INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Faith leaders across the city came together on Sunday to bring one question to their congregations: How are we going to address the violence plaguing Indianapolis?
The discussion follows a Wednesday night shooting that killed four people on the city’s northeast side. Police have still not caught the person responsible for killing those four people.
Church leaders say the times of sitting back and waiting for change are over.
The question at the top of everyone’s mind inside Barnes United Methodist Church was clear Sunday morning.
“Trying to figure out a solution to help stop the violence in the communities,” says Sharron Seals, a member of the congregation.
Many members of this particular church have been affected by gun violence within the city in some way.
“He was sitting in his car getting ready for service for next Sunday, listening to his music, and some guys came up and shot at him. Thank God he didn’t get hurt, but yes it did hurt me,” said Tonya Johnson, congregation member, referring to an incident involving her son.
Church leaders say the community has to take some responsibility for how the city is going to move in a safer and more positive direction.
“As a community, to not wait on the city and the mayor and the police department to do it, but we got to do our part. So let’s start doing it now,” said the Rev. Charles Harrison, senior pastor at Barnes United Methodist Church.
As the number of violent crimes continues to add up, people in neighborhoods that often see crime say there is much more going on than what the numbers even reflect.
“You have the code of the streets. You know, don’t snitch. Snitches get stitches. You know, don’t tell. So a lot of things they go unnoticed or unseen,” said the Rev. Kevin Mallory, at Barnes United Methodist Church.
Sunday’s call to action says the times of staying quiet have to be done.
“I mean it is just killing after killing after killing, and it needs to stop,” said Seals.
Harrison also works with the Ten Point Coalition; he says the responsibility is on the community to be better.
“We are losing our children, and for what?” said Seals.
“It is going to take all of us, and we can no longer be numb about the violence and desensitized. We all have to care,” said Harrison.
The Fraternal Order of Police, Indianapolis City-County councilors and other community groups will be announcing details of a citizen-driven public safety initiative at noon Monday at City Market. The event is open to the public.