the Price Chopper on North Main Street.

Denise Ameyaw, a longtime city resident, explained that the ACH Foundation was formed following the death of her son, Anthony Christopher Harris, from gun violence at age 39 in Washington D.C. on June 1, 2019.

“I was struggling, having a hard time,” said Ameyaw, who leaned on her sister, Deborah Maisonet, for support.

In the months that followed, Ameyaw looked for an outlet to lend the support that she had needed to others while also honoring her son.

“I wanted to give back and thought of something we could do to help other people,” said Ameyaw. “I would really like to help families of victims of gun violence resulting in death.”

Ameyaw and Maisonet described Harris as a man who was involved with his community and who strove to help others.

“He helped a lot of young people where he lived in D.C. and he helped his family there,” said Maisonet. “He helped a lot of people in his community.”

“He would give you the coat off his back,” added Ameyaw.

Ameyaw, Maisonet and their family ultimately formed the non-profit ACH Foundation in October 2019 as a legacy to the principles and ideals Harris held throughout his life. In May 2020, the organization was granted 501(c)3 status by the Internal Revenue Service.

The mission of the non-profit organization is “to empower the families of gun violence resulting in death by providing essential aid caused by the tragedy.” Essential aid including traveling expenses, food and shelter to support surviving parents, guardians, children and in some cases siblings.

The foundation has also established a scholarship program to aid the surviving children and siblings of gun violence victims. The foundation currently is focused on supporting surviving families who reside in New York state or who are connected to the state as the place of residence of their lost loved one.

“I would like to expand it maybe one day,” said Ameyaw.

“We’re in the early stages,” added Maisonet.

The ACH Walk to Stop Gun Violence on Saturday is the foundation’s first outing, as Maisonet acknowledged the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has slowed plans to publicly introduce the new organization. Maisonet and Ameyaw pointed to the outdoor event as a safe way to visibly raise awareness for the foundation and its mission.

“We want to bring awareness to the community that there is help out here,” said Ameyaw.

The organization has already had an impact on at least one family, according to Ameyaw, who said she recently heard from a woman who lost her daughter to gun violence who is planning to attend the walk.

“She was telling me she feels so much better knowing people are trying to help people who have been effected by gun violence,” said Ameyaw.

Ameyaw and Maisonet are hopeful that the event will comfort those who have experienced loss and raise awareness among others to the impacts of gun violence on what would have been Harris’ 41st birthday on Saturday.

“We hope that they take away the severity of what happens to people when they have a tragedy like this in their lives, what it means to the family,” said Maisonet. “We would like to engage the community in helping us and supporting us.”

The ACH Walk to Stop Gun Violence will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. The walk will begin at the Price Chopper located at 358 N. Main St. and will proceed down Main Street before disbanding at 21 Grand St. A $5 participation fee for attendants will be contributed to the Anthony Christopher Harris Foundation. There will be no fee for children. Participants are asked to wear face coverings and to follow social distancing protocols during the walk.

For additional information about the Anthony Christopher Harris Foundation or the Walk to Stop Gun Violence, visit achfoundinc.org.

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