INDIANAPOLIS — While news of Indy’s city-county council’s resolution calling racism a public health crisis makes national headlines, members of our local clergy and other community advocates do not believe this is a significant step. They detailed an action plan which they insist would get help to more families faster.
“A resolution doesn’t get us there,” Pastor David Greene said. “We need real action, real changes taking place. We need to be intentional about it.”
Greene is the president of the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis. Together with the Baptist Minister’s Alliance and the National Action Network of Indiana, his organization put out a news release detailing their disappointment in the resolution passed by city-county councilors last night.
“It didn’t put any food on anybody’s table with this resolution,” Greene said. “It’s not paying anybody’s bills, it’s not getting anybody a job, it’s not raising anybody’s minimum wage salary. We need results. We need action.”
The resolution calls on councilors to have “frank and open discussions of race and the impact of the decisions we make upon racial inequalities in our community.” It also instructs local government agencies and officials to review, with urgency, any policy which could, or does, lead to racial inequality.
The resolution also calls on city and county departments to collect data, separated by race, on department staffing, contracting, and on recipients of “government intervention.” Then, this data will supposedly be presented to the council and online. Greene said work like this has already been done.
“All that work has been done by numerous agencies across our community, whether it’s the United Way or the Indianapolis Black Expo, all of which have performed some studies, have collected the data,” Greene claimed. “You can go and Google and see a whole lot of the data that’s there. It’s time for us to have real action.”
The Concerned Clergy and other advocacy groups are calling on city leaders to identify specific economic empowerment zones and bring in jobs there, increase the amount of access African American workers have for the city’s contracts and bringing internet access to children in poorer communities.
They are also calling on development of a Black Agenda. This plan would intentionally seek out help to ease disparities involving food, education and employment access among other issues.
“The community wants to see action, that’s the only way we’re going to have a better and safer Indianapolis,” Greene insisted. “We have homicides on the rise, etc. Well, they’re going to continue to rise, people still have to eat. People still want to provide for their families and if they don’t have a legitimate job, they’re going to turn to criminal activity.”
We reached out to a spokesperson for the city-county council before 3:00 p.m. today in hopes of getting a response from President Vop Osili or a councilor regarding the clergy’s requests. We also sent a copy of their requests to the spokesperson.
The spokesperson said Osili had an event at 6:00 p.m. and would not be able to comment. We will continue trying to get his opinion on the clergy’s desires.