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African American Coalition of Indianapolis: More needs to be done to prevent youth homicides

A police car with lights and sirens on sits behind a line of yellow crime scene tape in Indianapolis. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “What is it our community must do to protect the youngest among us?”

That was the question asked Friday by the African American Coalition of Indianapolis in its call to action to address the killings of the youth around the city.

The AACI call to action was released less than a day after the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old girl on the east side of Indianapolis that also left a teenage boy in serious condition.

“We now must face a sobering reality. In too many instances, the work of guiding our youth to productive
adulthood and citizenship challenges the capacity of parents, mentors, teachers, employers, churches,
and community organizations, especially when they work alone and not collaboratively with others
concerned about the welfare of our children and community,” AACI said in a news release.

The release also stated that despite a 17% decline for 2023 in overall homicides, the death of children under the age of 18 has been rising from 16 youth murders in 2019 and increasing in 2023.

The coalition says in the coming months, it will be engaged in discussions with the community and policymakers on policies that can impact the antecedents of community violence, including mental health, affordable housing, and food security.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told News 8 that at least 22 young people have died from shootings so far in 2023.

AACI Call to Action

  • The AACI will look internally to evaluate how our member organizations can better engage on this issue.
  • We will assess how our members can increase the number of African Americans and others who will serve as mentors, coaches, and tutors.
  • AACI’s policy agenda will include a focus on gun violence, including ideas to eliminate their negative impact on our community. We join efforts such as the Marion County Youth Violence Prevention Coalition and others calling for responsible gun policies. We will also adapt our advocacy efforts regarding mental health
    with an increased focus on the mental health of our youth.
  • We call for youth-serving organizations, faith-based organizations, apartment property managers, and the city to continue conversations about how to address the issue of violence with a special focus on specific actions to improve the city’s community youth violence strategy. Young people, especially those in the highest risk populations for violence must be included in those conversations.
  • We call on the philanthropic and business community to further provide resources for those most directly engaged in direct work with youth, young adults, and families who’ve experienced violence. Support for volunteerism, tutoring, mentoring, access to food and clothing, and other interventions we know may have some impact on both poverty and violence alleviation need expanded support.
  • As a partner in the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative (IAAQLI) we will encourage additional strategies that address these concerns.

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