INDIANAPOLIS — So far this year, there have been 118 homicides in the city of Indianapolis. At least eight of those have been people under the age of 18. Those statistics now have one local faith leader hoping to curb the violence.
"It's very important we talk to our youth, to find out what's going on," Rev. James Black said, who has been helping grieving families in central Indiana for the last 12 years, offering prayer and support during times of crisis. "I normally help parents who don't have insurance or funding for their kids, I normally help raise money to bury their kids."
On Saturday, July 23, he'll be hosting a "Stop the Violence" fundraising picnic, hoping to help keep the peace in the streets. Each meal bought will go toward funeral expenses in helping those families with kids lost to gun violence.
The event will be held at American Legion Post 249, located at 2523 Doctor M.L.K. Jr. St., from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. A dance will follow from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
More than 40 people under 18 have been shot in Indianapolis this year, according to IMPD.
Black hopes this event can help curb those numbers and give young people a different outlet.
"This is very important to get this together and work with these children," Black said. "School is about to start back. We want to be able to get with the children, talk with them and let them know we have things for them if they don't have nothing to do."
The picnic will also feature guest speakers and resources for families to sign up for their own insurance.
All donations and proceeds will go towards "Stop the Violence" campaigns in Indianapolis.