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Mayor Joe Hogsett announces #IChoosePeace campaign

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new campaign aimed at curbing gun violence called #IChoosePeace will launch in Indianapolis on June 1.

Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the campaign Wednesday, the day before National Gun Violence Awareness Month, alongside the Indy Public Safety Foundation and the Office of Public Health and Safety.

Peacekeepers with the Indy Public Safety Foundation were there for the launch and were encouraged to make the first pledges in person and online by posting with that hashtag.

“When we choose peace, we are choosing to chip away at the challenges of gun violence and inspire each other to be the best versions of ourselves. We are choosing to bring peace to everyone,” said Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety member, Martine Romy Bernard-Tucker.

This campaign comes as the city set out to install an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department mobile trailer camera in Martin Luther King Jr. Park after police said they found at least 40 shell casings from a Tuesday night shooting.

Hogsett says that he considers this a historic investment into the community’s safety strategy. “But there may be no more important way for our community to help than to communicate with each other and stay together in furtherance of our common and collective goals,” Hogsett said.

This campaign comes on the heels of the next phase of the gun violence reduction strategy, including hiring three attorneys to prosecute gun violence on the federal level, increased pay to IMPD, and $15 million to grassroots organizations.

“At every step of the way, a foundational piece of that strategy has been you, the people in this room,” Hogsett said to those present at the announcement.

Many people shared why they are doing this work both on stage and in the crowd.

Della Brown, an Indy Peace Fellowship Outreach worker, says she has an 8-year-old daughter, and wants to be the “best example” for her.

“If one person from one household chooses peace then I believe they will be able to influence the others in their house if not their friends or their family members that they’re connected to and have influence over and it will just be a domino effect of us all raising our hands to choose peace,” Brown said.

The goal of this campaign is to both educate and connect people with resources, including the Summer in the City Program for youth, and the mentorship program for adults through the Indy Public Safety Foundation.