Indianapolis organizations want to learn from Ferguson

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INDIANAPOLIS (FOX 59) – Organizations in the Circle City are watching closely the developments in Ferguson and how Hoosiers can learn from it.

“I think the teachable moment for us as an organization is just basically teaching our young people, especially our Kings…our young men- that have to interact with the police for everyone to understand as a community that this is real life,” Arnetta Scruggs, executive director of the Bloom Project said.

The Bloom Project is a non-profit organization that helps shape the lives of the youth in Indianapolis. Scruggs said people should learn from what is happening even though we are miles away because of conversations she’s had with our youth.

“I think for us when we have Project King and all of our youth raised their hands to say they’ve had interactions with the police that weren't good that’s a problem for us,” Scruggs said.

The Bloom Project hosted a seminar in August. During that seminar, they spoke about the situation in Ferguson. Elgin Reese II attended the seminar. He said he learned a lot.

“(We) basically talked about what went on (in) Ferguson (and) how to respond to officers. (They said we should) always talk to them with respect,” Reese said.

Reese said he is involved with different organization because he wants to be and because he enjoys getting to know people.

“The point of Kings Feast was to help young black men realize that we can be somebody that as a whole we can break out (of the) stereotype,” Reese said.

Brandon Randall, who is also with the Bloom Project, said people should not focus on the riots in Ferguson, but on injustice.

“(There isn’t) enough (focus) on the pain the family is feeling and how families across the country are feeling,” Randall said.
Randall said dialogue with our youth in Indianapolis is critical.

“We don’t let young people especially young men –we don’t let them express emotion. We don’t let them talk. So I think this is a good start and a good way to go through that process,” Randall said.

Randall continued to say deeper interactions with agencies is also important.

“There needs to be a more intentional approach from the police to be more interactive with the community right now. There is some sort of activity, but not a whole lot,” Randall said.

In September, IMPD celebrated a month of Unity. The message was to build better relationships between the police department and our entire community.

“We have had outreach programs with our youth in Indianapolis through the police department for decades,” Officer Robbin Myers said.

Officer Myers works in Community Affairs with IMPD. She said their department is constantly looking at current and future relationships with our youth through various programs like the chess game and a new one called the juvenile justice jeopardy game.

“It’s a fun interactive way to teach our youth and their parents and school staff how to respectfully interact with police officers,” Myers said.

Myers said people can contact them, if they want to get involved.

“In Indianapolis, the fortunate thing we have going for us (is that) we have built relationships in our community with our youth, with community leaders, the clergy…that is a strong point IMPD has,” Myers said.