This week marks one year since KARK and Fox16 announced the launch of the “Victory Over Violence” campaign following the separate shooting deaths of two Little Rock toddlers.
After covering dozens of stories where families lost loved ones due to senseless violence, we decided to do something to help fix the problem. After months of meeting and planning, we used Super Bowl Sunday 2017 to launch the effort.
In the months that followed, we brought together roughly 100 groups to address various needs across the city. We helped promote the great work already being done and started new initiatives to address community needs.
Looking back, here’s what we’ve been able to accomplish in the first twelve months:
- After being on pace for a near-record 70 homicides in Little Rock in 2017, murders dropped by 25-percent ending at 53.
- Little Rock is currently on pace for 36 murders in 2018. That would be among the lowest in recent years.
- More than $70,000 was raised for non-profits that work to combat violence.
- Nearly 250 were registered to mentor children.
- Hosted citywide prayer rally that included the participation of more than 55 Central Arkansas churches.
- Organized “second chance” job fair in partnership with Goodwill that resulted in job interviews for hundreds of felons.
- Led town hall meetings focused on impact of crime, gang violence, and how violence affects education.
- Hosted handful of neighborhood anti-violence walks with more than 2,000 participants.
Let’s be clear: I’m not saying Victory Over Violence is the reason for all these results. In most cases, you can thank the hard work of Little Rock Police, city leadership, the street intervention team, and various non-profits that fight to make a difference each day. However, I’d like to think Victory Over Violence prompted people across Central Arkansas to acknowledge the problem and examine what they could do to make a difference for the future of the Capital City.
Clearly, issues still exist. They will always be there in some way or another. And there’s much work to be done.
Wrote this one year ago. The result: Victory Over Violence.
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) December 18, 2017
If you’ve made it this far, the subject clearly interests you. I’d invite you to mentor a young person. Our children need guidance to stay on the right path — and that’s a key component of preventing crime in the future.
Victory Over Violence kicks off our second year by pounding the pavement and running to raise money for three non-profits that do exceptional work to make a difference to reduce violence. I hope you’ll consider joining us.
It’s going to take all of us to make this work and keep the effort moving forward. Let’s work to “be the solution.”
Year two starts now!
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) October 15, 2017