INDIANAPOLIS — Faith leaders from across Indianapolis spent their day trying to build unity out of tragedy.
The mass murder on Adams Street spurred nearly two dozen pastors to join together in a virtual discussion.
The pastors say they want to set aside political differences and get on the same page to stop the city’s record breaking homicide numbers, but that’s been said before with minimal results.
Almost exactly one year ago, the first week of February 2020, faith leaders held hands and stood in a circle praying for unity after four young people were murdered during a robbery at an apartment complex on Indy’s northeast side.
Unfortunately, following the quadruple murder of Jalen Roberts, Marcel Wills, Braxton Ford and Kimari Hunt, COVID-19 and other political issues drove those same groups apart.
“February and March everything all got shut down, and we didn’t know if we were going to be here, and then there was a breakdown in our communication,” admitted Reverend James Jackson with Fervent Prayer.
For nearly two hours Monday, reverend Jackson hosted a private Zoom call to allow nearly 20 faith leaders to talk out their differences and mend their relationships.
“The biggest thing we’re talking about is making sure we have continuity in our conversations, that we continue our conversations,” said Jackson.
“We all have different viewpoints. Sometimes we have not been in agreement, and that has become public, and we’re trying to be more supportive. We’re all trying to get to the same place to have a peaceful city,” said Reverend Charles Harrison.
Throughout 2020 when Indy set a record for homicides, reverend Harrison with the Ten Point Coalition frequently criticized the mayor’s office, feeling some groups were being excluded from discussing solutions.
Harrison now hopes the mass murder on Adams finally spurs on a sense of unity.
“They cannot do it alone. They can’t do it without us, and we can’t do it without them. We need each other, and that’s our message moving forward,” said Harrison. “We’re gonna have a single message. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Following their virtual meeting, the group of pastors didn’t offer a specific list of ideas or changes for the mayor’s office to consider, but that may come in the next few weeks as they vowed to hold similar meetings.
“Our issue with violence is not just with guns, but with the hearts of people and how they’re resolving their differences. We’re saying there is a better way, and we want to be part of that solution to help people make the right decisions,” said Jackson.