School kids march for peace in one of Indy’s most violent neighborhoods

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- More than a hundred local school kids rally together to promote peace.

The event took place on Indy’s near northwest side.  The peace march started outside the Elder Diggs school and proceeded down the street to nearby Watkins Park.

Parents and organizers hope the young kids learned some valuable life lessons.

“It’s very important for the kids to understand the words of peace and love and the words of unity,” said Garry Holland with NAACP.

During the march, shouts of peace mixed with drums.  The school kids held signs calling for an end to violence in one of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

“I’m hoping they learn how much can be done if you get together for one and use your words rather than violence,” said parent Kayte Loudenback.

The message is important because the area is also one of Indy’s traditionally high crime focus areas.

From a fatal shooting on 28th street, to a deadly daytime murder on 29th street, a man shot and killed inside his car on 32nd  street, as well as two homicides near riverside park and most controversially the officer involved killing of Aaron Bailey, this year there have been 7 homicides within a one mile radius of the school’s front door.

Still the organizers of the rally know that violence is a result of much deeper problems, like poverty and a lack of parental involvement.

“Any time you have systemic oppression and poverty, one of the symptoms is violence in the community.  It’s not something our school can affect immediately, but we can rally,” said principal Shy-Quon Ely.

“We have to come together and let these young people know that they are strong.  They’re stronger than anything that can keep them down and that they can achieve,” said organizer Ivan Hicks.

“Our children are our first step.  If we teach them love and peace, there’s nothing that can go wrong,” said parent Shawanda Tyson.

This is the first year organizers have held the event, but they hope it won’t be the last and plan to hold another rally next spring.