INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thursday night marked the start of the 47th annual Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration.
It’s one of the major fundraisers to help provide programming for kids and business owners in the Indianapolis community.
There are 11 days of events geared towards networking, having some fun and learning from others.
Thursday night included song and speeches from motivational speakers and politicians at the Light of the World Christian Church.
Events will fill Indianapolis until July 16 for the annual event.
“I think one thing people will appreciate and enjoy is there’s something for everyone,” said Dian Foreman, with the organization.
A concert with Fantasia, a job fair, business leadership seminars, education discussions, a celebrity basketball game are some of the events. All of these geared to help kick off this fundraising campaign for the IBE.
“It’s about our year-round programs,” she said. “We’re operating 365; sometimes it seems more than that.”
The organization focuses on cultural and racial diversity with programs on business growth, education and the youth. That is important to some especially now with a push to keep Indianapolis children away from violence.
“A lot of the time with all the crime going on, the kids don’t know there’s more to the city than just this,” said Anthony Sims, of Indianapolis. “There’s more to the city than just crime and murders and things of that sort. There’s other things to do.”
Tens of thousands are expected at these events.
“We’re treating this like we do for all major events like the [Indianapolis 500] to the expo,” said Cmdr. Chris Bailey from IMPD.
While there are no threats at this time IMPD said it is on high alert. But again Bailey stresses the IBE Summer Celebration tends to be peaceful.
There was a shooting back in 2010 that wounded nine people but Bailey said that incident had nothing to do with the summer celebration event.
IMPD will also be working with local faith and community leaders doing some walking patrols.
Bailey does have some advice for parents if their children are going to an event.
“We want parents to be aware of where their children are going, be aware of who they are with, monitor their social media and provide them guidance that they should follow the rules, be courteous to one another,” he said.
IMPD wants to remind you if you do see something that doesn’t look right you should contact police immediately.
Organizers said they want people to focus on enjoying themselves and learning a thing or two. Many of this year’s events are free for the first time ever.
For a complete schedule, click here.
More information is also available at indianablackexpo.com/summercelebration.