Newly-appointed 'peacemaker' leads clean-up volunteers through Brightwood

Peacemaker Walk and Clean Up
New anti-violence 'Peacemakers' program (Fri 630AM report)
New anti-violence 'Peacemakers' program (Friday 6AM report)
New anti-violence 'Peacemakers' program (Friday 5AM report)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Targeting violence in neighborhoods, one of the city’s newly-appointed ‘peacemakers’ joined Thursday with a local anti-crime group and hoped to get even more people involved.

“We can hit this side,” said one volunteer, pointing to the south side of 25th Street. He’s part of a small army in bright green t-shirts.

An army for peace on the streets.

“These are residents of the neighborhood and we just grab them to help,” said another volunteer in Thursday’s neighborhood cleanup.

“We’re walking north on Dearborn.“

Walking to give back and take back.

Organizers had advice for volunteers carrying trash bag to take up debris.

“Don’t pick up needles. No needles or broken bottles.”

The focus Thursday was on the Brightwood neighborhood, 25th St. between Dearborn and Sherman. Robert Fry, recently appointed by Mayor Hogsett as one of the city’s “peacemakers”, talked about why they chose this area for attention.

“Because of the three murders and the multiple shootings in the last few weeks. so we want to take this neighborhood back.“

Fry helps lead the charge Thursday in the neighborhood where he grew up.

“Gatorade bottles, plastic cups, beer bottles, things like that,” said a volunteer named Sandy, describing the trash she’s picked up from along the street and sidewalks.

Fry said it’s an effort to get others involved.

“Get the neighborhood involved, have some people come out clean up their neighborhood.”

He said he’s trying to build ties with neighbors and figure out which young people need help getting jobs.

“Educational services or employment services, resume building, whatever the case may be to get them into a situation and get them away from a life of crime.“

“Me and JG were out in these streets,” says long-time resident Terry Triplett. His friend John Grice was shot in the face here. “I got shot by a kid playing with a gun. And we can’t have that.”

They want the young people here now to have a different life, to be doctors or lawyers. To be employed.

“I just grew up about 8 blocks this way,” said Marion Co. Juvenile Court Judge Judge Geoffrey Gaither, who joined the Thursday cleanup. He wants the cleanup and pride to tell residents this community is alive, it’s not dead, it’s not going to be ignored. Resources are here. Help is here.“

But even with an IMPD officer leaving his patrol car to pitch in, even with neighborhood groups working together, some are skeptical.

“I hope so, I just doubt it,” said one man watching the effort from his doorway.

Neighbor Frank Matheny had a different view.

“Think about the killings we’ve had here. People need to come together for any kind of good reason. You’ve heard that song, Oh Happy Day. We’ll have a happy day one day. We’ll have it.”

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