City Council President Ernest 'Trippi' Congo II on Thursday, May 13, 2021, announced a series of micro-grants totaling $45,000 to organizations helping to combat violence in the Wilmington.
"We have identified ten grassroots organizations that are located and work with our youth in the City that are already addressing violence," said Congo. "So we want to just give them a little financial support of 45-hundred dollars each to help them in their efforts."
Congo announced the grants at a news conference in front of the Louis L. Redding City/County Building, and was joined by several City Council members in condemning the violence.
Congo said it's not just one group that needs to take the lead in helping reduce the violence but it takes a collective effort.
"It's not only government, it's not only the police, we have to work together as a City," said Congo. "The importance of knowing your neighbor and loving your neighbor. We really have to get back to those old school times that everybody always refers to. We have to find a way to bring those times back."
5th District Councilwoman Bregetta Fields encouraged families to get more involved in their children's lives.
"We as adults for the City of Wilmington, we as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, we are accountable, and now it is time for us to take action against the gun violence in the City of Wilmington," said Fields.
At-Large Council Member James Spadola, in a prepared statement, said the grants are a good first step.
"But we still need more help from the criminal justice system to keep those who commit crimes with guns behind bars. As the Mayor outlined last week, 120 individuals arrested have been arrested for gun offenses so far in 2021, and 69 of them are out on bail despite 45 having prior gun arrests.
"We need higher cash-bail, or a denial of any bail at all, to help keep gun offenders off the streets. No one should be able to commit a crime with a gun and go home the same night,” said Spadola.
Congo also encouraged Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki to direct some of the funds the City will receive from the American Rescue Plan towards anti-violence initiatives.
The recipients of the micro grants are:
1. Stop the Violence Coalition
2. Safe United Neighborhoods
3. Network Connect
4. 302 Guns Down
5. Cultural Restoration Program
6. Christina Cultural Arts Center – Heart Under the Hoodie
7. Youth Empowerment Program
8. Community Intervention Team
9. Together Everybody Achieves More
10. Churches Take A Corner