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Bull City United Promotes Week Of Peace In Durham

Bull City, Durham, Shootings, Crime
Courtesy of Bull City United

An organization in south Durham continues its work to curb the number of shootings, killings and other violent crime in the city. Bull City United is kicking off 2018 with a “Week of Peace.” The organization will hold candlelight vigils this week in Durham communities where violent crime has been most prevalent.

David Johnson will wear his “Bull City United” t-shirt to the events this week.

“That’s the logo, Bull City United. That’s what we’re trying to do, bring the city together," said Johnson, pointing to two hands and thumbs signifying bull horns.

Johnson is a trained “Violence Interrupter" and a former gang member. He spends his days trying to interrupt conflict before it happens and even when people are already armed.

“Peace is a lifestyle," said Johnson. "It’s nothing that’s set in stone that says our community [has] to be violent."

Dorel Clayton is the Supervisor of Bull City United, which falls under the Durham County Department of Public Health. He says they also work to change social norms that tolerate violence.

“We have definitely had an impact throughout the city, by doing mediations, conflict mediations and finding a different way to resolve conflicts verses just shooting," said Clayton. "Because it is a public health issue, it is, it truly is.”

Bull City United members are trained in the "Cure Violence" model, born out of the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health. The model is a public health approach to violence prevention, treating violence as "a learned behavior that can be prevented." "Cure Violence" is used across the country, including in Chicago, Baltimore and New York.

This week’s candlelight vigils run from Wednesday to Sunday beginning at 6 p.m. They will take place at the Cornwallis housing community, East End Park, Edgemont, Southside and McDougald Terrace. A Saturday event will begin at 2 p.m. at the Liberty Street housing community. The vigils were scheduled for last week, but below freezing temperatures resulted in rescheduling most of the vigils for this week. 

The candlelight vigils include calling off the names of Durham victims of gun violence.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of “Due South” – WUNC’s new daily radio show. The program takes a panoramic view of race, southern culture, politics and place – stories Leoneda has reported on for more than 20 years at WUNC – North Carolina Public Radio. Leoneda is the recipient of Gracie awards from the Alliance of Women in Media, awards from the Associated Press and the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). She was part of the WUNC team who won an Alfred I. DuPont Award for the series, “North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty.” In 2017, Leoneda was named “Journalist of Distinction” by the National Association of Black Journalists. Leoneda is a graduate of Florida A&M University (B.S.) and Columbia University (M.S) where she was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics & Business Journalism. Leoneda also studied Environmental Justice as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at The University of Michigan. Leoneda has produced stories from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Her international reporting fellowships include trips to Berlin, Tokyo, Durban, South Africa and Seoul. Leoneda’s essay, “Everybody Is Cheering for You,” is in the book, “HBCU Made – A Celebration of the Black College Experience,” release date January 2024. Leoneda is the proud mother of two sons, Jean Christian and Teemer Seuline Barry.
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