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Pastor’s Unite for Change campaign brings infant mortality resources to community

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A few days ago, we told you about a pastor who set off on a bold journey to live in a tent for 30 days for change. He's making good on his promise to help his near northwest side community.

Pastor John Girton Jr, affectionately known as Past G, plans to spend the next 30 days in a tent near the intersection of 30th and MLK. This is something that Girton has done before. He first started the demonstration in 2015.

This time he wants to also provide resources to the community. Tuesday afternoon, he teamed up with experts from Riley Maternity and Newborn Health to talk about the state's drastic infant mortality rate.

"When we look at Marion County, the infant mortality rate is about double what the average is in the rest of the state," Dr. David Boyle said.

"And that was shocking to me and one of the leading causes was premature birth and mom's health and I happen to be someone who suffers with pre-eclampsia with all of my pregnancies so it pertains to me and I thought it was amazing that they had so much information that pertains to me that I didn't know on my fourth child," mother Samantha Douglas said.

Douglas had no idea she lived in a community with the highest infant mortality rate in the state. Part of Pastor G's Unite for Change initiative wants to tackle the issues that are a real danger.

"When we think about the types of reasons baby die many of them are preventable so things like safe sleep is really important. Having moms planning their pregnancies, trying to prevent young people from starting smoking," Boyle said.

Indiana has the seventh-highest infant mortality rates in the country and those numbers are especially high for African American mothers. Other Unite for Change tent campaign initiatives will highlight mental health and job resources.