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Wilmington City Council puts money toward grassroots solutions to gun violence

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Pastor Sandra Ben speaks alongside Wilmington City Council members at a press event about gun violence

Wilmington City Council is renewing its commitment to fighting gun violence. 

Wilmington City Council President Earnest "Trippi" Congo, II, gave out ten small grants to grassroots organizations that work to fight gun violence.

Congo, a funeral director, says he sees the same children attending funeral after funeral for their friends. 

“So I’m calling on our elected officials and our clergy, our educators and our community leaders, to come together to save our children and to save our city,” he said at a press event Thursday. 

According to the latest statistics from the Wilmington Police Department, the city has seen more than 31 shooting incidents already this year—which is higher than at this point the last three years. 

Congo says schools in Wilmington need more funding, and the prison system needs to focus more on rehabilitation. He is also calling on Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki to put some of the City’s latest federal COVID relief money toward the issue. 

Council staff say the $45,000 total for the small grants came out of the discretionary funds the Council President controls. 

Pastor Sandra Ben of Safe United Neighborhoods is one of the grant recipients. Her organization walks through neighborhoods alongside police to try to prevent gun violence.

“We go out and we try to talk to the youth, talk to our residents, just to let people know that we care, that somebody does care about their life, somebody cares about what they’re doing,” she said. “We have to continue this; my two words this year were to continue, and to be consistent.”

The other organizations receiving grants are Stop the Violence Coalition, Network Connect, 302 Guns Down, Cultural Restoration Program, Christina Cultural Arts Center – Heart Under the Hoodie, Youth Empowerment Program, Community Intervention Team, Together Everybody Achieves More and Churches Take A Corner. 

Council also says it plans to hold meetings to gather solutions to gun violence from members of the community.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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