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Community comes together after violent couple months

Black History celebration brings together grassroots, city violence prevention leaders

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A violent couple of months has city leaders asking community members to step up. Saturday night, dozens responded to that call.

The city’s community violence reduction team is celebrating, despite the violent year we’ve had so far. By focusing on the positives and education, they hope the community can see a brighter future.

In the same building filled with organizations handing out pamphlets about violence, people sang out, celebrating black history’s past, present and future, along with others in the community.

“We’ve had a lot of darkness here lately with all of the violence in the city,” Community Violence Reduction Director Shonna Majors said. “And so we were just trying to find a way to kind of lift some spirits and celebrate black history month today.”

The community violence reduction team is hoping to get the community involved after city officials said time after time that it takes more than just the police to cut down on violence.

“It’s these organizations that can take a pivotal role in getting out in front of crime- understanding where those hot spots are- understanding how their intervention and their reduction of crime will make a difference,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

But it’s more than just taking a pamphlet. If you look around the room, you’ll see children talking to adults, making connections with people who want them to be successful.

“I mean, I come from a single-parent household myself,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said. “And I know one of the things my mom used to do was get me with respectable men that would help mentor me.”

So News 8 spoke to one of the children at Saturday’s celebration to see what their thoughts were on violence in the city. And if Anwar Jones’ words are anything to go by, the future looks bright.

“Don’t fight,” Anwar (AJ) Jones said.

“Why?” News 8 asked. “Why shouldn’t they?”

“Because they might hurt somebody and it really might hurt,” Jones said.

The hope is that we don’t have to wait until kids like AJ are older for the violence to decrease. The mayor is still thinking positively about how 2020 could turn around.

“Bad start, but I hope that by the end of the year, we’ll have something really positive to be able to report,” Hogsett said.

Mayor Hogsett announced last week that there would be a series of violence reduction initiatives. This meeting was only the first, so if you’d like to get involved and be there for your community, there will be other chances.