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"Meet the Peacemaker Tour" stops at local church to discuss gun violence reduction strategies

Posted at 11:40 PM, Apr 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 09:23:07-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The conversation surrounding gun violence continues to ring throughout the Circle City as leaders strategize ways to fight crime.

"Sad to say, but it's like, If it ain't me, let it be. Well, now it's me, and I can't let be," said Leslie Smith.

"We got to fix the broken links. What is broken in this community? We put that together, and we got to stand strong with it. We can't get lax daisy with it," said Smith.

The conversation about gun violence hits home after her son was shot on January 3rd at Castleton Mall.

"Him and his friend. His friend did not make it basically because they walked up to a vehicle that looked just like my son's," said Smith.

16-year-old Michael Mason Jr. died at the hospital. Smith's son was severely injured.

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"I had to tell my son to stop working to get back to normal. Let's work to get back to healthy. Because you're never going to be the same," said Smith.

Her passion for reducing crime has elevated since then as she works with leaders to pour more into solving this problem.

"We really need to have some action steps. We really need to have something in writing and execute it."

Tuesday night, the Indy Peace Fellowship's "Meet the Peacemaker Tour" filled Tuxedo Park Baptist Church to discuss that action plan.

"Just being able to be more intentional about getting in front of situations," said Della Brown with Indy Peace Fellowship.

That strategy looks like creating a "LifeMAP" to offer Indy peace fellows individualized services, provide ongoing support and case management, addressing socioeconomic barriers, and life coaches to help expand reach.

Many efforts Mayor Joe Hogsett supports.

"We try to approach this comprehensively, particularly with young people," said Hogsett.

"I don't want to be the church that just prays. I'm tired of just praying. There's no one in the bible that just prayed and didn't do anything. There was some action behind it," said Smith.

The Indy Peace Fellowship was developed as part of Mayor Hogsett’s violence reduction strategy that addresses the root causes of violence.

For more information on how to get involved, visit Indy Peace Fellowship.