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New Charlotte Program Aims To Mediate And Connect Before Violence Occurs

The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County on Tuesday announced the leader of a new program that aims to mediate and reduce crime before violence occurs.

Belton Platt will serve as the site supervisor for the Alternatives to Violence program in Charlotte. Platt, along with his team of what’s called “violence interrupters,” will be tasked with building community trust in the Beatties Ford Road corridor and mediating situations that might otherwise turn violent.

Belton Platt was named the site supervisor for the Alternatives to Violence program.
City of Charlotte
Belton Platt was named the site supervisor for the Alternatives to Violence program.

A native Charlottean, Platt is a motivational speaker, mentor and chaplain. He was also incarcerated for more than 21 years for drug distribution. During that time, he lost three sons to gun violence.

"I would call home from prison and ask my mother, I would say, ‘Ma, get my boys into counseling, get them a mentor, get them in a program.’ And all three of them died. That’s why I say I have blood in this," he said. "I believe people can change."

His past, he says, motivates his desire to help others now.

Another part of the program will be to help connect those in need with job resources and drug treatment.

Platt says the team will start work this week. The city and the county will celebrate the launch of the program with a community festival on Saturday, Aug. 14 at Northwest School of the Arts from noon to 6 p.m.

Grammy-nominated artist J. Holiday and American Music Award-nominated group Day 26 will perform at the event. QC Fest is free and open to the public.

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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.