Created in 2016, Bull City United has become one of the most prominent anti-violence organizations in the region. Photo courtesy of Bull City United (Facebook).

Bull City United visits NCCU

April 25, 2024

As N.C. Central University recovers in the wake of a recent active shooter lockdown, the Durham community reaches out to help stop the violence.

On the evening of April 2, students were met with a campus-wide lockdown due to reports of a shooting in the Lawson Residence Hall.

The following afternoon, after the campus-wide town hall, representatives from Bull City United arrived on campus to hand out flyers and offer their assistance.

Bull City United is an organization founded in 2016 that focuses on community violence intervention (CVI). Since then, it has become one of the most prominent anti-gun violence initiatives in the South.

The organization was made in response to a report from the U.S Department of Justice that revealed that in Durham, Black and Latino men are between five and six times more likely to be murdered than other ethnic groups.

The main goal of Bull City United is to change this statistic and stop the violence through outreach and conflict meditation. They also aim to help previously incarcerated individuals get jobs.

In fact, many formerly incarcerated people and gang members are hired by Bull City United to be “violence interrupters.” Under this role, community member use their knowledge to act, diffuse hot spots for shootings and resolve conflicts.

Bull City United and similar CVI programs began to rise in popularity following the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and 2021. Every year the Durham city council votes to continue to fund the initiative, with millions of dollars going to the organization each year. This funding is put towards the thousands of conflict mediations.

However, while some individuals prevent crime in the community, others become criminals.

In October 2022, one employee was killed in a targeted shooting. As recently as April 8th of this year, an employee was accused of leading deputies on a chase and then throwing drugs out of his car. Regardless, the city and county of Durham stay committed to their support of the organization.

In an interview with WRAL, Mayor Pro Tempore Mark-Anthony Middleton said that these events shouldn’t change the perception of Bull City United.

“Over my years of service in Durham, I’ve encountered officers who have acted outside of the law. It never occurred to me to disband the police department,” Middleton said.

“It occurred to me to get rid of the bad actors.”

With the recent incidents of gun violence and domestic violence at NCCU, Bull City United continues to reach out with a successful CVI program. It is up to NCCU to decide whether that protection is worth it, or if it will only worsen the situation.

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Created in 2016, Bull City United has become one of the most prominent anti-violence organizations in the region. Photo courtesy of Bull City United (Facebook).
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Created in 2016, Bull City United has become one of the most prominent anti-violence organizations in the region. Photo courtesy of Bull City United (Facebook).
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