Metro Council approves $1M grant to Urban League of Middle TN toward ending the cycle of violence

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Council members approved a $1 million grant to be given to the Urban League of Middle Tennessee out of the Community Safety Fund.

The resolution went before Metro Council on March 7 and was quickly approved. Sponsors of the resolution included: Kevin Rhoten, Jeff Syracuse and Nancy VanReece. The goal is to help the Urban League of Middle Tennessee in implementing a Group Violence Intervention (GVI) program in Nashville.

“People going in and out of jail, we know that is not working, so we got to do something different, and if people don’t get the opportunity to be gainfully employed and work, then they’re going to get resources some way. , and we don’t want them to get it the illegal way. We want them to do it in the right way,” said Clifton Harris, the President and CEO of the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.

The goal is to work with case managers who will provide services to GVI participants, including crisis services. Initially, one case manager will be hired, then the mayor’s office will then have the option to authorize hiring a second case manager if necessary.

“We have to keep our youth busy, we have to help people not turn to things that are destructive not only to themselves but to the community and give them another opportunity to be constructive,” said Harris.

Harris explained the idea is simple. Case managers will identify people fit for the program, using the example of someone trying to leave a gang, or change their life after serving time. A case manager would step in, and then connect them with the Urban League of Middle Tennessee to set them up with the resources they need to turn their lives around. In some cases, that may involve moving the person out of the city.

The new funding is encouraging to people like Amber Posey, who for years has been an advocate for gun violence change.

“You can’t turn on the news on any Monday through Sunday report and not hear about somebody losing their life to gun violence,” said Posey. “You hear more about gun violence than you do people dying of a DUI crash, and that’s sad.”

Over the weekend, Metro police investigated at least three shootings that left someone injured or dead. So far this year, East and Midtown Precincts have seen a slight uptick in gun-related injuries.

For Posey, fighting gun violence has been part of her personal mission after she lost her 17-year-old daughter in 2020.

“My daughter was murdered on April 9, 2020. As a parent, as a village, we felt like we did everything we could to protect Ashanti from being a victim of gun violence and it still happened to us. So, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody,” said Posey.

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The Urban League of Middle Tennessee is hoping to quickly begin the process of using the grant money that has been approved. The organization is encouraging anyone who needs help to reach out.


Metro Council approves $1M grant to Urban League of Middle TN toward ending the cycle of violence

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