indycan

Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (IndyCAN) is a new organization in Marion County that seeks to organize and develop leadership in people of faith at the grassroots level. IndyCAN has brought together people of different racial, economic and religious background to work for positive change in their community.  IndyCAN leaders connect community organizations with civic and political leaders to build relationships, identify common concerns, find solutions and take action to improve the quality of life and expand opportunity for all Indy families, especially the most vulnerable. Working in the community, 4 main systems were identified that they anticipate impacting over the next 5 years:

  • Pathways to Opportunity
    Opening up pathways to good family sustaining jobs in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the economic downturn, developing career pipelines that align training with employer needs, improving education, expanding regional transportation, and removing other barriers to career pathways.
  • Public Safety & Criminal Justice
    Reducing Violence through proven evidence-based nationally recognized strategies that link those most likely to engage in violence to jobs and alternatives to street life, healing the broken relationship between law enforcement and communities of color,  and integrating immigrants and previously incarcerated individuals into the fabric of our community
  • Housing
    Revitalizing neighborhoods, removing blighted and vacant properties, and rewarding banks that invest in our community.
  • Health
    Ensure that everyone in the region has access to a primary care physician and quality healthcare.

Members of STA have been involved in the organization since its inception and STA is a charter congregation member. The STA IndyCAN team meets monthly.  There is also an education component of the organization which any member of the STA community can attend such as the ‘Operation Ceasefire” Forum featuring violence reduction expert, Dr. David Kennedy. To view Mr. Kennedy’s presentation click here (http://www.indycan.org/tools/david-kennedys-operation-ceasefire). For more information about IndyCAN or how to get involved please contact John Hurley, 317-493-1079 or johnrobhurley@gmail.com.

 

Over 200 clergy and laity gathered on Tuesday, August 14th at 7pm at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, the night after the city budget was introduced, and vowed to do everything possible to reduce violence and fully implement Operation Ceasefire in Indianapolis.  They were joined by Council President Maggie Lewis and Councilor Marilyn Pfisterer who agreed violence reduction must be a top priority for the city and committed to further explore the Ceasefire strategy and meet with IndyCAN in the next 3 weeks.

At the event, IndyCAN Released “Alive and Free” (read the entire report at www.indycan.org/issues/alive-and-free) , a special report detailing the city’s history with Ceasefire and outlining pledges of support by: Acting Police Chief Rick Hite, Prosecutor Terry Curry, Offices of Mayor, Probation, Parole, US District Attorney made during a visit from the National Network of Safe Communities, nationally recognized for helping cities achieve sustained drops in gun homicide and drug related violence, in April of this year.

Indianapolis was first in a wave of cities to test ‘Ceasefire’ in 1998, with staggering results a 34% drop in Homicide in pilot neighborhoods: Haughville and Martindale Brightwood.  The trend picked up: Boston youth homicides fell 63%, Cincinnati 34%, Nashville 56%.  But like Indianapolis, only a handful of cities were able to drop homicide and keep them down.  The key it turns out is common sense: invest up front in the infrastructure and technical support to sustain the inter-agency collaboration and community partnerships despite changes in leadership or political winds.

According to IMPD data, an estimated 20 violent groups are responsible for much of the violence in the city. Ceasefire communicates directly with these groups that violence is wrong and has to stop, genuine help is available, and any further violence will be met by swift action from law enforcement.  The inherent partnerships utilize existing resources to improve effectiveness and reduce costs associated with traditional policing strategies.  IndyCAN is calling on City Council & Mayor Ballard to make sure the 2013 city budget includes funds for start up components to ensure lasting results: 1) A full time program manager to coordinate the strategy 2) a 3-year partnership with the National Network for Safe Communities an alliance of cities dedicated to advancing proven violence reduction strategies 3) Adequate Street Outreach Workers


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