CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 3, 2020) – The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County introduced Belton L. Platt as site supervisor for the
Alternatives to Violence program. Platt will oversee a team of violence interrupters who will be tasked with mediating and reducing violent crime in the Beatties Ford Road corridor. The ATV team will also include community engagement representatives who will help build trust and relationships with community members.
Belton L. Platt
Belton L. Platt is a Charlotte native, motivational speaker, mentor, chaplain, author, restaurateur and community activist. He also spent more than 21 years incarcerated for drug distribution and has tragically lost three sons to gun violence.
Platt now uses both his personal experiences with violence and his faith to help young people overcome obstacles. Based on his personal experiences, he understands the importance of mentorship and the impact a positive influence can make in people's lives.
"I am excited to lead the ATV team in launching the program in the Beatties Ford/LaSalle area. As a native Charlottean, I see this as an excellent opportunity to be a part of the solution in making Beatties Ford Rd, and Charlotte as a whole, a safer place for everyone."
Improving Community Safety with Alternatives to Violence
The ATV program is part of the city's SAFE Charlotte initiative which includes violence interruption, hospital-based violence intervention and $1 million in grants to local community-based organizations. The SAFE Charlotte initiative also includes pathways to employment and affordable housing.
In partnership with Cure Violence Global, and Youth Advocate Programs, the city and Mecklenburg County will launch ATV in the Beatties Ford area. The program will employ violence interrupters and outreach workers to connect with the people who are at the highest risk for perpetrating or becoming a victim of, violent crime, talk to them about the costs of violence and help them to obtain the social services they need such as job training and drug treatment.
"I believe we've found the perfect person to guide our Alternatives to Violence program toward the goal of a safer city," said Mayor Vi Lyles. "Belton Platt has an abundance of life experience that will provide an immediate impact in showing members of our community that violence is never the right choice."
The city and county will launch the program with a community festival, QC Fest, on Saturday, August 14 at Northwest School of the Arts from noon to 6 p.m. The festival will serve as an opportunity for residents in the Beatties Ford Road corridor to learn more about the program and its goals and meet members of the ATV team. 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.