The City Council by an 8-0 vote passed two motions to spend $500,000 to start a Cure Violence program in Greensboro at the meeting Tuesday, Oct. 15 in the Council Chamber.
The one motion passed by the City Council was to contract One Step Further to run the Cure Violence program. City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson is the executive director of One Step Further and was recused from the vote. Johnson however, previously participated in the discussions about contracting with One Step Further to run the Cure Violence program for the city.
One thing the vote proved was that the Guilford County Commissioners called it right. The City Council was extremely interested in started a Cure Violence program and four City Councilmembers met in secret for several months with four Commissioners to discuss the program and how to jointly fund it.
The initiative was from the City Council and the program was going to operate in two neighborhoods in Greensboro. Some commissioners figured that if the City Council wanted to start a Cure Violence program, it would do so with or without money from Guilford County and they were right.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said, “Tonight is the night I’ve been waiting for for a long time and I’m sorry it has taken so long.”
She said that it was a shame, “We have to debate so long about the value of black lives.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that because the Cure Violence program would only be in two neighborhoods, “that doesn’t mean that things won’t happen in other areas of the city.”
She added, “We’re not going to see overnight changes.”
Vaughan said it was important for people to support the program because, “We are not going to let the people who are shooting up our city win.”
Councilmember Justin Outling said he was going to support the program and while he had heard from people who supported the program he had also heard from people who said, “this is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t believe the city would even consider this.”
He said, “This is targeted at very specific neighborhoods, very specific streets it’s hard to conclude this is going to be the solution for a problem across the city.”
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said she had very mixed feelings about the program and that while she was supporting it, “I’m absolutely terrified of the program as well and that’s because we are only addressing two neighborhoods.”
She noted that it was a citywide problem and she felt like she was letting the folks in her district down because Cure Violence would not be implemented in District 5.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said, “I think it’s a start and we need to start somewhere.”