INDIANAPOLIS — Starting Friday, a pledge to keep the peace in Indianapolis.
Organizers behind Ceasefire Weekend want people to stop the violence for 72 hours.
Community rallies and neighborhood clean-ups are scheduled for Friday and throughout the weekend. The hope is people choose to engage in the planned peaceful activities instead of crime.
“Just show love to your neighbor,” said organizer Ron Gee. “Spreading love throughout this weekend. If you see someone at the gas station, say ‘good morning.’ You know, spread love.”
“Hold yourself accountable, and just be kind to people because you never know what someone is dealing with,” said Della Brown, another organizer. “So maybe that smile that you give them in passing, maybe that helps them because maybe they’re on the verge of just breaking down.”
Gee and Brown started their initiative about a month ago after seeing homicide rates continue to rise in the city. Indianapolis has already seen more than 230 homicides so far this year.
Several of the weekend’s events are planned specifically in areas of high crime while also targeting Halloween weekend, as they say more crime tends to happen during holiday periods.
“We are from these areas,” Gee said. “There’s no way for a person to tell us what needs to be done, even when it comes to murders or it becomes to just different other things that plague our community. We see it, and so we’ll sit there and think ‘Maybe I should try this’, but you see what I said… Maybe I should try this to be able to change this.”
Both being impacted by gun violence themselves, they say it’s not hard to find others with similar stories.
“You become friends with people on Facebook, or social media, where you can see the outpour. They cry because they just lost their 14-year-old son. You know, you wake up and you see these things, you know it is heartbreaking, and being a victim of gun violence, I definitely know how it can feel on both ends,” Gee said.
“My brother, I lost a brother to gun violence. I’ve lost cousins to gun violence. So, like the impact that it just takes over your mental [health.] It just takes a toll over your mental [wellness.] So, it’s heartbreaking, literally every time we see it,” Brown added.
“For someone to diminish a value of a life over an argument, or over a pair of shoes, you know. It’s really greed, anger, retaliation, pride. I mean there’s a lot of different influences. It’s terrible, and it’s impactful everywhere whether it’s indirect or direct.”
Here’s a list of the events planned starting Friday and throughout the weekend:
Friday, Oct. 29th
- 25th Street and Sherman Drive: clean up event, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 30th
- 42nd Street and Post Road: clean up event, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.; peace rally and BBQ, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- 34th Street and Illinois Street: 1 p.m., peace rally
- 25th Street and Sherman Drive: peace rally, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
If it rains on Saturday, some events will be moved to Sunday, Oct. 31st.
Sunday, Oct. 31st
- 25th Street and Hillside Avenue: clean up event, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., peace rally at 1 p.m.
- 30th Street and Moller Road: peace rally, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- JTV Hill Center: teen boys basketball tournament, 9 a.m.
For updates and more on events happening throughout the weekend, visit the Cease Fire Indy Facebook page.