City of Charlotte, Meck County launches program aimed to reduce violence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County launched their Alternatives to Violence (ATV) program at Saturday’s QC Fest.

City officials accepted a $1.2 million check from Wells Fargo and the Greenlight Fund to support the program. The goal is to help make the Beatties Ford Road corridor safer.

“We hope that it just gets the word out. Get people interested. Start asking questions. Be curious so that you can understand why this model can work for the city of Charlotte and how you can get involved,” said Cherie Smith, Alternatives to Violence program manager

The program uses trusted community members as Violence Interrupters who can help mediate conflict and stop violence before it happens.

The money from the Wells Fargo Foundation will fund the program for the next three years, and the money from the GreenLight Fund will support capacity building and on-going program evaluation.

“Everyone in Charlotte – young and older – deserves a community free from violence,” said Michelle Lee, head of Regional Banking for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is committed to supporting efforts and organizations like Alternatives to Violence that lift marginalized communities and communities of color, and that restore justice and advance racial equity.”

The ATV program is part of the city’s SAFE Charlotte initiative, which includes violence interruption, hospital-based violence intervention and $1 million in grants to local community-based organizations.

(Watch Below: New program aims to reduce violence in city hot spots)