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Community leader says investing in people is a way to cut down on violence

Posted at 6:48 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 06:56:38-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Samantha Douglas, a community leader who lives on the far east side, said hearing about a 10-year-old boy getting shot while asleep is tragic.

She doesn't want people to brush it off as only random gun violence.

"I think we have to look at it deeper than that. I think we have to get to the root of why somebody is choosing violence," Douglas said. "Culturally, in our city, there's been a moral shift, right, where people are choosing violence."

Douglas believes those who are resorting to violence are more than likely going through other things in their life. Reports have highlighted how the pandemic has helped led to increase in unemployment, homelessness, and other issues related to poverty.

Douglas said the solution to help all these issues is simple.

"We invest in people. Why would I care about your life I if don't care about my own? We know that value of life starts with the individual and then that goes out to others," Douglas said. "How do we make life more valuable to people?"

Indianapolis city leaders have rolled out plans and programs this year geared toward violence prevention. They budgeted $3.3 million for it.

Douglas would like to see investments on the individual level to bring value to people's lives.

"How can we get them livable wages? How can we give them real incentives to leave the streets? Self-employment or quality gainful employment that gives them mental health days, reimbursements if they want to go back to school," Douglas said on how to make people value themselves. "I feel like gun violence reduction dollars should be going to adults that are likely in this life."

Douglas knows there are more people in the community like her who feel the same way. She encourages everyone to get involved if they want to have a voice in how their elected leaders tackle violence in their communities.

"It's important, getting involved locally in whatever is going on in your neighborhood, your side of town and making sure your elected officials know your opinion and how you stand on things so when they vote, you make sure it reflects what you want to happen with these funds," Douglas said.