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National coalition pushes leaders to fund Baltimore violence prevention groups

Posted at 7:11 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 19:12:23-04

BALTIMORE — The national coalition Fund Peace made a stop in Baltimore sharing the importance of funding gun violence prevention groups like Safe Streets, Baltimore Cease Fire, and ROCA.

They’re urging city, county, and state leaders to use the money provided by the American Rescue Plan to assist peace makers across Charm City.

Sitting among her protectors, little Dylan Houston feel most comfortable.

"I named it BunBun and i like it," said Houston.

Clinging to her teddy bear in her own world as violence prevention activists discuss Baltimore's most pressing challenge, a challenge her uncle Dante Barksdale died fighting while leading Baltimore's Safe Streets program.

Members of Fund Peace say that fight wasn't and still isn’t easy or cheap.

"We came as a reminder the mayor the governor the city council the state senate and others and county commissioners that we gotta fund this programs robustly so they have the adequate resources to be able to continue this great work," said Dr. Chico Tillman, a member of the Fund Peace Team

The coalition has been working with the white house to ensure funds get down to local governments for crime prevention to the tune of 5.4 billion dollars.

They say the money is there. Money wasn’t the element missing all of this time.

"What we haven’t seen is the commitment from the city from the county and from the state and frankly the federal government to invest in these solutions in a real way," Greg Jackson with the Community Justice Action Fund said.

Per guidance from federal officials a significant portion of $1.9 trillion of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan should go to funding peace and investing into violence intervention strategies.

"We cannot continue to work with scraps and peanuts and continue to put our life on the line. Baltimore knows better than anybody how dangerous this work is and how valuable the people are that do this work," Tillman shared.

They paid their respect to those unable to do the work anymore like Dante Barksdale and Kenyell Williams.

"When i wake up every morning i look for him but I’ll have to somehow come to the realization that Dante is not here anymore but I carry him in my spirit," said Joan Carlenia Houston Raye, Barksdale's mother.

But Safe Streets continues his legacy hopeful to one day make the city as safe as the teddy bear wrapped in Daylan's arms saying it can't happen with out funding.