Jul 13, 2022 - News

Nonprofit seeks an end to Columbus street violence

Halt Violence nonprofit founder Thell Robinson III.
Halt Violence founder Thell Robinson III has led the group since 2014. Photo courtesy of Halt Violence

For the past eight years, Thell Robinson III's mission has been to "squash beef" in Columbus neighborhoods.

  • The founder of Halt Violence is on a quest to end street violence by providing resources to at-risk children and young adults.

Why it matters: Columbus suffered from a record number of homicides last year, with nearly half attributed to 17 active street gangs.

Details: Robinson and two other employees work out of a small office on East Broad Street, but spend most of their time meeting with residents in all corners of town.

  • The nonprofit connects people ranging in age from 11 to 40 with mentors, trauma counselors, job opportunities and other social services.

Flashback: Robinson has worked to make amends for his past, which included drug dealing and time in prison for weapons charges and involuntary manslaughter.

  • He draws from these experiences to relate with others, working to turn their lives around and prevent some from being put in violent situations in the first place.

What he's saying: "We get the community. We're there for the community," Robinson tells Axios.

  • "We don't condone what the community is doing, but we just want to be a resource that can help."

The intrigue: Halt Violence has received some public and corporate grant funding, but mainly tries to stay independent in order to maintain trust with the residents it serves.

  • That means never working with or talking to the Columbus Division of Police, which Robinson says helps the nonprofit stay "credible with the Black community."
  • "We just do with what we got."
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