At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20, Greensboro City Council members, Guilford County commissioners, Cone Health officials and others involved in the effort to bring a chapter of Cure Violence to Guilford County met to discuss the best way to make that happen.
Cure Violence is a program that originated in Chicago based on the theory that the epidemic of violence in cities should be treated like medical professionals treat an epidemic of a communicable disease. The goal, to bring down murder rates in cities, is a goal everyone can get behind; however, because the program has a practice of employing ex-felons to go into the inner cities and attempt to diffuse violence, area leaders who support the idea are having a hard time finding an administrative home for the program.
At the Dec. 20 meeting, which was held at Cone Health’s administrative offices on Green Valley Road in Greensboro – and was not open to the public– Cone Health CEO Terry Akin expressed his health system’s willingness to play a support role in the project, but he also made the same point he had in an email to Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing days earlier: Cone is not interested in running the program.
Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston said after the meeting that Cure Violence will get a chapter in Guilford County in the end. Alston said he and other commissioners don’t believe any branch of Guilford County government should house the program and he said clearly Cone didn’t want that responsibility either, but he added that the program will find a home as part of an area non-profit.
“Cure Violence is still alive,” Alston said.
According to Alston, Cure Violence needs to end up under the administrative umbrella of an area non-profit that has an impeccable reputation. He said that was a topic of discussion at the meeting. Alston said it’s yet to be determined which non-profit that would be but he added that he was very optimistic about the program’s prospects for finding a home in Guilford County.
“We are looking at partners,” Alston said.
He said he understands perfectly well why some – including himself – have liability concerns since the work is inherently dangerous.
The only Cure Violence program in North Carolina is in Durham and is funded and run by the Durham County Public Health Department.