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'We cannot give up' Indianapolis pastor finding new ways to curb violence

Posted at 8:13 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 08:13:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A pastor in Indianapolis dedicating his time to finding ways to curb the violence in the city said although it hurts to see the violence continue, we can't give up on efforts to prevent it.

"When we see acts of violence and we see people resort to using weapons to resolve conflict. It can always be something that's discouraging, but I stay encouraged and understanding," Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr., the senior pastor at New Direction Church, said.

He is continuing his efforts to prevent the violence.

"I've had the unfortunate task of burying children as young as 12-years-old from gun violence," Sullivan said. "Even 11-years-old males and females, adults, and children due to gun violence and it stays with you. So, I began to collect the obituaries because I've done so many."

Sullivan has devoted effort and time to working with the community to put an end to violence.

In fact, he invited WRTV out in January to talk about a new initiative.

A tech program called “1150 Academy,” trains students so that they will have the skills in areas of coding, and cyber security, just to name a few to go after jobs.

"We have about 25 to 30 people there that are enrolled," Sullivan said.

Months later and the demand is still there, but Sullivan is trying to widen this program to reach more young adults.

"I may not be able to stop every case of gun violence. We may not be able to see all of this turnaround, but if we could just help these young people who are within our reach, we're making a difference in our lives," Sullivan said.

Just a few days ago, as Sullivan was in his church office, he heard the sounds of gunshots from a funeral home right next door on East 38th Street.

He said seeing the work that he and other community leaders are putting in, to be met with more shootings and homicides, can be a bit discouraging.

But it's not enough for them to quit.

Instead, they will continue to apply more pressure and work together, until the job is done.

"We're going to be hosting some Barbershop Talks," Sullivan said.

"We have to figure out how can we use the right type of resources and get them to those who are hurting and get them to those who are in need," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said during the summer, Indianapolis communities encounter a lot of violence. He encourages families to take advantage of programs like the safe summer initiative.