Victory Over Violence: Little Rock looks to increase funding for violence reduction initiatives

Victory Over Violence

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Little Rock is seeing its deadliest year since the 1990s. The city’s 61st homicide happened on Monday, Dec. 13.

One way the city is trying to prevent more violent crime is by giving money to organizations they believe can help.

The City of Little Rock has money on the table for organizations, both private and public, who can help tackle this issue of community violence.

The Rev. Ronald Wilkerson of Bridge 2 Success believes it’s his calling to help Little Rock youth.

The Rev. Ronald Wilkerson

That’s why his life skills and mentoring program is applying for more city funding to expand into more family engagement.

“To understand what the traumas that our people experience when they experience violent behavior or activity,” Wilkerson said.

This is something that hit home very recently. The two teens involved in last Friday night’s homicide on Pine Cone Drive were part of his after-school program.

“We were really trying to work with them on life skills and preventing violence,” Wilkerson said.

The homicide had a crippling effect on the kids who knew them.

“It sort of destroyed them inwardly,” Wilkerson said. “They were very hurt and are still experiencing the trauma behind that.”

Stories like these are why the City of Little Rock is allocating $1.5 million of American Rescue Plan funds to organizations like Bridge 2 Success.

Michael Sanders

“We have word from executive administration that this is top priority,” Michael Sanders, Community Resources Manager with the City of Little Rock, said. “Kind of open it up for public and private organizations to be able to apply, organizations who are already doing the work, who are already kind of vested in the community.”

The endgame, Sanders said, is to develop strategies, programming and services.

“To kind of help relieve some of the stressors that our residents are facing,” Sanders said. “And ultimately, reducing crime.”

And he said, to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

“You know, there’s a saying hurt people, hurt people,” Sanders said.

So that people like Reverend Wilkerson who do good work, won’t have to mourn the loss of the ones he was trying to save.

“Every community needs help,” Wilkerson said

The city says it’s hoping to get programs up and running by Feb. 1.

Proposals must be received by 3 p.m. on Dec. 27.

If you’re interested in helping and want to apply for these funds, you can get more information by clicking here.

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