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That Peace Open Mic to bridge art, Black mental health

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mental health support and art are coming together, it’ll be part of the upcoming That Peace Open Mic night.

In the past year, more people have starting speaking out about the value of mental health support. Trauma stemming from violence has hit a lot of people hard. And organizers said grief is a community issue that needs to be tackled together.

Grief, we’ve all experienced our share of it. Eric Saunders is one of the many to feel the sting of losing a loved one to violence. In August, someone killed his father Victor Glover.

“It’s like Groundhog Day shock. It still feels like the first day,” said Saunders.

Saunders is the featured spoken word artist for an upcoming That Peace Open Mic event. He can’t quite get a hold of the pain of his dad’s death. But he’s put some of it into words.

He shared part of a poem written for his father saying, “I’ve been speaking to those dead in the cemetery. And they say live hard, love fearlessly, seek joy with each breath you got left. Inhale. Exhale. And make this life. Your only shot at life, worth your while,” said Saunders.

That Peace Open Mic has been around for a few years. Mariah Ivey is the event founder.

“If we don’t start to normalize talking about these things in a way that is transparent, and in a way that is vulnerable, it doesn’t bring to life our humanity,” said Ivey.

Poetry, visual art, and mental health will also take center stage. With homicide rates continuing to spike there’s a lot to talk about.

“If a Black man can address his hurt and cry about it, if he’s allowed to cry ‘oh, my goodness,’ how much more emotionally available will he be?” said mental health professional Lee Ivey. He’ll be part of the mental health panel.

For Saunders poetry is a passion. But it’s cathartic. It gives him a chance to remember a life.

“So for me I’d rather pick up this pen and pad rather than a form of retaliation. For me, success is my revenge.”

No arrests have been made in Glover’s case.

The That Peace Open Mic event at 5 p.m. May 28 will be in-person but have limited space.

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