Multicultural News

Summer initiatives aim to break barriers on far-east side

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A City-County councilor is helping spearhead several summer initiatives to help break down barriers for people living on the far-east side.

Key focus areas will center on crime prevention, workforce development, and food access.

City-County Councilor Lakeisha Jackson says this work is vital for the long term. This summer, she is one of many putting their voices and actions behind building equitable food systems and programs focused on the youth.

The initiative called “Breaking Down Barriers & Building Opportunities for Far Eastside Residents” is a big goal, but, for countless people on the city’s east side, it’s worth it.

“We always say there’s not enough, or not structured enough programs where you are, and I don’t believe that’s true,” Jackson said. “I think it’s getting the word out about the programs that are out there that you can participate in.”

Jackson, the Pathways Resource Center and the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside are hosting a series of events to shine a light on problems that create barriers to food access, transportation, crime, employment, and youth opportunities.

“A fifth of the population in Indianapolis lives in a food desert, and we’re right in the heart of it on the far-east side,” Jackson said.

To focus on crime, Pathway Resource Center was to host an anti-drug and violence summit on Friday evening.

Leila Darden with Pathway Resource Center said, “As our shirt says, ‘We want to protect our youth.’ This is our city and our responsibility, and the youth are our responsibility. They’re the future Indianapolis.”

The weekend events will focus on the success stories of people such as Bryant Rich. He’s a graduate of the Pathway Resource Center’s youth workforce development. Rich said, “It improves me drastically with how I was even talking to people, how we should talk and speak up and be confident when we’re talking to anyone.”

Representatives say making improvements in those focused areas all tie into creating a better community.

Other events will run over the weekend, including Soul Food Sundays, sponsored by the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside.