Nashville nonprofit asking Metro Council for $1 million to fund community crime prevention program

Gideon's Army.jpeg
Posted at 6:01 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 00:09:37-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The local organization Gideon's Army is continuing its mission to curb crime in North Nashville but the group needs help.

It's known for its efforts to restore justice, and members are asking for $1 million in funding from Metro Government.

"The thing is that part of the sickness in the community is a lack of resources and so it perpetuates the sickness and it’s really hard to address these issues without the resources that are needed to do it," said Rasheedat Fetuga, founder and CEO of Gideon's Army.

Gideon’s Army has been working to keep North Nashville safe, clothed and fed for many years.

The non-profit works to end the school-to-prison pipeline and members say the mission is about equity and healing.

Fetuga says with the help from Council member At-Large Sharon Hurt and the Minority Caucus, the organization could fund its violence interrupters program.

The program consists of men and women of North Nashville in the streets at all hours to de-escalate crime, help victims of crime and be a presence of positive change.

"This is community self-empowerment because we hire people from within the neighborhoods we focus on, credible messengers," said Fetuga.

She means messengers like Hambino Godbody, who is the director of the violence interrupters program and sometimes has to be a shield.

"By the community knowing us personally and seeing our change that’s what makes us credible messengers and give them hope that they can do the same thing," she said. "We’re literally be out here standing in between people in guns just daily. it’s just a job we do."

Fetuga says the requests is not a lot of money compared to other areas in the budget focused on public safety. She says her program works.

Fetuga says the Cumberland View apartments went almost a year without a shooting, she credits that to the boots on the ground.

"We had no shootings, no homicides, no robberies, no carjackings, no nothing for almost a year, 10 months," Fetuga said.

Unfortunately, there was a shooting in Cumberland View that took the life an innocent 3-year-old girl back in April.

Fetuga says the violence interrupters can’t be everywhere at all times but with the right amount of funding and resources they can cover more streets.

"We have the answers, we have the solutions but there’s not been a time where the city has really got in behind people who are on the ground, and that’s been the issue, so we all know what we need to heal our communities. "

Metro council has until the end of the month to vote and pass an operating budget.