Faith leaders call for greater community involvement during ‘Stop the Violence’ rally outside Indiana Statehouse

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INDIANAPOLIS — A handful of faith leaders gathered today at the statehouse to call for an end to the record-breaking violence in Indianapolis.

The Stop the Violence rally was organized by the pastor at Zion Unity Baptist Church near 10th and Sherman because within just a mile and a half of that church there have been nine homicides so far this year.

In the middle of the day in mid-February, police found a man shot in the head on Tuxedo Street. Billy Bowman died two days later in the hospital.

In August, another man was shot to death in an alley off New York Street. Peter Carr died on his way to the hospital.

Those are the first and last of nine homicides this year centered within a mile and a half of pastor Fredrick Boyd’s church.

“It’s just getting ridiculous and I’m tired of seeing young people in the grave,” said Boyd.

That violence is why in June, pastor Boyd helped coordinate a “slow roll” bike ride with IMPD through the east side as a way to connect with the community.

It also spurred him to hold a small rally Friday on the south steps of the Statehouse.

“We are saying it’s time to stop the violence. We have violence because there’s no respect for human life and one another,” said Boyd.

“The things that are happening here are happening in Los Angeles and Chicago and everywhere, so we have to address those things,” said Los Angeles based faith leader Willie Dye.

Because a spike in homicides the last two years isn’t unique to Indianapolis, Dye came in from Los Angeles. He believes stopping the violence doesn’t start with police or city leaders, but inside the home.

“When a child is born into the world the first information they’re going to get is from the parents,” said Dye.

Still, the faith leaders know that a dozen people standing outside the statehouse won’t solve anything without better community involvement.

“The crime rate will stop when they know people are watching them or the neighborhood is involved,” said Salt Lake City based faith leader Fred Hamilton.

Community involvement is also important because out of the nine cases referenced near the 10th Street corridor from Rural to Sherman, six of those crimes remain unsolved.

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