Group working to curb Durham violence hopes for city funding

24 April 2022

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — The group New Durham Vision is hoping to make a difference in curbing gun violence.

It has the support of the mayor and they support her.

But right now, the group is not getting paid like other violence interrupters are.

It hopes the city will change that.

Dennis Garrett, Jr., 18, a youth ambassador with the gun-violence-prevention group, was at the scene of the deadly shooting and police standoff at Lakemoor Apartments.

“Being that I know somebody out there — I made sure that she was all right. Cause that’s not something kids — I went out there and they were talking like that’s normal. That’s not normal for anybody honestly. Especially under the age of 18,” said Garrett.

Monday night, during Mayor Elaine O’Neal’s State of the City address, she mentioned members of New Durham Vision, a group that also includes Garrett, former inmates, and previous and current gang members.

She’s working with them behind the scenes to try to ease the violence.

“I try to keep the kids from hurting people. So that they know they got a bigger future ahead of them. Not just that neighborhood. Not just that violence around them,” said Garrett.

The group has street credibility, doing what many residents cannot: spending hours in neighborhoods making connections and resolving conflicts, which can lead to a brief ceasefire.

“Everything is not gang-related,” said New York D, a team captain for the group. “When you have ties — you always going to have ties to certain people that will be able to give a good word — ‘like man, this is crazy– it’s time for all of this to stop.”

But their violence interruption work is not paid.

Right now, the only similar group getting city and county funding is Bull City United.

That group received more than $2 million this year.

New Durham Vision said they want to get paid, too.

The group says they have no issue with Bull City United and would like to work with them in the community.

Right now, the group is scraping together money to create a recreational sports league for at-risk children this spring and summer.

ABC11 reached out to city officials to see whether New Durham Vision will be included in their public safety budget proposal next year.

We have not yet heard back.

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