Faith and community leaders across Indianapolis kick off new effort to promote peace

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INDIANAPOLIS — Faith leaders and community groups from across Indianapolis kicked off a new effort to promote peace. The announcement comes at the same time the city is approaching its all-time homicide record.

The event unveiled a simple slogan, “Peace in the streets. Stop the violence.” The goal is to get everyone on board with that message and try to save lives.

“We want to see this sign and message plastered all over our city,” said Aaron Williams with City of Peace Coalition.

Standing at the pulpit, surrounded by dozens of community and faith leaders holding the same sign, Aaron Williams unveiled a citywide marketing campaign he hopes people embrace.

“We want you to think peace. We want you to talk peace and most important we want you to live peacefully,” said Williams.

Before that rally, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Indianapolis invited everyone from the prosecutor to IMPD and the Indiana State Police superintendent to breakfast, where everyone fully endorsed the call for peace.

“I only hope and pray the citizens back this as well and be all about this,” said IMPD chief Randal Taylor.

“I want to have these conversations. I want to help along the way. I want to stand with chief Taylor and IMPD,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.

The rally coincides with Indianapolis nearing a deadly record.  With six and a half weeks left in the year, the city has already seen at least 243 homicides. That is just two shy of tying the all-time record set just last year.

“What we’re trying to do with this slogan is raise the level of conscience,” said Kendall Wyatt with the Young Lions Actions Network.

Still, the group knows that preventing the daily shootings and killings will require connecting their message of peace with the city’s youth.

“The problem of violence is an under 40 problem. If you’re not holding conversations with black men under 40 in this city, you’re not going to fix this problem,” said Wyatt.

Kendall Wyatt compared the city’s violent crime crisis with a health issue that needs to be fixed immediately.

“Right now, our community is facing civic cardiac arrest.  The problem with food deserts, education, or police brutality are cancers, but right now we’re having a heart attack. If you’re having a heart attack, as much as the doctor will want to treat your stage four cancer if you’re having a heart attack, they treat the heart attack first,” said Wyatt.

Leaders at the rally admit a lot of groups have always worked individually to combat crime, but they haven’t always worked together.

The goal now is collaboration and unity.

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