INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Members of the community around Forest Manor Avenue came together at the Church of Glory Saturday afternoon to prevent violence in their own way: with neighborly love.
Community leaders on Saturday said it takes more than police officers or a new law to cut down on violence.
Hoola-hooping and jump-roping may not seem like violence prevention techniques, but the leaders behind the annual “Victory over Violence” event say encouragement and a sense of community will yield results over time.
“We have victory more than violence now,” Church of Glory pastor Donald Edward Jr. said. “At a time, we would have to have several vigils maybe every year, and this year we haven’t had any. Last year, we didn’t have any and the year before that. So I think we’ve put a dent into what this violence is coming to.”
This is the sixth year the community’s held the event, following the shooting death of IMPD Officer Perry Renn. In that time, many kids who go have never known a year without it.
“At a very young age, they heard about violence, but at the same time, they’re hearing about something better than violence and that’s victory over violence,” Edwards said. “That’s joy, peace, loving each other, loving your neighbor and yourself, fighting with your mouth and not with your hands. And I believe that will help them out in the long run.”
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says progress is being made so far this year in lowering violent crime thanks to grants with nearly $4 million going to crime prevention, reduction and intervention in 2019.
“But we’re not going to let our foot up off the accelerator,” Hogsett said. “We’re going to be working every single day to keep our streets safe and our neighborhoods peaceful.”
Hogsett says people can’t just expect these grants and the police to solve their problems. It takes cooperation on all ends to earn victory.
“We will see and end and an appreciable decrease in violence to our community and peace on our streets when everybody takes a little bit of ownership in making sure their neighborhood is safer,” Hogsett said.
Along with victory over violence, there are plans for a community park across from the Church of Glory in place that leaders hope will offer more community interaction and involvement for kids.