“Brother” Carl Hardrick was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, where he has since the 1960s served as a community activist, gang intervention specialist, and youth development leader. Mr. Hardrick became best known for working with youth, young adults, and their families to reduce the number of young people that joined gangs. His work has transmitted to this mentees positive, life changing values.
Mr. Hardrick’s biography distinguishes him from most activists. After several youths ambushed and robbed him as he walked home one evening in July 2013, Carl embraced rather than disowned the meaner streets. Just four days after the incident, he joined Hartford’s concerned citizens on the steps of City Hall to demand change. “Maybe this will mobilize the community,” Brother Carl told the Hartford Courant in August 2013. Mobilizing communities to effect reform from within was nothing new to Mr. Hardrick, however.
He piloted the Woodson Center’s Violence Free Zone (VFZ) gang intervention and reduction program in Connecticut. Mr. Hardrick has also partnered with the Hartford Public Schools, the Hartford Peace Builders, and the Hartford Police Department and to share his gang intervention strategies. He is currently employed by the Wilson Gray YMCA in Hartford and partners with Hartford Communities That Care-Crisis Intervention Team, where he serves as a first responder to victims of gun violence and provides counsel to their families.
Carl is the current Chairman of the Community Safety Coalition in partnership with Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (HFPG) that works to reduce violence in the community. Carl has served on a number of boards and has received national awards for Ambassador of Peace given to him by the National Leadership Council of Bridgeport, CT; Achievement Against the Odds, from the Woodson Center in Washington D.C. and the Milton/Brown Equal Opportunity Award from the Urban League of Greater Hartford.