Make your home page

At this Indianapolis festival, all you need is love … and maybe a basketball

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Using love to address issues that plague the community in the area of 34th Street and Keystone Avenue is the mission of the four-day Community Love Fest.

Organizers of the free event say it’s a way to say, “Enough is enough.”

The Community Love Fest is in its third year with the goal of building a safer environment. The brunt of the activities will happen at Washington Park in the heart of the community.

Ashley Gurvitz, chief executive officer of the United Northeast Community Development Corp., said, “With love, it lets people know that the conditions around our community are not their character, and they’re able to discover more things about them, which hopefully propels more sense of healing and collective healing that we need.”

Community leaders and stakeholders on Wednesday flanked Gurvitz to promote the Community Love Fest, an annual effort to kick off a safe summer.

Kurt Moore with the STR8UP Mentoring Foundation said, “As adults now, somebody definitely when we were kids sprinkled something in us. Somebody put something in us to make us or give us a vision of what we wanted to be when we were adults, so it’s only right for us to give back.”

Representatives of the festival say violence is a citywide problem but isn’t a clear depiction of their community. They say there’s love here. Moore would know; he grew up here and still gives back through his mentoring work. “With a name like Love Fest, would be a way that we could play our part in trying to at least conquer all the violence or deter some of the violence and nonsense that’s been going on in our city.”

Moore says a collective effort is needed to steer the community in a different direction, and the youth plays a major role in that.

As a youngster Dwayne Brown played in the annual Dust Bowl Tournament basketball games, which date back to the 1940s. “It takes a community effort. You can only, these problems can only get solved when we work together. We don’t need all those minds.”

Gurvitz says the Community Love Fest hopes to instill in the youth that they are the leaders now, and can be part of that generational love being poured into the community.

The festival will have four events, according to a post on Eventbrite:

  • Thursday, 5-7 p.m.: Great Indy Clean-up with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful at East 34th Street and Keystone Avenue.
  • Friday, 7-10 p.m.: Party with a Purpose at All-Stars.
  • Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.: Dust Bowl Tournament basketball games and festival at Washington Park courts, 3300 David S. Moore Memorial Parkway. This will include a 5 p.m. performance from the Tony Bryant Project, a collective group of musicians, singers and poets. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
  • Sunday, 1-3 p.m.: Praise in the Park at Washington Park courts.

News 8’s Gregg Montgomery contributed to this report.

(WISH Photo/Katiera Winfrey)