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Charlotte Talks Public Conversation: A Community Approach To Addressing Homicides

Daniel Coston
A special Public Conversation from Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. Left to right: Mike Collins, Robert Dawkins, Greg Jackson, Cedric Dean, Trinity Snowten, Sylvia Clark, Yaseen Major

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hear from those involved in reducing Charlotte’s rapidly rising homicide rate and from young people impacted by violence in a special WFAE Public Conversation.

The conversation continued after the panel discussion with questions and comments from the audience. Listen: 


Charlotte’s homicide count is alarmingly high. At just a little over the halfway point in 2019, the number of homicides has eclipsed all of last year. CMPD Chief Kerr Putney has called this a "community health issue," and has asked for cooperation from the community to get a handle on the use of guns to solve disagreements.

We’re at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church for a WFAE Public Conversation on what is being done in the community by community members to address not just the homicide problem but conditions that often lead individuals to make hair-trigger decisions that change countless lives forever.

Credit Erin Keever / WFAE
Left to right: Trinity Snowten, Sylvia Clark, Yaseen Major

Statistics show that most of the people committing homicides in Charlotte know their victims. Statistics show most of the people involved in violent altercations are under the age of 25. We’ve talked about those young people many times in the past but later this hour, we’ll talk with three young people about the role violence and the prospect of violence plays in their lives and ask them to share their thoughts on how to prevent that violence.

First, we hear from three individuals who know the community conditions that create a favorable atmosphere for trouble and who have been working to find ways to short circuit those conditions and lower the temperature by helping people find alternative methods of conflict resolution.

Local youth talk about the impact community violence has on their daily lives.
Credit Daniel Coston
Left to right: Mike Collins, Trinity Snowten, Sylvia Clark, Yaseen Major, Greg Jackson, Cedric Dean, and Robert Dawkins.
Credit Erin Keever / WFAE
Left to right: Greg Jackson, Cedric Dean, Robert Dawkins


Robert Dawkins, community organizer and founder of SAFE Coalition NC, a group that deals with gun violence.

Greg Jackson, Founder of Heal Charlotte, a community engagement group that provides after-school and day camp for at-risk youth.

Cedric Dean, Founder of SAVE — Safeguard, Atone, Validate, Educate, a mentoring program that works with local youth. Having spent time in federal prison, he now helps ex-offenders re-enter society.

Trinity Snowten, 15 years old, she attends Turning Point Academy. Cedric Dean is her mentor. 

Sylvia Clark, 22 years old, she’s studying criminal justice at CPCC. Greg Jackson is her mentor and she volunteers with Heal Charlotte.

Yaseen Major, 18 years old, he graduated from Harding High School in June and plans to attend UNC Pembroke in the fall. He volunteers with Heal Charlotte.

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.