Nonprofit seeks an end to Columbus street 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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