INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As of Sunday night, Indianapolis is up to 109 homicides for the year. Groups are now looking to end the rise in violence.
A group of city leaders, the clergy and parents of gun violence victims came together Sunday to try to wrap their heads around not only the problems, but how to fix them.
“We know that our young African American males can change,” said Rev. Darryl Webster, the pastor at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church.
Nearly 100 people gathered in the church for the discussion.
“We got to make an outcry that we’re tired of this,” said Mark Webster, who attended the discussion.
The church is blocks away from the scene of last week’s double homicide. The discussion was planned long before then, but they say it’s proof more of these discussions need to be had.
“If we see the need, feel the need and touch the need and go about trying to meet the need, we can bring about real change,” said Rev. Webster.
Rev. Webster has been changing people in the community for over a decade.
Robert Bigbee sat on the discussion panel. He graduated from Rev. Webster’s Men’s Bootcamp.
“When I counseled with Pastor Webster he said, ‘Well, you can’t play both side of the fence.’ I said, ‘well what do you mean?’ He said, ‘you can’t work for God and work for the devil.’ Because I had sold marijuana for so long that it was just right for me,” said Bigbee.
They said the challenge is to help those not in this church.
“We have to be a part of that village that raises the children that nobody else wants to touch,” said Val Tate, who attended the discussion.
Helping the kids of the community was a major part of this discussion. The men killed last week were just 23 and 24 years old.
“I think what we need to stop and think about: why are our young black men so angry to the point that they want to kill?” said Rhonda Steward, whose son was killed in an act of gun violence.
They said they’ll have more of these discussions in the future. They’ll also be going out into the neighborhoods to engage with the young people.