PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Family and friends of a Cranston woman shot and killed in Pawtucket last weekend gathered outside the Nonviolence Institute to not only mourn her death, but also urge the state to allocate more funding for the nonprofit organization.
Tatyana Francois, 19, was shot to death on Japonica Street around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night.
Her aunt, Fara Pamphile, tells 12 News she had a bright future ahead of her.
“My baby did not deserve this,” Pamphile said. “She was a kind hearted, pure person that would give the clothes on her back to somebody that actually needed it without asking a word.”
Francois’ death is among a string of shootings that occurred less than a week apart in Providence and Pawtucket, including what police are calling the largest shooting in the city’s history, when two rival groups opened fire on one another.
It’s unclear at this time if any of the shootings are connected, though police have not ruled it out.
Cedric Huntley, director of the Nonviolence Institute, said that’s why these communities need additional support.
“We have to stand up for our community when tragedies like this happen,” he said.
In response to the gun violence, Sen. Tiara Mack and Rep. Jose Batista are spearheading legislation that would increase the Nonviolence Institute’s annual funding allocation from $200,000 to $1 million.
“If this doesn’t wake us up and get us to act boldly, swiftly, urgently and listen to the community, I don’t want to be around for what will,” Batista said.
Huntley said if approved, the additional funding would allow them to employ more outreach specialists. He said in 2015, the nonprofit organization had 17 specialists going door-to-door providing resources to families, but this year, they’re down to five.
“Just resources, that’s all that we need to continue to do this work,” he said.
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no simple solution that will end gun violence, and this is just the start.
“The Institute, they are under resourced,” Paré said. “Getting more street workers helps.”