Memphis Sending Ex-Gang Violence Participants to Calm The Community


Five Memphis men whose lives were marred by violence each found a way to triumph over circumstances, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. One was shot in the face, three ended up behind bars, and one emerged as a gang leader and drug dealer who lost several friends to gunfire or prison. All five now are thriving and have been mentoring at-risk youths for years through a variety of programs. They are uniting this week to form a special team on a mission to calm gang rivalries and other neighborhood disputes in high-crime areas.

Today, Mayor A C Wharton is scheduled to announce the violence intervention team members: Link G. Fisher Sr., Andrew “AC” Collins, Trevon Toney, Lonnie Gauldin, and their leader, Delvin Lane. They will work for the Urban Youth Initiative, said Peggie Russell of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which helped sculpt the program called BLOC, or Better Lives, Opportunities & Communities. “It seems the city is wanting to listen and take knowledge from the streets,” Lane said. “Before it was like: ‘Lock ’em up, lock ’em up.’ ” Toney said, “Our community is in a state of crisis,” and that the BLOC program is another way to “build the community back up.”

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