Black-on-black crime has been the elephant in the room in Indidnapolis that few have dared to talk about in a meaningful way. says Indidnapolis Star columnist Erika Smith, who is black. Yesterday, the Rev. Charles Ellis, of the Ten Point Coalition said, “We say to all of Indianapolis, and specifically to the African-American community, to stop the violence because your life matters.” He went on to talk about the causes of that violence. Rampant unemployment in the black community. The lack of options for ex-offenders. Single mothers and kids being raised in broken homes. A lack of positive role models.
Behind him sat Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, both there to launch a citywide antiviolence campaign called “Your Life Matters.” “In a city where public policy and public discourse too often get dragged down into the muddy narrative of what white people have and what black people don't have, it matters that Ballard and Riggs showed a united front with Ellis,” Smith say. “It matters that all three men agreed that black-on-black crime is a problem that affects the entire community.” Smith says the campaign “is off to a decent start. It's certainly comprehensive, with an emphasis on measures that can work now. It addresses many of the issues that people in the black community have complained about for years — namely, that there aren't viable alternatives to making a living illegally for those at the bottom of the economic and educational food chain.”